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BNU class insight?


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Reading past posts on the quality of BNU classes, I glean that reading and writing improve a lot but speaking not so much through classes. My reading is shaky due to an unintended pause in my Chinese studies (eh...life), but reading and speaking refreshed rather quickly. I fear this will hurt my placement testing and want to be able to improve levels if the lagging parts of my language skills catch up. How flexible is BNU on changing classes?

Also wondering when the classes take place during daytime; are they usually either morning or afternoon for four hours (if so do you have a choice) or are they divided throughout?

I realize it's a pain, but could anyone with direct experience walk me through the types of classes (just a few sentences is OK!!!) and briefly what you might do in each one? How much individual time/interaction is there with the profs? Do they correct your homework or is this done together in class? What is the homework type? Do students write essays that teachers read through? How long and how often? If you have questions on this can you access teachers outside of class..or when? What exactly is a listening class? If anyone can find it in their patience and good will to respond I'd GREATLY appreciate it...I'm trying to decide if it's worth it or (I'm at the point where I've covered a decent amount of grammar previously and feel I just need to refresh and build vocab to make much improvement now)... or if self-study supplemented by a little over an hour of private lessons a day is most beneficial...my goal is strictly language right now since I'm just here til summer...THANKS!

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I'm not going in to the detail you asked for but in summary ...

You're set homework. Most of it is taken off you, marked, and handed back. Some homework involves preparing a talk on something and then reading it to the class.

BNU (all places, probably) concentrate on reading and writing. If you sit in class, stay dead quiet and refuse to answer questions fluently then your speaking ability will not improve much. If you force yourself to have a go, chat to the teachers (go to the canteen with them) and use the revision (fudao) classes you have to the fullest, your speaking will improve lots.

You'll take a placement test and are usually placed one or even two levels too high. A good way to do this is, as I did, say "I've learnt chinese for a year" and then before you work out how to say "for one hour a week" they close the placement interview and put you ina class stupidly high ;)

You can move down classes very easily - just try them out within the first two weeks and change. Moving up is a touch more difficult but still quite straight forward.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been studying at level 201 this semester. Obligatory classes count four types: conversation, close reading, listening, newspaper reading. There are numerous optional courses to choose from and taking your own initiative you can audit higher level lessons or lectures with chinese undergraduate students. Private tutoring is easy to find, the price is usually around 30RMB/hour. I highly recommend you a semester at BNU :).

Conversation (会话):

Actually not so much of conversation as one would think. We concentrate on studying the textbook, learning "kouyu"-vocabulary. Homework every week is writing 20-25 sentences using the new vocabulary, this is then thoroughly and in very much detail corrected by the teacher, who then requires you to rewrite the sentences with mistakes. You will also be asked to memorize dialogues and present to the class, as well as memorizing your own presentations on different subjects and give a short talk (5min) to the class without any notes.

Close reading (精读):

Students will be picked by the teacher to read a paragraph each of the textbook text, after which other students will be asked to answer questions about the content. The teacher goes through new grammar and will continually ask students to make up their own sample sentences. The tempo is usually high and you will often be required to come up with a correct sentence or answer a question on spot without any preparation. Homework is writing sentences using new grammar, as well as a number of 400 words+ essays.

Listening (听力):

Without being able to see the text in front of us we will listen to a shorter (5-10 mins) recordning over and over and over again, the teacher will pose questions about the content as well as ask individual students to repeat sentences exactly as they were on the recording. I found this class very strange at the start, but after a semester I realize my listening skills have improved immensely. Homework is writing sentences using new grammar.

Newspaper class (报刊):

In relatively high tempo reading through the textbook newspaper articles, answering quite detailed questions regarding content. Every week you will be required to read two newspaper (or other) articles and hand in two essay-like homeworks summarizing and discussing the read article.

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The numbers are based on the year, so 400's are the most advanced (4th yr) within the duiwai hanuyu department. 200's would be 2nd yr equivalent...and so on.

The huaqiao are just mixed in with the other students and there aren't really that many. You take a placement test to determine your level and then can later change your class (up to a certain date) if you feel it's too difficult/simple.

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