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roddy

Taking the HSK? Already taken it? Report in here!

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PJ
On 5/30/2019 at 8:04 PM, matteo said:

don't know how to say "razor" or "onion"

 

I agree with edelweis, tomsima, and mungouk's posts above, but wanted to add a couple notes.  I think you're right there are sometmies a few duplicates -- I get annoyed too, especially when doing flashcards translating from English to Chinese -- but over all it's a very small part of the superfluous vocabulary.  (For perspective, I'm in the middle of my HSK6 studies, with three thousand something words.)

 

I.  First, it may be simply a matter of appreciating the culture more.  I didn't grow up in China and don't even live there now, but I would hazard the guess that onions and razors are just not as critical there than in, say, the US.  Of course they are used, just not as much.  Out of curiosity, I did some comparisons on word frequency, using http://www.wordandphrase.info/frequencyList.asp for English and https://www.plecoforums.com/threads/word-frequency-list-based-on-a-15-billion-character-corpus-bcc-blcu-chinese-corpus.5859/ for Chinese.  I found:

 

onion: 2583  洋葱: 11599

razor: 7566  剃刀: 59270

sandwich: 3555  三明治: 25587

dumpling: 14790  饺子:7283

bison: 11093  野牛: 51954

panda: 15238  熊猫6799

fork: 3787  叉子:42875

chopsticks: 18358  筷子:8754

 

Maybe there is some Chinese student who learning English complaining "Why do I have to learn 'sandwich' and 'fork' and 'bison', I never use or see those.  I don't even know how to say 'dumpling', 'panda', and 'chopsticks' yet, and those are the important words."  Sure, the bias is probably stronger for dumplings, pandas, and chopsticks than razors and onions, but my point is I believe they're there in lesser form.  From what I can tell through the middle of HSK6, the Chinese government has done a pretty good job of selecting words across different areas of life.  If they picked every vegetable you might cook by 2500 words, vegetables would be far over-represented.

 

II.  The words certainly add significant sophistication and flexibility.  Why are HSK 5 and 6 important?  Here's my take.

 

HSK 5:  Teaches you a significant number of increasingly abstract or subtle words you need to have more sophisticated conversations.  Just to pick a few words from my last couple [simple English] sentences:  With HSK4 vocabulary, how do you tell someone "I am flexible"?  How about "This idea is abstract"?  In fact, you can't even say "vocabulary", much less "I'd like to expand my vocabulary". Or hey:  try telling me "I really wish I could expand my vocabulary so I can be more flexible in expressing abstract thoughts."  Pretty reasonable sentence for a language student to want to convey, no?  (Maaaybe with HSK4 you could say something like "I want to grow the words I can speak so I can communicate better," but wow, that's a huge difference in sophistication, subtlety, and flow, even in English.)

 

HSK 6:  I'm noticed overwhelmingly that HSK 6 fills in the negative counterparts of the positive words we learned in HSK 1-5.  I don't feel I huge growth in topics I can cover (except those one-off words like "hostage" or "troops" or "prison" -- and BTW those are all kind of negative too!), but I do now know all kinds of things about attacks and negative characteristics of various kinds.  With just HSK5 words how will you tell someone "I don't think it's a good idea for the Lannisters to attack"?  Or "Please tell your son to stop ridiculing my daughter"?  How about playing Trump: "You're fired!"?  These aren't really sophisticated things you need to be a scholar of even college grad to want to say in English.  So in my opinion, no, stopping at HSK4 would be way way to early, if you want any semblance of fluency.  (Am I even going to learn "semblance" within HSK 6?  How about "fluency", without trying to twist around my sentence to force myself to use it as “流利”?  See, it is really quite a ways to go...)

 

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Tomsima
2 hours ago, PJ said:

With HSK4 vocabulary, how do you tell someone "I am flexible"? 

我都可以 ;)

2 hours ago, PJ said:

How about "fluency", without trying to twist around my sentence to force myself to use it as “流利”?

溜!

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PJ
9 hours ago, Tomsima said:

我都可以 😉

 

嘿嘿。 😀  You got me there.  Well I didn't go into sufficient detail on each example bc the post wouldve gotten too long.  But:

 

Your answer would work well if the question was some choice like "Do you want to stay in tonight or go out?"

Not as well if it was "So tell me one personal characteristic that would make you a better hire than the ten other guys I just interviewed."

 

😊

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mkmyers45

For those who took the internet test on the 26th may or the written test on 11th may...results are out 

 

HSK 四级

听力: 100

阅读:100

书写: 88

 

Total:288

 

Overall i am very happy with my listening and reading scores (i guess those two are my stronger areas so far), a little disappionted with my writting score as i can't seem to figure out where my error could have been. Its probably two questions on th sentence re-arrangment part but oh well!!! Upwards and Onwards to 五级。

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oksmith

I took the HSK2 paper exam on 11th May, but my results still don't seem to be out yet. This is my first HSK exam... does anyone know how long the results usually take to come out? They were due to be released on the 11th June!

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oksmith

The results have just come out this morning for HSK2 on 11th May: 

听力: 100
阅读: 100
Total: 200

Very happy with this! Onwards to HSK3!

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PJ
On 6/19/2019 at 4:31 AM, oksmith said:

The results have just come out this morning for HSK2 on 11th May: 

Well done, congrats!

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mkmyers45

HSK 五级

 

1006118926_hsk5.thumb.jpg.b88b1518f4175c3690e9019946e0392d.jpg

 

Given the problems i experienced while taking the exam , I am very surprised that i was just 4 marks off initial minimum goal of 250pts. I am very happy with my listening score especially given the circumstance and the reading while tough was not as bad as i imagined. Everyone preaches reading speed as king for tackling the reading section and i cannot but completely agree,I finished with about 10 minutes still on the clock and used that time to re-read questions I wasn't sure about. I'm now finding that i can quickly thumb through a Chinese text while retaining a relatively high level of comprehension (useful skill i presume). The writing portion was ultimately my Achilles heel and i am not at all surprised as i even misused words as simple 收获。Overall i tried to write logical stories given the contexts but i may have inadvertently gone too meta or too simplistic (No way to know).

 

Upwards and Onwards

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dtcamero

 

HSK五级 
2019-06-16
听力
87
阅读
72
写作
72
总分
231.0
 

@mkmyers45

excellent score! any tips on building up reading speed? that’s my achilles heel... 

i have a pretty wide vocabulary and listening and writing are no problem but after five years study my reading speed is still too slow to finish the test in time

 

otherwise i’m satisfied with the score. i feel the hsk 5 is pretty similar in difficulty level to the JLPT 1級 exam, the hardest comparable japanese proficiency exam.

and the hsk says their 5級 exam is used by doctoral degree applicants to test for phd study in chinese universities, so i don’t particularly feel the need to ace the 6級.

obviously it would be a nice achievement, albeit somewhat valueless for me personally. maybe one day i’ll go for it but for now my chinese-testing career is finished.

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mkmyers45
3 hours ago, dtcamero said:

excellent score! any tips on building up reading speed? that’s my achilles heel... 

i have a pretty wide vocabulary and listening and writing are no problem but after five years study my reading speed is still too slow to finish the test in time

 

In addition to excellent recommendations already provided by imron, another thing i learnt early on is read Chinese texts in blocks rather than by letters. Your reading speed in your native language (i'm assuming english) is so high because you read texts in blocks and not by sentence/word. I have no evidence but i think learning Chinese by words rather than characters might help a little in this aspect because when reading text your brain automatically segments the text into 1, 2 or 3 character blocks. This is one of the reasons its quite difficult to recognize unknown chengyus in text because the brain automatically segments it as two different character pairs. Reading endurance especially as regards to skipping unknown vocab while retaining comprehension is always good practice and has been mentioned by imron. I strictly timed myself with minimum score benchmarks. e.g 10 minutes 4 long texts 80% correction answers.

 

3 hours ago, dtcamero said:

the hsk says their 5級 exam is used by doctoral degree applicants to test for phd study in Chinese universities, so i don’t particularly feel the need to ace the 6級.

 

I would seriously take this assessment by hanban with a pinch of salt....If the program is joint English/Chinese program then its possible to get by with the hsk5 but if its strictly Chinese then you'll probably find yourself running into a lot of hsk 6 and beyond word and phrases (i am not included technical vocabulary).

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dtcamero
10 minutes ago, mkmyers45 said:

 seriously take this assessment by hanban with a pinch of salt...you'll probably find yourself running into a lot of hsk 6 and beyond word and phrases

for sure... although i always found the hsk vocabulary guidelines to be pretty meaningless. by the time your listening and reading comprehension is high enough for the test you’ll be light years past the recommended 5k or so for 5级,8k or so for 6级.

 

6级 doesn't even really follow the guidelines as it will frequently give you fairly specialized vocabulary and make you suss out the meaning within the context of the question. for listening questions this can be especially challenging.

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imron
8 minutes ago, dtcamero said:

5k or so for 5级,8k or so for 6级.

You're off by a significant amount here.

 

For HSK 5 it's 2500 words and 1685 chars

For HSK 6 it's 5000 words and 2663 chars

 

I'm not sure if 2,500 words and 1685 chars are enough to do a PhD, but I doubt it and 1,685 chars doesn't even meet the chinese government's minimum requirements for not being illiterate.

 

13 minutes ago, dtcamero said:

6级 doesn't even really follow the guidelines as it will frequently give you fairly specialized vocabulary and make you suss out the meaning within the context of the question

I recall reading some time back that by design on HSK 6 they aim to have ~25% vocabulary not from the standard word lists (unique, not total).  Even then, that's still only 6,250 words, which isn't enough for general reading.

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Wurstmann
5 hours ago, dtcamero said:

i feel the hsk 5 is pretty similar in difficulty level to the JLPT 1級 exam, the hardest comparable japanese proficiency exam.

and the hsk says their 5級 exam is used by doctoral degree applicants to test for phd study in chinese universities, so i don’t particularly feel the need to ace the 6級. 

In my opinion the HSK is a joke. It doesn't really test language ability, it tests your HSK taking ability. I only took it because at the time I was thinking about going to university in China. (btw it's a similar situation with the JLPT. there are people passing N2 and N1 who are not fluent)

As imron said, HSK5 requires only 2500 words and Germany thinks it's about a B1 level, Italy even says A2+. Therefore I feel it's only the starting point of your Chinese learning journey, not some end-goal.

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dtcamero

if the guidelines were true i would agree that the test is a joke, however i feel the 5级 test is actually a serious challenge (not the practice tests, which are significantly watered down), and the 6级 test is a proper challenge even for fluent chinese speakers. 

 

for 6级 i think 10k vocabulary is a minimum to be able to process that much material without getting hung up on new words. the reading speed required is kind of ridiculous. the listening comprehension section spits out words like facial-recognition AI software at gatling-gun speed. 

 

for what it matters there is no comparable test at that level for japanese, and i know plenty of people who are perfectly fluent that agree the 1级 (similar to hsk5级) is a good test of being functionally comfortable, “fluently” able to use japanese.

 

as for chinese i’ve read 6 long novels now, can easily skim whatever news article i come across, I can talk/text at a fast clip with chinese friends, but on the 6级 i only got a 150. not a joke test in my book

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imron
2 hours ago, dtcamero said:

for 6级 i think 10k vocabulary is a minimum to be able to process that much material without getting hung up on new words.

I'd be inclined to agree, but there's a difference between acing the test and passing the test, and that's where the HSK 6 falls short, because it's possible to still pass the HSK 6 with significantly lower vocab.  The same wasn't true of the old HSK 高等.

 

1 hour ago, dtcamero said:

the reading speed required is kind of ridiculous.

The reading speed required is slower than normal native speaker speaking speed (not newsreader speed, just average speaking speed for normal people).  Being able to read at least as fast as you can listen is not an unreasonable goal in my opinion.

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