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roddy

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

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Daan

I just registered for the new HSK on June 20th in Rotterdam. What with all the mystery surrounding the new HSK tests, I wasn't quite sure whether to pick HSK level 5 or 6. HSK level 5 requires 3500 vocabulary items, but I think I'm more in the range of 6000-7000. The mock exams online seemed rather easy to me. On the other hand, they say it corresponds to CEFR level C1, which I think describes my current command of Mandarin quite well. So in the end I picked HSK level 6, which still requires fewer vocabulary items than I know, and seemed to be about right for me judging from the mock test I did online. But Hanban say it corresponds to CEFR level C2, which I don't think I would be able to get on an English proficiency test, let alone on the HSK!

So we'll see how it turns out: if HSK level 6 proves too difficult, then that's a good reason to continue studying, and if I can actually pass it, I'm also going to be taking an English proficiency exam just to see how I do on that...would be great if my HSK score indicated my Chinese was better than my English!

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gato

The top level of the New HSK, Level 6, is supposed to be designed for those with a vocabulary of 5000 words.

The old HSK vocabulary list had almost 9000 words total in its four levels, and even then there are many words tested that are not in the vocabulary list. So it does seem that new Level 6 either requires less than the old HSK Advanced Level.

CEF level C2 is supposed to be near native. 5000 words is probably much less than native level for an adult. For instance, Chinese students are expected to know at least 3000 characters (as opposed to words) by the time they finish elementary school.

More on the old HSK vocabulary list for one's reference:

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:HSK_list_of_Mandarin_words

Old HSK vocabulary list

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BertR

More on the old HSK vocabulary list for one's reference:

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:HSK_list_of_Mandarin_words

Old HSK vocabulary list

At the end of the example exams for the New HSK there is a word list of words that you should know. The examples can be found on many websites, but one of them is this one:

http://www.confuciusinstitute.qut.edu.au/study/proficiency.jsp

For New HSK 6: http://www.confuciusinstitute.qut.edu.au/docs/hks_2010_level_6.pdf

For New HSK 5 you need to know 2500 words (see http://www.confuciusinstitute.qut.edu.au/docs/hks_2010_level_5.pdf )

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Sarevok

But Hanban say it corresponds to CEFR level C2, which I don't think I would be able to get on an English proficiency test, let alone on the HSK!

So we'll see how it turns out: if HSK level 6 proves too difficult, then that's a good reason to continue studying, and if I can actually pass it, I'm also going to be taking an English proficiency exam just to see how I do on that...would be great if my HSK score indicated my Chinese was better than my English!

Well, that's what Hanban says and I suspect they just made up those numbers, the comparison chart with CEFR grades doesn't seem at all credible to me... On their website, they also say:

f. HSK- Level 6

Designed for learners who can easily understand any information communicated in Chinese and are capable of smoothly expressing themselves in written or oral form.

No way you can achieve "easy understanding of any information communicated in Chinese" with mere 5000+ words, not in Chinese, which is such a vocabulary-intensive language... 10000 would sound more realistic (but you still won't be quite there). Hanban is trying to make those new tests appear "less intimidating and more encouraging" (or something like that... that's what I read in some official introduction/description of the new test). But trying to do so by making up random numbers is... so Chinese :)

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edelweis

All right here is my report on the New HSK level 3.

Took the test in a uni amphitheatre in the northern suburbs of Paris.

I'd say there were about 100 people (?) from middle-school students to white-haired. Less uni students than I expected (but perhaps the beginner-level students chose to take level 2 and the upper-level students chose to take level 4/5/6).

I thought the little kids would drive me crazy but actually they quieted down as soon as the test started, and I was only disturbed by the adult coughers and boot bangers and cracking wooden folding seats.

The sound came from loudspeakers and was pretty good (loud and clear).

The Listening did give me some trouble as I expected (they talk faster than I am used to) and I was unsure of, say, 10 answers out of 40.

One thing that was not totally clear is that you're supposed/allowed to circle the answers on the booklet, and you get 5' at the end of the test to copy them to the answer sheet. I think I panicked a little as I didn't have time to blacken the rectangles on the answer sheet AND read the answers to the next question. I should have just written down the answer on the booklet, or lightly crossed the answer sheet rectangle.

The Reading was not too difficult, I'd say I was unsure of about 2-3 answers. Except that when they said it was time to start the writing I had not yet started reading the last question so I again panicked a little.

As a result, even though the Writing part was pretty easy, due to adrenaline (and the grain of the wooden amphi table) my handwriting was terrible. I am not sure whether that matters.

The sentences were rather easy. I think if you learned the grammar and word list, the only difficulties was that they used 镜 in 太阳镜 whereas the word list uses it in 眼镜, but even that was pretty obvious to figure out.

The missing characters were also easy, without too many strokes, like in the sample test. I remember 白 because I had never actually written out 明白, so I had to search my visual memory to find it, and I remember 月 because I rewrote it twice due to trembling hands, the other characters were so easy I don't remember them.

Then they explicitly said we had 5 more minutes "to copy the answers to the answer sheet" so I used that time to finish the last reading question, fully blacken the little rectangles, and worry about my handwriting (but erasing little bits and rewriting them did not improve it much).

Basically, if the poor handwriting does not matter, and if the grading is strictly proportional to the number of good answers, I think I got more than 2/3 good answers and so passed (the limit being 180/300). We'll see in a few weeks...

If I have advice to give:

1- don't trust the on-line test to give you an accurate idea of what the test will be like. Download and print the full sample test, print out an answer sheet, get your 2B pencil and eraser, read the timing instructions, and follow them to the letter. Then you'll have a better idea. The on-line test does not really say when the reading section is supposed to be finished, and typing the characters is nothing like writing them with a pencil on the answer sheet.

2- If (like me) you only ever wrote neat little characters with a thin ball-point pen, practice writing bigger characters with the pencil you will use at the exam.

3- clarify with the staff whether you'll have the 5' at the end of the test to copy the answers and finish blackening the little rectangles.

4- use the guidelines on that Australian website, of course. I did not really notice unknown vocabulary, although perhaps there were two or three more instances of 太阳镜/眼镜-like extrapolations to be made.

Lastly I wish there were more audio resources available with this new HSK vocabulary and speed... I don't know of any other than the sample test.

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Chinadoog

Edelweis - was the difficulty of the test in-line with the sample test?

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edelweis

Hi Chinadoog,

I'd say it was on par for the reading and writing, only take care of the duration of the reading part. And definitely read the possible answers first.

I did find the listening more difficult than in the sample test, but I can't say really whether that was due to my mishandling of the answer sheet or whether the questions were really more difficult... (parts 1 was still pretty easy, but parts 2-4 did give me some trouble).

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Shi Tong

Edelwies, sounds really nerve racking, congratulations for getting through the test, and thanks for your report!! :)

You do know that 太阳(眼)镜/眼镜 are different, right? the first being sunglasses and the second being just plain old correction glasses?

I've not heard 太阳镜 ever, but certainly 太阳眼镜.

Either way, I really hope you get better grade than you're "expecting" and report it here so that we can all celebrate! :)

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edelweis

Thanks Shi Tong, I will certainly post my grade when I receive it. They said the answer sheets will be sent back to China on Monday, and afterwards we will be able to check the results on the website, but I have no idea how long the correction will take ;)

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JenniferW

I took the new Level 3 exam yesterday - in the UK, at the University of Sheffield, where they have a Confucius Centre.

The week before there was a free test preparation session which was really good - going through a practice paper in detail with a Chinese teacher from the Confucius Centre, and on the exam day there were no surprises.

Except that although it looks a lot easier than the old format exam, it was more of a challenge than it looks on first sight. I knew I was up near the top of the range for level 3 but really still below level 4, especially given the changes, but for each section it took me 99% of the time to get through everything and there was some skimming and intelligent guessing here and there because that was all there was time for.

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johnk

Hi,

I did the HSK level 1 at SOAS in London yesterday (May 15th 2010)

I have been self studying Chinese for about 18 months. I found the HSK easy enough. I had been quite worried about the listening part, but the only problems I felt I had were with the reading part. Being able to recognize every character does not mean being able to understand the sentence. :blink:

I will post my results when I get them.

JohnK

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docsxx

Hello,

I sat the new HSK 3 in Lille (France) last Saturday 15 may 2010. We were 15 people. Exams 2, 3 and 4 accounted to just 40 people in total (I think just 2 for grade 4).

Just before starting, the teachers hesitated to my question of the in-famous 10 minutes at the end to write down the answers in the sheet but all was clarified when we read the instructions in the paper.

The listening was fine, speed reasonable and sound good. A couple of tricky questions, I don't expect major issues on this one.

I found the reading comprehension part rahter difficult, mainly for the lack of time. I realised doing the exam that I need to train myself into speed reading. In several cases I just guessed the reply. I replied them all but just about.

The writting part was very easy, the caracters to write were 千,月,白, 因 and another one I can't remember now. The phases to compose were pretty easy with one exception.

At the end of the exam I felt exhausted.

Overall I hope I passed.

Good luck to everyone!

Docs

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edelweis

The May 15th results are available on http://www.chinesetesting.cn.

I got mine by logging in.

听力 81.0

阅读 95.0

写作 91.0

总分 267.0

According to regulations (required total 180/300), I passed.

But somehow the "certificate information" page seems incomplete (no certificate level nor issuing date). Perhaps they have not fully updated everything yet.

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docsxx

Today I got the results to new HSK3:

HSK三级(2010-05-15) 汉语水平考试

听力 83

阅读 61

写作 74

Total 218

Score Status 合格

Next year I plan to sit level 4.

Good luck to everyone.

Docs

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HerrPetersen

I have trouble logging in at the chinesetesting page. I think I got the correct id number, but I have no idea what name to put in.

I did not use a Chinese name and in my name there are "ä"s and "ö"s, which I guess messes things up.

Question:

The id-number is composed from the top right table, bottom right table left table (in exactly this order) from the admission ticket?

What formatting did you use for the name?

Bob Smith

Bob, Smith

Smith, Bob

...?

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BertR

What formatting did you use for the name?

Bob Smith

Bob, Smith

Smith, Bob

...?

Bob Smith

But it takes a long time before the exams are corrected. For me it took one month and a half. Before that you get an error message that the information can't be found.

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Don_Horhe

I took the 初、中 in Wuhan's Huazhong Normal University yesterday. On the whole, it wasn't as difficult as I'd expected.

Since for me 听力 is a sheer waste of time, I never go to this class and just refuse to study, I thought I'd have a difficult time with it on the exam. It turned out to be pretty straightforward, with only 1 or 2 questions which I wasn't 100% sure what to answer.

The grammar section was also OK, nothing too complicated.

Reading, and more specifically the time allotted to it, was my other concern. Surprisingly, I finished a good 10 minutes before the deadline, and just sat there waiting for the next section to begin. This is where the proctors really annoyed me, I'll explain why in the last paragraph.

The character writing section was a bit tricky. Immediately after the exam I found out that I'd made 2 mistakes - wrote 边际 instead of 之际 and 整理 instead of 处理. I don't really care about the first one, since I'd never come across the word 之际, but the second mistake is very, very stupid, since I know both words, but just couldn't think of 处理 at the time. Anyway, apart from these two, the other words were easy. Initially I couldn't remember how to write 顾, but after a few attempts on the desk, it came to me.

The proctors - I always keep asking myself 'Why have rules and regulations when nobody complies with them?' There were two Vietnamese students on my sides - a nun and a regular girl - who didn't shut up throughout the entire exam. There was only a single 请不要说话, and that was it. The last straw was after the reading section - there were a few other students around me who had also finished before the time was up, but, instead of waiting, started doing section 4 right away. Initially I said nothing, assuming that the proctors would notice and tell them to turn back. After a few minutes of nothing happening, I asked whether the 4th section had already started, and the proctor said 没有,还有7分钟,但是你们可以先看一下. Now what is this? Of course, I started doing it right away, but doesn't that make the exam sort of pointless?

Anyway, I'm hoping for an 8, and the results will be out in about a month or so.

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joshuawbb

I also took the 初,中 in Xiamen 华侨大学华文学院. I was getting worried as I read your reply above that you didn't find it too hard - then I read you're going for an 8, which was a relief. I'm aiming for a 5; I feel my overall Chinese level is worth a 5, but of course this is an exam and the score depends a lot on knowing the exam technique. 4 is my minimum at this stage, and I'd be very disappointed to get the 3 that I got last time in April.

I also found the 听力 quite light to be honest, and rarely found myself guessing or being uncertain about an answer. Of course, I'll swallow my words if my score doesn't reflect how easy I found it to be. Grammer was relatively hard for me - not the technique of doing it, just the word choices. I've been working through the HSK 8 books for a few months now and found quite a lot of the words/phrases chosen in the yesterday's grammar sections to be above me. Same with the reading - particularly the first section. In fact, I'd say I didn't recognise more than a few of words in the questions (not the 4 answer choices). I tried my best to choose the answers based on sentence context, etc. Section 2 wasn't too bad.

综合 also wasn't too bad, though I would agree that the character writing was tricky. I filled in as much as I could, must have left one or two empty spaces. I think one of the biggest improvements I made so far has been timing. During this HSK I finished each section quite timely except for the grammar, where I had to sacrifice the last question. On my last HSK I think at least 15% of all my choices were guesses due to running out of time. I'd be going through a section, looking up at the clock and then panicking since I had done 50% of the section in 75% of the time.

Invigilators were fine for me, like my last exam. They even put police-style tape around the outer building to stop other students from wandering in.

I hope I've got at least my level 4 this time, maybe level 5 though I'm not confident. Last time I treated the exam as a practice and wasn't overly down about missing my target of 4. In fact, I wasn't far away with 180 points and seemed to be the highest out of the classmates I asked - in my class the average score was about 140 to 160.

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chinopinyin

I just got my results for HSK level 2

听力 95/100

阅读 97/100

Total Score 192/200

Status 合格

I found that questions were broadly similar to available mock tests. The mp3 file of the listening part was reproduced using a laptop connected to external loudspeakers. The examination hall was quite big and acoustics could have been better.

At the end of this year I plan to sit HSK level 3, provided I feel comfortable enough with handwriting. In the last couple of weeks, I have started to hand write characters (So far I had only used Google pinyin input method)

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Don_Horhe

Results are out, I got an 8 (happy dance)!

This is what I got off of the HSK website, they've yet to post the certificate back home.

听力 - 85/100

语法 - 100/100

阅读 - 98/100

综合 - 86/100

总分 - 366/400

证书等第 - 中

级别 - A

Not surprised by the 听力 score, though I might start going to that class again. :P I didn't expect scores this high on grammar and reading, and I'm assuming what lowered my 综合 score were the few characters I messed up in the last section.

Anyway, I'm happy with myself, since I started studying for the HSK something like a month in advance, and I wasn't particularly serious about it, either. I really want to take the Advanced as well, but, by the look of things, I probably won't have the chance to take the 旧版 again, since the Confucius Institute here in Sofia now only offers the new one and by the time I get a chance to go to China again, they will most likely have implemented it everywhere.

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