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roddy

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

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patphilly

"I had a transcript of the audio recordings"

How come?

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rmpalpha

patphilly: I'm deaf, so I wouldn't have been able to pass the listening section without a transcript since I can't hear (much less understand) the recordings.

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patphilly

OK I registered for level 3 in May and just practiced with some sample tests. I can typically do about 80-85% on listening parts, and about 95%-100% on reading.

Two questions:

- In the listening part, i notice that I can really understand what it's about and pick the answer with confidence for only about 1/3 of the questions; for another 1/3 of the questions, I understand very little but I'm lucky enough to just recognize the important word that corresponds to the right answer, and in the last 1/3 of questions, I pretty much understand nothing and pick the answer almost randomly. So that's how I get to about 80% each time, but I certainly feel struggling and not very proud of myself despite a result that looks rather good on paper. For those of you who are studying for the test (at any level), do you also feel that way? I almost feel that I don't deserve to pass a test in which I understand so little...

- For the writing part, i usually find it quite easy, but I wonder how it's graded. In HSK 3 there are 5 sentences to reorder and 5 characters to write. What if just 1 block is badly positioned in the sentence, does it give you the whole question wrong? How about writing, do they take into account characters that look like they've been written by 6 year-old kids (as is my case....)?

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rmpalpha

I can't really comment on the listening part, as I had a transcript (as mentioned above).

I found the writing part to be easy for me, but I earned 88/100 which seems to suggest that, if a mistake is made on one of the five sentences (and this is probably what happened to me), the whole question is wrong. I don't really know how it is graded though.

As for writing characters, I think many (most?) of the tests are now computerized so you will be typing characters and not writing them out.

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mayuuuc

I registered for level 3. What kind of writing part is awaiting me? Is there a text production? Thanks in advance!

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xuefang

I got a new HSK 5 last December with score 235 and now I'm thinking when I should try HSK6. I know that there's a big gap between the levels, and even though I can graduate with 5 (I'm a Chinese as a foreing language undergrad), I think I should have 6 :)

Right now I'm thinking of trying level 6 in December. How long did it take for you guys to get from HSK5 to HSK6?

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heifeng

5 to 6? I have no idea, b/c that's the NEW HSK.

But on a totally unrelated note, I've been wanting to kidnap your cat in your avatar!!!!!!!!!! (so cuuuuute)

have fun with the HSK though :lol:

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edelweis

@mayuuc: your can read what I wrote about the paper-based level 3 test in a previous post

Warning: the management of time allocated to copying the answers to the answer sheet varies depending on the test centre. You will get some time for the audio part, but whether you will get extra time for the reading and writing section is unclear.

If you're taking the computerized level 3, then read rmpalpha's post there.

you can also find practice tests on the chinesetesting.cn website

新HSK(三级)考试大纲下载

HSK三级真题与答案下载(第一套) and so on.

For the writing part,

1) you have to reorder sentences and write them on the answer sheet. For paper-based test, it's just a matter of having basic grammar skills and copying the characters without making obvious stroke mistakes. For the computer test, I think you can select whether you want to write the answers on paper or on the computer. If it's on the computer, and you use pinyin input, then of course you need to remember how the characters sound...

2) you have to write a few characters from memory, in context (in a sentence), and they give you the pinyin. On computer it's merely a matter of selecting the right character from the pinyin input list. On paper you need to remember how to write those characters obviously, but it seems they select them from the easiest ones, perhaps the HSK2 vocab list (???)

@heifeng, xuefang: totally agree on the cat.

The "writing" part of HSK6 (actually reading, and somehow memorizing enough to produce a summary of what you've read) seems terribly difficult to me... hehe.

(no editing buttons today? how odd.)

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Geiko

They say "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans", and this couldn't be more true. I had already decided that I wanted to take both HSK 3 and 4 at the same time, but then I found out that in my hometown the two exams overlapped, so I had to choose only one. And since taking only level 4 seemed to me kind of "wrong" (because I feel as if I were collecting stickers, I want the whole collection :mrgreen: ), I only registered for 三级. I took the exam this morning, and I'm pretty sattisfied with myself, I hope I get a good score. In fact, both in HSK 2 and 3, I've had the impression that the mock exams I took were harder than the real thing. I don't know if this will still be true for higher levels. I wish I could have taken also level 4, it would have been more challenging... In the 书写 part we had to write characters like 你、工作的工、离开的开、现在的在and问.

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edelweis

Thanks for this report Geiko.

What about the other people who tool the test this weekend, what level did you take and what are your impressions?

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mayuuuc

I took the hsk 3 today, although my teacher advised me to take at least 4 because I am actually a chinese major in university. but because of lack of confidence and not having been to china yet I took 3. Big mistake, it was way too easy.

The listening part was very slow and clear, I could understand every single word perfectly. The grammar was also easy so was the reading comprehension. Next time I'll definitely take 4 or 5. I finished half an hour early although we didn't get any extra time to copy the answers onto the answer sheet.

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blandmc

I took the New HSK Level 4 on Sunday in Shanghai. I had previously taken the Old HSK 3 times (Basic twice and Elem-Int one time) and my highest level on the old test was Lev 4, but I had a level 6 on grammar, 5 on listening, and 5 on Overall... but the 3 I got on reading pulled me down. So... I wasn't sure what level to take a year later on the new exams...

New HSK Level 4

So, the test is split into 3 sections...

1. Listening: I found this to be pretty darn easy for me, which was surprising because I feel listening is my worst skill in Chinese. I may have missed one or two. They gave us 5 minutes to copy answers at the end.

2. Reading: Again, I found this to be pretty easy. It was much, much easier than the old HSK Elem-Int test. The most challenging part in reading is always the time. I was barely able to get through it all reading as fast as I can, which is not that fast. It was tight, but I knew I had to be fast since I had time problems in the practice tests. I could understand everything anyway.

3. Writing: This was a bit harder but not much. The first part was just writing sentences in the right order. The writing part was easy... but there were two sentences I wasn't 100% sure about the order. The only one I remember was:

我们 诚实的人 尊重 值得

From memory, I believe that was it... I took it from the perspective of maybe a company saying "We value respecting honest people". But it seemed odd no matter what order I put it in... finally I chose:

我们值得尊重诚实的人。

But who knows? Anyone else have an idea?

Then the second part of the writing test is look at a picture, and write a sentence. Easy enough... though there was a picture of a guy hanging a picture on a wall and the character you had to use in your sentence was 挂.. for the life of me I could not remember how to write 画 on the test... total mental block, but I wrote 这个男人把照片挂在墙上。Hopefully that is OK. Of course, there is no guidance on how they grade the written part of the exam that I have seen. I will be curious to know what score I get in 30 days.

Then I also took the HSK Speaking Test (Intermediate) on the same day. It sucked that I had to come back at 4:30pm for that test when the written test was at 8:30am. BUt ohwell... life goes on.

HSK Speaking test (Intermediate)

- although the whole test is 25 minutes, expect to be there for 1.5 - 2 hours.

- you register 30 min prior, but we had late students come in at the last minute so they explained everything again

- then they had technical difficulties with several of the computers, so they rebooted them and made us all wait...

- then they wanted us to test the recoridng function and asked us all to speak into the microphones... ok... but then they played each students response one by one for us all to hear... with 31 students in the room, this took about 40 minutes

- of course there were problems with 3 of the students (likely they didnt speak) but the center had them switch computers and do it again... another 15 minutes

- finally when the test was going to begin, they kept saying "we will tell you when to speak... don't speak until we tell you" but then they never said anything... so the first question no one knew it was time to start...

- they ask you to say your name (in your native language and Chinese), your country, your test number, then the test starts:

1. Repeat the Sentences x 10

- this was very tough... it doesn't test your speaking ability at all... but your memory and concentration.... and there are 31 students in the room all speaking at the same time... it was insane trying to concentrate. I barely got through the 10 sentences and a few them I couldn't repeat. There was only about 2-3 seconds in between each one... VERY tough, but nothing to do with your speaking ability.

2. Look at a photo and say something for 2 minutes x 2

3. Read a short sentence (with hanzi and pinyin) and answer it x 2

Section 2 and 3 were OK... you get 10 minutes to prepare for them, so you can jot down some notes about what you want to say.. but the challenge for me was to fill 2 minutes of speech about the photo or question... nothing to do with my Chinese... I wouldn't know what to say for 2 minutes in English. Again, no guidance on how the oral test is graded... is it better to say more and make more mistakes? Or sound like an idiot saying anything that pops in your head? Or is it better to have a well structured response that answers the question or describes the photo and say it well, but not fill 2 minutes? I have no idea. I opted for the latter. I spoke about 1 minute to 1:30 for each response. But I heard other students blathering on until the time was up. Each one seemed more like 3 minutes to me. It would be good to have a watch with a timer on it so you know how long to speak... there was nothing like that for the test... and this was a challenge for me. Again, nothing to do with real speaking ability... and again, there are 31 other students all speaking as loud as possible in the same small room. So... it is really difficult to concentrate on what you want to say.

This is a horrible way to do the speaking test.

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Meng Lelan

I've heard phrases like 诚实的人值得尊敬,爱劳动的人值得尊敬 etc etc so I would have tried 诚实的人值得

我们尊重 hopefully that comes out correct though I am wondering did you see 尊重 instead of 尊敬.

A ghastly exam indeed, I never took the HSK and never will because it seems so questionable in every way, but that's just my sentiment.

I did like your report, giving you a green rep.

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Geiko
and again, there are 31 other students all speaking as loud as possible in the same small room. So... it is really difficult to concentrate on what you want to say. This is a horrible way to do the speaking test.

Last year I took the speaking test (beginner), and we had individual translation booths for each one of us. It must be horrible to talk while listening to the other people.

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patphilly

I took HSK 2 and 3 in Paris (AFPC) this weekend.

I was really surprised by the huge number of people who took the test, most of the test takers were teenagers. I wonder if in some French high schools some pupils have options in which they all HAVE to take the HSK test? I found it hard to imagine that all these young kids (many of them careless, late and loud) were actually learning Chinese out of personal interest?

Also it was quite amazing that they squeezed maybe 300 people in an auditorium that could fit maximum 400. So that there was not even enough space to leave a seat between each test taker. Many people were sitting next to each other in this huge auditorium which makes cheating just sooo easy! Really strange that they organized it this way. Did you guys have the same experience, or did you actually get assigned a fixed seat with enough space around you to avoid cheating?

For me, level 2 was mostly a warmup. I am pretty confident about every single reading question and was unsure about 2 or 3 listening ones.

Level 3 went well too. Audio was loud and clear and I only hesitated about 5-6 listening questions. Reading was fairly easy, I may have made 1 or 2 mistakes at most, i think. The writing part is always very surprising to me. First of all, it's surprising that it is so short compared to other sections (why would they not make us reorder 10 or 20 sentences and write 20 or so individual characters?) And the 5 characters we had to write were so easy: as Geiko mentioned they were 你, 工, 开, 在 and 问, which all belong to lower levels.

Now on to level 4! I wonder when I can expect to pass it, or even what score I would get if I tried it now, assuming that I did (hopefully) about 90-95% at level 3. How long did you guys spend between HSK3 and 4? (there are indeed another 600 vocabulary words, among which I probably know less than 100 from other learning material).

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edelweis

Thanks for the reports guys.

@patphilly: I don't recall such poor testing conditions two years ago, but I only took level 3, don't know about level 2...

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Geiko

Also it was quite amazing that they squeezed maybe 300 people in an auditorium that could fit maximum 400. So that there was not even enough space to leave a seat between each test taker. Many people were sitting next to each other in this huge auditorium which makes cheating just sooo easy! Really strange that they organized it this way. Did you guys have the same experience, or did you actually get assigned a fixed seat with enough space around you to avoid cheating?

Here in Barcelona there was an empty seat between each test taker, but our classes were much less overcrowded than yours. There were 91 people registered for level 3, and they split us in two different rooms (41 + 50).

In case anybody is curious about figures, Confucius Institute claims that almost 600 people took the Hsk exams this year in Bcn. Since I arrived too early to the University, before taking the exam I wrote down how many people were registered for the written exams, and there were 505 people summing up all levels. 78.6% of the examinees were taking levels 1 to 3, whereas examinees from levels 4-6 were only 21.4%. The level with the highest number of people registered was the first (167 examinees), but the test with the lowest number of examinees wasn't level 6 (50 people) but level 5 (only 20). However, in level 6 almost all the test takers were Chinese people who live in Spain, whereas in level 5 and lower examinees were mostly Spaniards.

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honzan

Is the New HSK valid forever if you don't apply to universities?

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edelweis

The certificate itself does not have an expiry date.

Even if you do apply for universities, the certificate itself remains valid. It just won't be accepted by Chinese unis as proof of your Chinese level if you took the test more than 2 years before.

Similarly, if you want to get into a Western uni, or apply for a job, an old certificate won't give recruiters an accurate description of your current Chinese level, and they might very well request a more recent one (or ask you to take a placement test or something).

What do you want to use the HSK certificate for, if not to show your current level? (Well, I guess even an old certificate always looks good on a resume if the job you're applying for does not require current Chinese skills, or as a conversation item or just for your personal pride...)

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edelweis

HSK4 (paper-based) report

I took the test this morning at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Paris.

Most French school and university students took the test at the AFPC venues in May, this test session was mainly aimed at the centre's students (mostly older people such as myself :mrgreen:) although there were also at least two high-school students and one middle school student taking tests at the same hour as the HSK4.

Here is the number of test-takers per level according to the lists:

HSK1: 59

HSK2: 57

HSK3: 57

HSK4: 31

HSK5: 15

HSK6: 2

All HSK4 people took the test in the biggest classroom, but lower levels were split among several classrooms and some apparently even sat in the library.

The conditions were quite good, except that they had allocated the seats beforehand and I ended up next to a loudspeaker. Had to plug my ears at times, the sound was that loud. That didn't prevent my mind from wandering just like it did during the mock up tests. So there are 2-3 answers I chose basically at random. Actually I am not sure that if I had managed perfect concentration I would have been able to make better answers, sometimes my mind just does not process the spoken words fast enough.

We did get 5' after the listening test to copy the answers to the answer sheet, but they didn't really call up time, so we were actually free to start on the reading and writing part as soon as we wanted. They just warned us that we had to stay until the end, which I find courteous towards those who really need all of the allotted time.

I found the reading part easy enough since that is my strong point, there was just 1 question that caused me trouble. The climate in Hainan being hot and humid, flowers bloom even in winter, so there is a saying "Summer is long, no winter". I couldn't decide between answers "the air is humid" and "all four seasons are spring-like" :tong

The writing part was pretty standard. I'm not too sure about the picture+word sentences, as usual, (I'll get those corrected on Lang8) but I'm confident about 9 of the sentences to be reordered.

I found I was much better prepared this year for HSK4 than two years ago for HSK3. I didn't cram the vocabulary this time, and did many practice tests from the BLCU book and the official website, so it felt pretty much like routine. We'll see the results in July...

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