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1 Year HSK Goal for Newbie

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Beginning this Fall, I'll be studying Mandarin in Beijing. I am a complete newbie to Chinese and I want to give myself a goal to shoot for by the end of my time in China.

What is a reasonable yet challenging level to aim for? I realize there are several variables involved but even a range would be helpful. For example, if someone busted their ass for a year could they reach level 5? Or if someone was a lazy bugger, would they only reach level 2?

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Studying for the HSK isn't exactly the same as learning to speak Chinese. It's possible to prepare for the test (up to the advanced level at least) and do reasonably well without being able to speak the language. If you're going to spend a limited amount of time in Beijing, you should probably focus on listening and speaking.

I'd definitely set aside some time each week to work on HSK practice, if only for the extra rigor and structure it provides, but I wouldn't focus on the HSK as a measure of your total fluency. If it helps with the HSK stuff though, we have single-click HSK Flashcards and HSK Test materials online that you might find useful. You will get a good sense of your level from how you do on the sample tests.



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