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Chinese Beginner: HSK Info


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Hi I'm looking for some information and guidance about the HSK. I have been living in China (teaching english) now for 6 months now and studying chinese for 3. I plan to stay here until june 05 and have set myself a goal of sitting a HSK exam of some level.

I have completed Yong Ho's Beginners Chinese book and am slowly progressing through 'Easy way to learn chinese characters'. I have also completed pimsleurs madarin chinese I and am about to move onto II.

I would be extremely grateful if someone could recommend a HSK level to aim for and the materials needed. Also if anyone has any information on taking the HSK in the PRC (Dates, Locations, Cost etc.) that would be great.

I understand this information is already out there but any websites I find have the annoying habit of going from english to full chinese characters when I find any useful links, oh well thanks in advance.

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Ok so Foundation level it is. Cheers for the links ive had a good look but can't seem to find any mention of HSK Foundation Level Materials. If anyone has any recommendations that would be great.

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all bookshops that sell learnng chinese stuff have heaps of hsk prep materials.

If you live outside of China, then there are many websites selling the stuff also.

However, my suggestion is to buy an HSK dictionary. make it your goal to master 90% of the contents, including the examples given with each word.

That is what I did with my hsk and I got an a grade.

All you need is a good dictionary, dont waste money on the other stuff.

The other stuff may sound more fun, but in the end, all you need to pass hsk is some damn hard work. A dictionary will provide you with that.

As far as listening comp, watch chinese tv, listen to chinese radio.

Personally I do not find specialised tapes helpful. You pay all that cash for them, and then after you have listened once, you know the conversation, so they are uselss after the first time you listen.

As far as writing goes, just practice writing out all the characters in the hsk dicitionary. HSK dictionasry has all the commonly used characters used in the exam, also most hsk dictionaries have a character list at the back, master this list and you will pass hsk.

The above methods got me an a grade, i am sure they will for you too.

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There aren't that many materials produced for the HSK Foundation - it's a relatively new exam. However, a decent beginner's textbook and a practice exam paper (downloadable from hsk.org.cn, when it works) should do the trick.


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I don't know - if you aren't a confident language learner and will get discouraged by exposure to the intermediate level stuff you come across in the elem/int exam, stick with foundation.

However, if seeing all that intermediate stuff will just motivate you, go for it . . .

Do we have anyone who's taken both? I've only taken the elem/int exam (twice)


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  • 4 weeks later...

Cheers for the advice guys. I will invest in a HSK dictionary during my next trip to Beijing.

I guess really I would just like to get a good grasp of basic chinese including characters during my time here. Taking the HSK is just to give me something to aim towards and to add to my resume.

After alot of searching I think I will go for the Integrated Chinese series and/or Practical Chinese Reader. I guess I will decide which one when I get to the bookshop and have a look. They seem to be the most popular and have a lot of supplementary material available (which I need!)

Does anyone have any advice on these series? ie Which is better? Which supplementary materials are worth buying?

Also are these books easily available in Beijing and does anyone have any idea of the prices?

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Go to the Beijing Wangfujing foreign language bookstore on the main Wangfujing shopping street plaza area. They have a massive amount of chinese learning stuff.

It is all cheap if you buy in China. If you buy in the west then the prices are at least 4 times as much.

You can also easiily order all this stuff on the web.

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