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Horse

New HSK Advanced

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Horse

I know there are kind of threads on this already but nothing very conclusive...

I'm doing a re-take of the advanced HSK. Have been told by an old tutor that the next one is to be March 14th (confusingly, as this is not mentioned on the HSK website, along with the fact that a completely new exam maybe being implemented).

My tutor said that is the 'new HSK', but last time i looked the website said nowt about it and the people in my local Book City have assured me there are no new materials on the market for the 'new HSK' and they don't know when/if there will be?

This does seem to be some classic 'organization with Chinese charcteristics'.

Does anyone actually know what's going on with this new exam, and if there are new books for the new exam (should it materialize)????

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chrix

if anyone know anything for sure, it'd be in the other threads you didn't find very conclusive :mrgreen: There's some materials on the new one, as some people posted in some other thread, but it seems that right now everything is geared towards the old one..

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Sarevok

Well, the whole HSK website is full of Chinese characteristics :roll:

Nobody knows, how the New HSK Advanced (I assume 6级 could be called "Advanced") will look like. The only official materials published are for 1级 and 2级 (those picture and pinyin laden pdfs which someone posted in one of those other threads). Every article (Chinese or English) about the New HSK exam also describes only 1级 and 2级 (for example, one article describes how these two levels of the new exam were successfully tested in Phillipines and how the students liked it much more then the old exam and whatnot). My take is that they are not done with the preparation of the other levels yet, so the old exam will still (hopefully) be around for some time... but this is an "exam with Chinese characteristics", so you never know, they might launch it tomorrow without any warning :mrgreen:

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Horse

Yeah right, it just seems bizarre that they would talk about completely changing the testing system and not bother to publicize it.

Me thinks it could well be as big a farce as the last time they talked about changing things around.

Would like to know though,the exam is meant to be in March

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roddy

You could try phoning the HSK office and 汉办, and also talking to the staff wherever you'd be taking the exam - they may have a clearer idea than your tutor. For my money, and as I've said elsewhere, it seems the only rational thing to do is get your Chinese level up as best you can, prepare for the original HSK if you're going to prepare for anything, and wait and see what happens.

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gato
for example, one article describes how these two levels of the new exam were successfully tested in Phillipines and how the students liked it much more then the old exam and whatnot).

Here's the article in question. Whoa!

http://world.people.com.cn/GB/10506164.html

菲律宾非华裔考生感受新HSK 难度适中增信心(图)

2009年12月03日16:47

The schedule from the Confucius Institute here seems to confirm the idea that only levels 1 and 2 are ready.

http://www.cpe.qut.edu.au/events/CPTC009.jsp

CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE - THE CHINESE PROFICIENCY TEST (HSK & YCT)

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realmayo

That link from Gato to a Confucius Institute in Australia: I find the vocabulary requirements a bit odd -- basically, level 5 you only need 2,500 words. And this is for the second highest level. (At level 6 you need more than 5000.) I would have thought that 2,500 is on the small side for, say, the current intermediate level. And yes according to a table on wikipedia, in the old HSK the Elementary level requires over 3,000, and the Intermediate requires over 5,000.

I don't think it it means "characters" instead of "words", because it says level 6 needs 5,000 or more.

EDIT: perhaps it does mean characters?

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roddy

That article about the Philippines is just daft - 'this is a good exam, as the students thought the old one too difficult.' I swear, give it another few years and we'll have HSK exams ranging from HSK初级基础入门 (Learning Outcomes: finding China on a map of NE Asia, smiling when the examiner says 你好) all the way up to HSK超级高级 (Learning Outcomes: finding China on a map of the world, being able to tell the difference between a panda and the Great Wall, getting off the bus at the right stop).

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Sarevok
That article about the Philippines is just daft - 'this is a good exam, as the students thought the old one too difficult.' I swear, give it another few years and we'll have HSK exams ranging from HSK初级基础入门 (Learning Outcomes: finding China on a map of NE Asia, smiling when the examiner says 你好) all the way up to HSK超级高级 (Learning Outcomes: finding China on a map of the world, being able to tell the difference between a panda and the Great Wall, getting off the bus at the right stop).

I am also not a big fan of the new format as can be seen from some of my posts. The reading part was difficult, so what? We worked hard and got there still and I personally had a big 成就感 after I finally hit the elusive 8级 (can't get much more than 成就感 from this exam as it is not widely recognized by employers and such). I would have tried Advanced a long time ago, were it offered here (it will hopefully be in 2010). If they just make it easier like that, then I would be naturally pissed off. Well, these are just my personal feelings, so on a more objective note... if it was the written Chinese getting easier in general (which is not happening, they are not getting rid of those wenyanish phrases and chengyus anytime soon), then okay, go ahead and make the exam easier as well. If they make it easier just like that, then it would reflect the real skills of the examinees even less than the current exam (which is indeed lacking in some areas, namely speaking).

On a sidenote, I also think the vocabulary requiremenst are bit on the low side. Throughout the years, I got a feeling that Chinese themselves are sometimes a bit muddled when it comes to the concepts of 字 and 词, so perhaps it is tied with that...

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Horse

So the general idea is that they're going to make the exam easier?

Who says it won't viewed with same prestige by employers as the old one?

I've been appying for a few things starting in 2010 and they are all still staying 'HSK Advanced compulsory'.

Why don't they just leave the damn thing alone? I personally think it is a pretty fair reflection of the examinees ability. If they turn it into a Mickey Mouse exam after the amount of hours i've been putting in, i will be pretty pissed off

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roddy

There's certainly a lot more focus at the lower end of the spectrum - look at the way over the last . . . I don't know, several years I guess . . . the HSK 入门 and 基础 exams were floated, while the 初中级 was never separated into the two exams it always should have been - I've been moaning about this since 2003, and it still hasn't happened except as part of this botched transition to a 'new' exam.

This makes a certain amount of sense, as with any language and especially Chinese the lower you go the more students there are, but you'd be forgiven for thinking that there's more focus on easier exams, rather than better education.

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gato
This makes a certain amount of sense, as with any language and especially Chinese the lower you go the more students there are, but you'd be forgiven for thinking that there's more focus on easier exams, rather than better education.

Is this basically a money-making scheme then? To get more students to take the HSK?

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roddy

I wouldn't say the new exams themselves are just about the income - the HSK has long been in need of fixing, and it makes both logical and financial sense to start where the majority of students are, which is at the beginning. But I can't believe the whole tug-of-war fiasco between the HSK office and 汉办 would have happened if it wasn't for some combination of exam income, budget and empire building. See also. And if that hadn't happened, we might actually have the revised HSK up and running by now.

Edit: And while I'm at it . . .

汉办 are starting to try and tie their levels into the Council of Europe framework. I'm dubious about the equivalences though. There doesn't seem to be an official CEF 'you will know this many words at this level' list, but there's a table in this pdf. Compare that to what the new HSK is using and you can see that they're reducing vocab expected at the lower levels

CEF Level / Chinese / English (taking the lower figure)

a1 150

a2 300 1500

b1 600 2750

b2 1200 3250

c1 2500 3750

c2 5000 4500 ( to 5000)

I'm no expert, but it looks to me like the new HSKs are skewed towards lower levels of the language, as that's where the students and the money are. Fair enough, I suppose. But that means you shouldn't be saying, as they are in effect, that new HSK level 2 is equivalent to UCLES KET. (CEF A2. Incidentally, CEF A1 doesn't even merit an UCLES exam, unless you're at elementary school).

Edited by roddy
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Sarevok

I don't see a point in taking this kind of test if you have a vocabulary of only 150 or 300 words (levels 1 and 2 respectively). Well, maybe for motivational purposes - same as some of the test takers on these forums, me included. It may make a bit of sense at an elementary school if you start learning Chinese there (which could be the case in some asian countries, can't imagine the same thing here in Europe). But with such limited vocabularies the certificates obtained for taking the test at these levels doesn't reflect any real knowledge of the language to speak of... 5000 is a horse of another color, but I would still expect more to:

...easily understand any information communicated in Chinese and are capable of smoothly expressing themselves in written or oral form...

(from the Hanban website)

10000 or more would be a more realistic number, but it could be frightening for many, turning off some of the potential test-takers... so they just put some random low numbers there to make it appear easier (attracting more people to take the test and therefore more money as well).

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gato

It's got to be words, not characters. I probably know less than 4000 characters, but I have no trouble reading most books and articles, except those that quote classical Chinese extensively.

See this study about the vocabulary size of college students. The study might have been done for native English speakers, but I would guess that it's roughly similar to those who speak other languages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocabulary#Reading_vocabulary

Native-language vocabulary

Native speakers' vocabularies vary widely within a language, and are especially dependent on the level of the speaker's education. A 1995 study estimated the vocabulary size of college-educated speakers at about 17,000 word families[clarification needed], and that of first-year college students (high-school educated) at about 12,000.[10]

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chrix
17,000 word families[clarification needed

and therein lies the crux of the matter. This probably translates into 30-40K words?

Also, it would be strange to go by characters, the Hanban should know better to use characters as a measuring stick, but who knows...

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yialanliu

Yea I am in the same boat as you. Although I still think it's in April. I will call the New York testing site on Monday to confirm as I don't think they are open over the winter. I'll be taking it at the same time.

In terms of 17k characters, that's ridiculous. Considering that the old HSK had 2.8k characters, I am going to assume around 3000 as well which would lead to the same <10k total word groups. By the way, the chinese test for chinese journalist after graduation has less than 17k characters so I know that's not going to be true.

~yialanliu

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Sarevok

Seems that the guys from Hanban are really determined to launch it this year. 样卷 for levels 3 and 4 emerged on their website... It doesn't look very difficult, I would say it is easier than 初等 difficulty of the old exam (from what I know this new 4级 should roughly correspond to the old 初 levels, 5级 to the old 中 and 6级 to the old 高). Hope there will be at least some challenge in taking 6级 (if the difficulty progresses as it did between 1-4, then 6级 is probably gonna be easier than the old 高...but that is just a speculation of mine).

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yialanliu

I talked to the New York testing site and they told me that nothing is in stone yet and they'll know in February. And my god their english sucks haha, I ended up just talking in chinese after one sentence.

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