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Andrew987

Now allowed to type on new HSK test

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Andrew987

The staff at diqiucun's wudaokou school told me you can type on the new HSK test. I have not taken the test.

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Murray

After reading the thread, I'm still not clear on whether or not this has been implemented yet. Will this be effective by the time the HSK rolls around in October?

I'm sure I sound crazy to some, but if this is true then it's a major disappointment. I'm a Chinese major in college so writing hanzi by hand is something I do on a daily basis. While it's debatable how much your average Chinese citizen will actually hand write something on a given day, the point is the HSK is supposed to test your Chinese language ability and writing is a part of the experience. Something about taking a Chinese proficiency exam and then typing in pinyin just seems so...wrong.

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anonymoose
While it's debatable how much your average Chinese citizen will actually hand write something on a given day, the point is the HSK is supposed to test your Chinese language ability and writing is a part of the experience.

I agree, as you will probably have noticed, if you've read earlier parts of the thread.

How much your average Chinese citizen will actually hand write something on a given day is rather irrelevant if you ask me. I don't hand write in English every day either. But having the skill is another matter, because there are always times when it does come in handy.

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luozhen

A friend gave me the Diqiucun info sheet on HSK and told me there are two ways to take the test. The info sheet has two columns for the 汉办 sign-up, one says HSK test and the other says online.

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kayro

Was just at DiQiuCun today, and it is definitely true that you have the option to pick either the traditional written test or the online test (which allows you to type).

This was confirmed after talking to several teachers and of course the staff.

Good luck to everyone - yea, it's a dilemma...

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evasiege

So happy they decided to move it to computer testing. Being able to write hanzi, much like calligraphy, is an artform. Though in the end it's about efficiency, and writing is, for the most part, inefficient if not perfected and is why they just slowly shift everything to electronic formats. Its not uncommon for Chinese forget how to write characters and need to refer to a friend or dictionary to recall, and most have known how to write since childhood. Like has already been mentioned, in modern Chinese society writing is basically used for filling out forms at the bank, hospital, leaving notes on the fridge, but for everything else is just takes too much time. Why should students of the language NEED to learn something that is seeing limited practical use year after year? If you want to learn how to write (by hand), do it for the same reason that a person learns how to paint or play the piano, but you can't elevate its actual importance for everyone else simply because you spent time doing it.

As for the HSK, I always thought they should have clumped listening, reading, and speaking into one test, and given writing (by hand) its own seperate test because it is so far removed from the other skills.

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anonymoose
Like has already been mentioned, in modern Chinese society writing is basically used for filling out forms at the bank, hospital, leaving notes on the fridge, but for everything else is just takes too much time ... you can't elevate its actual importance for everyone else simply because you spent time doing it.

It is the case that writing is used for filling out forms at the bank, hospital, leaving notes on the fridge, and so on, but is this not an important use of written Chinese? Of course, it depends on your occupation and general lifestyle how much you may need to do these things, but for the many people who have, say, ordinary office jobs, is writing not an essential skill? What happens if you want to leave a note for someone saying "The boss wants to see you in his office ASAP"? Don't tell me that typing it on the computer and printing it out on a new sheet of paper is preferable to quickly scribbling it on a piece a scrap paper simply because you don't know how to write?

Writing by hand has undeniably lost some of it's importance where technology has superseded it, but you can't belittle its actual importance for everyone else simply because you haven't bothered to spend time learning it.

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evasiege

Keep in mind, I'm referring to foreigners using Chinese, not native speakers. For me it just comes down to the fact that writing requires the most time to learn and perfect, is the most difficult to maintain at a high level, and has the least use out of all the other skills. As a foreigner, if you are going to learn to write, if not just for pure enjoyment, should solely be for the purpose of filling out forms and leaving notes. However, this doesn't even require the ability to write from memory. I've found that just learning stroke order and how to copy characters can work quite well. As someone else said before, you have time when doing these tasks to look up how to write a word. Sure it might take me a few extra minutes to get in all down, but unless I'm under pressure of getting done in a timely manner and doing it on a daily basis, its not a big deal to me. From a maintainance standpoint you have to ask yourself if its really worth the time keeping your writing skills up so you can occasionally skribble a few things down on paper. I'd say it depends on your job I guess, but I would think very very few people (foreigners who've studied chinese) are in a position where they need to write hanzi so much, that learning to simply look up a few words and jot it down would not be good enough. Again, I'm not referring to native speakers. With this in mind, its unnecessary and unreasonable to ask people to test a skill in a way that it will more than likely not be used.

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anonymoose

Fair enough. The case is different for foreigners. But in the same spirit, learning Chinese at all is unnecessary for most foreigners. It's simply a question of how much you want to integrate into and become functional in Chinese society (assuming you are in China). For sure, listening and speaking are most important for this purpose. But if you are literate, and can write by hand, it will get you just that little bit further. Whether you think it's worth it or not is, of course, up to you.

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bunny87

this thread just made me so happy <333333

:mrgreen:

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heifeng

Ok, I really have to get this off my chest: has anyone thought that the difficulty level might actually jump if you can type instead of write by hand. I'm just saying that if it's easier for you, it's gonna be easier for EVERYONE. But then again maybe this isn't a curved score (it's usually calculated by darts & magic 8-balls or something) --- does the new HSK even have an essay section now? Eh, I don't even want to know. But let's just say if people could have typed on the OLD HSK Advanced I'm pretty sure that there would have been some really amazing essays that would have raised the bar!

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bunny87

i know what you're saying, that now it's easier for everyone. however, i think just more examples can be inserted. i write Chinese SO slowly. it doesn't mean i'm illiterate, it just means that my characters are written in a legible (particularly beautiful) manner. Native Chinese people seem to have made writing characters into this speedy, cursive like mess that only the natives can read. No one taught me that, I only know how to write the simplified as I see it printed on screen. and a few traditional characters that will take me even longer to write, but probably will look fatter than the rest of my simplifieds.

So if it is a test of how much you can write (i.e. length), then yes, it probably just got easier for everyone.

If it is a test that 'can you respond to the following topic in an effective, complete, and clear manner?' then i think that it is still an appropriate test. They probably select topics to see your ability to use certain grammars and expand. Both of which you can do on paper. The only difference is you may write a bit more because it's faster to type (for some people, anyways).

I truly hope it's a communicative test, not a length test.

has anyone thought that the difficulty level might actually jump if you can type instead of write by hand.

in response to this, even if the difficulty level jumps, doesn't that make it more accurate to reflect modern literacy? i know a boat load of old people that would fail an English exam if they had to type, whereas pass with flying colors if it was handwritten. the type that look for the letter 'p' on the keyboard for a few moments, then the 'u' then the 't' just to write 'put'. it is just more natural for them to handwrite, as it is more natural for others to type.

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rezaf

With this in mind, its unnecessary and unreasonable to ask people to test a skill in a way that it will more than likely not be used.

If HSK was just a exam for testing those who want to learn Chinese as a hobby or for a limited purpose I would agree but the main purpose of HSK is probably evaluating those who want to do a university degree in China and I don't think I need to explain how important it is to be able to write using your hand for that. Even if with a better technology we were able to do all the writing that we should do as students on a computer, I still think that handwriting would be very important. Just come to our university before an exam and you'll see many of the students are using handwriting as a way of memorizing the study material which is because it is the best way to do that and I can't think there any way to replace handwriting for taking quick notes in a class. Sure there aren't many Americans or Europeans who want to do a university degree in China but a large number of people who take HSK every year are people who come from Asian countries and want to do go to university here so you can't just conclude that handwriting in HSK is useless for most Chinese learners based on the people around you but I agree that writing by hand should be a separate exam only for those who want to get a degree in China.

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bunny87
but I agree that writing by hand should be a separate exam

ah, i think i was a little misunderstood. they mentioned that there are options - to take it online or written. i think having options is the best way, i don't think it's appropriate to eliminate the old way, not for a long time.

and no, you don't need to explain the necessity of handwriting- it was mentioned for things like forms, addresses, and other random things. and yes, the only way i learn characters is by handwriting. i can't stare at it and absorb it like others (though i wish i could). and as i am in the university, i know it's necessary in exams, in class activities, and other moments like when we do the 听写's up on the blackboard.

but outside the classroom, there aren't as many dire reasons to write out the differing viewpoints on traditional medicine on the spot or other random topic of choice. In many workplaces, you are given tasks to complete at the computer. In the states, at least. So I would hate to have to be held from a job or other opportunity because a section of an exam that is time-constrained that doesn't otherwise pertain to a skill needed for the opportunity. Having the option to type just happens to make it more relevant.

On a side note, i suppose you are upset with the change then? but didn't they also change the levels of the HSK? I think there was levels 1-3 for beginner, 4-6 intermediate, and 7-9 advanced and for the new HSK, it was on a 1-6 scale. so perhaps a level 6 old HSK (which is what the universities require) may be a new level 4*.

*disclaimer: the info on the HSK may be wrong. i didn't look into it any bit recently. i just know the level 6 for entrance part. other than that, my info came from the first page of this thread, haha

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rezaf

I am not upset about the change. I took HSK more than 3 years ago and I don't think I'm gonna take it again. Just think it is important to test people's handwriting ability in case they want to do a university degree in China. As for me, although I can write many characters, my handwriting is slow and my typing is even slower so I hate all kinds of written exams.

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bunny87

ah. i just got the impression maybe people are upset with the change. i just said that i was happy (not good, not bad, not better, not worse, nothing at all really) and heifeng seemed to unleash.

actually, i type in English faster than i write too. I think the only language I type slower in is in Spanish, because of the stupid accents on vowels and the squiggly on the letter n. i end up cheating and using an apostrophe after the vowel, and having a copied squiggly n that i can hit ctrl+v for mid-text. but i love the language regardless.

on the university part- all the TCFL classes demand papers at the end of the term, often in place of an exam. those papers need to be typed. at least, this is the case at Wuhan University. not sure what others majors do. since science degrees only needed an old HSK 3, those probably had no traditional papers. maybe experiments and documentation. or on the exams, just math or whatever symbols and notation they use. i guess they learn all the useful stuff in class, since i don't know what engineering terms are/have been taught in the beginning/intermediate levels.

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heifeng

Oh, Sorry--my response was not actually directed at your post in particular....My comment was more a general response at typing on the HSK and in response to people (no one in particular) perhaps getting a little ahead of themselves with celebrating this change. Your post just brought this thread back up to the top of the active list. :wink:

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Silent
Ok, I really have to get this off my chest: has anyone thought that the difficulty level might actually jump if you can type instead of write by hand. I'm just saying that if it's easier for you, it's gonna be easier for EVERYONE. But then again maybe this isn't a curved score (it's usually calculated by darts & magic 8-balls or something)

Maybe I misunderstand 'curved score', but I think you try to say with 'curved score' that the test will be made harder in order to compensate the change that make the test easier. But is this true? It's a level test, not a placement test. In a placement test only x people can pass as the number of people that can pass is limited by the number of places available. In a placement test your absolute level is not that relevant. Your score is only compared to the other test taker scores.

HSK is a level test. Level tests are intended to measure a certain degree of capability. If it's decided that handwriting is not relevant for proficiency then why measure it implicit by demanding to handwrite the answers? There is an alternative, typing. In contrary to what you state this does not mean it becomes easier. Whether it's easier depends on the skillset some-one has. But even if it becomes easier for everyone, it does not mean the test will be made harder. It only means the test results are less influenced by irrelevant skills and more people will be able to pass the test. No darts and magic-8 balls needed.

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jkhsu

@Silent: Here's a link to the definition of "grading on a curve"

http://en.wikipedia....ding_on_a_curve

I think "grading on a curve" is similar to your "placement test" example in that your score / grade is dependent on how well others do. The difference is that in your placement test example, a particular number of people can pass while on a curved test, a particular percentage of people are assigned a certain grade regardless of their absolute test score.

So if HSK is a level test (as you stated), why would the level increase now that people can type their answers? If it increases, then it has to be some sort of curved test or "placement test" in your example.

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