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Scoobyqueen

HSK highest level is B2

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realmayo

And it may get more difficult with time. The view from Korea when the new HSK was introduced was that it would be a bit easier for the first few years so teachers and students could get used to what was required. Don't know if it has got more difficult now.

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roddy

Scary thing is that you can actually see Hanban doing that. "Oh, Chinese is so hard, we must make the exam easier. And as it's a new exam, we should probably go extra easy on them."

Does anyone know how the new exams have been received in Korea? The old HSK8 was such a big thing for Korean students,

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realmayo

From memory, and this was a year or two ago, people I know thought it was indeed fairly easy and I think they all passed (level 6).

Actually, I wonder if it's less the overall langauge difficulty that's relevant here, and more that there was a whole new chunk of rote-learning and exam-cunning that had to be processed by teachers and learned by students or else the whole point of the HSK as an important qualification in various parts of the world (e.g. Korea) would have fallen away. It mightn't have been a case of "will preparation for the new-style exam mean my students end up with better/worse Chinese than with the old exam?" but more making sure that most of them could still pass and get the vital piece of paper. So I think it's fair to make it easier at the beginning. But it's only rumour that it was made easier at the beginning. And those considerations aren't relevant to people learning Chinese who want in the HSK a target or a benchmark for their language abilities.

EDIT: so to answer your question, I remember students being happy enough with HSK6 as the new HSK8.

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Elizabeth_rb

I wonder how good a comparison Korean students would be with Westerners. I remember asking a Korean chap how he'd found learning Chinese and he said that, owing to the fact that Koreans can already read many Chinese characters, he'd found that part very easy. Even more so with Japanese of course. When I was in Taiwan, a Japanese friend told me she thought I could easily pass TOP Advanced (harder than HSK6, it seems), until I reminded her that reading was much harder and slower for me than for her.

Interestingly, an MA programme I was interested in here in Sheffield - Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language - requires non-native speakers to have a 4-year UK/Europe style BA(Hons) including year abroad studying Chinese in situ, OR new HSK 5 OR old HSK 8. They consider those to be of a level.

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realmayo

I think that the Korean/Western differences is not just the characters, or even vocab (most Korean nouns come from Chinese), but the approach to exams: I'd expect your average Korean to do better in the HSK than the average westerner of the same language ability (if such an equivalence was even possible).

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Elizabeth_rb

Yes, that's true. I remember in my first year studying in Taiwan (I've been twice!!), a Korean girl in my class got 98% in a test and ran out of the room crying, 怎么办?! I got 82% and was rather pleased!! (OK, now I'd be seriously dis-chuffed with anything that didn't start with a 9...)

So, either way, the other Easterners are going to score higher than us!=)

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realmayo

Haha, yes, Koreans love saying "怎么办" -- naturally there's a very close equivalent in Korean that they use a lot.

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WestTexas
Therefore, the school advises each of their students to randomly guess the 10 questions in the grammar section and spend the time saved on reading comprehension instead, and almost all of them do this.

This was exactly my plan for that section! Native speakers cannot even answer the grammar questions correctly, at least not the ones in my practice book.

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renzhe

Awesome write-up, rob!

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peterlkj

Rob07 - congrats! Would you mind sharing which school you used?

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rob07
Would you mind sharing which school you used?

TLI

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hanxue

Are you allowed to take notes on the text you're supposed to rewrite? (I assume you're given 10 mins to read the text and you're not allowed to look at it while writing?)

Does anyone have level 6 vocabs with both Chinese & English and would be willing to share? :)

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rob07
I assume you're given 10 mins to read the text and you're not allowed to look at it while writing?

Yes.

Are you allowed to take notes on the text you're supposed to rewrite?

No.

I made some comments on the writing section at #13 on this thread.

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Elizabeth_rb

Does anyone have level 6 vocabs with both Chinese & English and would be willing to share?
:)

Try here:

Sheffield Confucius Institute

Look in the grey 'Downloads' box towards the top left part of the page and you'll see that you can download for free all levels of vocab. I don't think it has English, but I doubt such a list exists, to be honest as it's for all language speakers.

There is a book that cover the highest level of HSK vocab (although I don't know how it works, as the Amazon preview is not helpful in this case), but I doubt you'll find a list for free anywhere that includes English. :(

Hope that helps and all the best with the test! I doubt I'll ever do level 6 (too much trouble and no real need for it), but I wouldn't mind a bash at level 5 soon.

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tooironic

@Elizabeth_rb That link you shared doesn't work.

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Elizabeth_rb

Thanks, too ironic, I've fixed it!

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cingia

I don't think the HSK 6 is a C2 test. The problem is not vocabulary, but the competencies that are tested. In terms of vocabulary, in China it is well known that to reach a level B2 a minum of 8000 words are required: take a look at the image below, it is aimed at people who want to learn German, but if it works for Chinese people who want to speak German, it should work also for westerners who want to speak Chinese and have to learn every word from scratch without the possibility to guess on the base of their mothertongue. So, knowing this kind of diagrams, Hanban says that 5.000 words are "just" a base (+5000 words / 5000词以上), implying that more words (8000?10000?) can appear on the test. The real problem is the kind of competencies tested. In a typical C2 test for French or English, a student is required to read and understand a very broad range of topics ("unfamiliar" topics beyond his field of specialization) such as science, history, technology etc., and all these materials are extracted from magazines or books written for native speakers. In the listening section a student is required to understand the gist and a quite a lot of details of materials extracted from original radio or TV programmes. In the writing section a student is required to write a comment on a blog, a letter to a magazine, a letter of compliance, summarize some articles etc. but first of all a student has to show his ability to use both the formal and informal style. The HSK6 doesn't test this kind of abilities. It seems to turn all around "grammar patterns": the HSK6 seems to be a test about the subtleties of Chinese grammar. It doesn't test the capacity to understand the gist and a lot of details (a typical C2 level) from the Chinese spoken by the Chinese people in their ordinary life. The difference between a B2, a C1 and a C2 is made by the following elements:

B2 level: ability to understand the gist (both abstract and concrete concepts) of original materials in a range of topics listed in the guidelines for B2 (the topics are those typically covered by B2 textbooks such as Headway, English File, édito B2, Alter ego B2, Aspekte B2 etc.)

C1 level: ability to understand the gist and with some difficulties the majority of the most important details in a very broad range of topics (from science to history to new technologies)

C2 level: ability to understand the gist and without too much difficulties all the most important details in a very, very, broad range of topics

The HSK doesn't seem to test these abilities, the contents are not important: the HSK is just about testing your knowledge about different sentence patterns/grammar.

德语8000词B2.jpg

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XiaoXi

Not sure if anyone mentioned it (but I may have missed it since I didn't read every word in the thread) but I think the main difference with the HSK is there is no oral test. Well...there IS an oral test but it's separate. Therefore you can attain HSK 6 without taking the oral part of the test whereas for the CEFR tests you have to be tested orally pass the spoken part of the test. This seems to be common in China where their own English tests lack a spoken aspect. I doubt Koreans would fair so well in the Chinese tests if they had to do the spoken test. Especially if pronunciation was taken into account but I'm assuming it's not though.

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