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Dummy HSK Questions


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OK, not really questions but assumptions. I have searched the Internet and I assume (although I'm still practicing on penciled-in answer sheets) that:

-the official HSK is administered by 国家汉办 (? not sure- but they seem to distribute official exam papers for practice) and it is what I need to pass to get into grad school (usually this means Level 6 though there are exceptions)

-there are no Levels 7, 8, or god forbid 9

-the HSK is now computerized and I will not be taking a paper test.

-that the terminal will be controlled by the administrator

-that I cannot use a dictionary during the test (duh) and that I will not have access to one on the computer

-however, during the writing part I will have the advantage of being able to choose typed popup characters rather than relying totally on memory (I assume there is no pad for input though in case you remember the strokes but forget the sound)

-that there is now a speaking section, but I am not assuming that it is mandatory

Is all of this correct? Thanks!

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the HSK is now computerized and I will not be taking a paper test.

Both written and computerized tests are available. I think written are still more common, however, the number of computer centres seems to be growing slowly.

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I'm not sure about the advanced HSK levels, but in levels 1-3 there is no speaking section.

There is the "Oral test" , that's a whole independent test. It's called HSK口试 and comes in 3 levels: 1. 初级, 2. 中级, 3. 高级

To the rest: yes - yes - yes ... and as Chttay said, the paper test is more common, and I guess it will still be for the next couple of years. But I'm purely guessing on that. I find it hard to imagine Hanban equipping every test center on this planet with 40+ computers - but who knows :wink:

I have no idea how the writing on the computer will be. Maybe search a bit, I think I read some here saying they already took the computer exam.

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Ruben, from the materials I've had, that sounds right about no speaking section for 4, 5, or 6 either (not to mention the phantom 9!). And I too have heard the test referred to as the HSK口试, which does imply a separate test. My question then would be: who's it for? and most importantly, will I have to take it for grad. school? I would think not but sounds important.

Now that I know that the written is still going strong, I suppose I will have to investigate and see the months next year that I'll be able to take it and try to determine from there if I can choose which one (written or computer) I want to take. I'm used to the written form, as that's what I'm practicing with. However, don't people who take the computerized form have an unfair advantage on the writing section? Keyboard input would certainly be a lot easier for me for writing characters.

Does anybody know if there are computerized practice tests (preferably official) available on cd-rom's or downloadable? I'm a firm believer in practicing tests (with time limits, no distractions, and of course no cheating) as much as you can under similar conditions before the real test. If you practice only the written and suddenly take the computer test, it may just throw you a curve.

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You have probably seen a phantom 9 around, because the old HSK, before 2012(?), used to have many more 级s. But it's been re-designed. Still you may find hsk vocabulary lists around that refer to the old system. So when you download a vocab list or mock test*, watch out for the small printed.

I don't know in what positions they would ask you for the 口试, and I wonder if anyone on here has ever taken it. I have the official syllabus for the three oral levels here, but my Chinese is still so pathetic :oops: otherwise I'd read the introduction and tell you if it says who they aim at

I'm 150% positive the one you need to take for uni admission is the written one though.

Don't know if the writing would be with pop-up or via a pad and pen, but there should be another advance about the computerised test:

I find you waste a lot of time when you transfer your answers to the pink check-box-paper, and for nervous people (like me) it's a potential source of error.

*PS - last time I searched for mock tests, around June this year, all that came up were the paper tests.

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Wow, nine levels. I wonder who came up with that criteria. For me, I don't really understand why anyone would take 1 or 2- they could just study on their own after all. 3 is motivating and passing it you can kinda see the light at the end of a very long tunnel. 4 is a lot tougher than I thought with lots of new vocabulary and complex grammar, and 5 and 6 define literacy and proficiency in Chinese. Most uni's require 6, but in reality it seems you can at least get enrolled with 5. From there you probably have to take 6 the next time around and I'd assume you'd want to for your credentials if nothing else. With one shot before registering, I might just go for 5- I got ten months and at the moment can pass three every time but not easily. I cannot pass 4 but I think that will be a big breakthrough once I do. I'm glad I don't have to worry about 9. I also note that 4, 5, 6 only require a score of 60% to pass.

I agree about the computer exams. I think you're bound to score higher. Answer sheets are clumsy and prone to errors. The swinging of your head and eyes is distracting and marking wastes time. I would reckon an average 5 point markup at least on the computer exam and therefore I will try to get a computer exam. Hopefully we'll get some practice materials from Hanban soon. I'll report on it.

I looked up the HSK口试 but I couldn't find anything on who's required to take it. I'm sure none of the uni's I've looked into are asking for it, so until I hear I won't worry about it. I doubt that anyone at 5级 living in China would have any trouble speaking anyway.

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I agree about the computer exams. I think you're bound to score higher. Answer sheets are clumsy and prone to errors.

I can confirm this. I stuffed up during my listening section - I went to the right instead of down the answer sheet, and didn't realise until a few minutes later. (You can read about my experience here.) Rubbing this out and moving the answers to the correct section took up valuable listening and comprehension time. So I'm sure the computer exam is a tad easier. But the computer exam also doesn't require you to actually *write* characters, which some people argue makes the entire exam bogus.

I doubt that anyone at 5级 living in China would have any trouble speaking anyway.

Really? My understanding was there were plenty of foreigners (Japanese, Korean and white people alike) who read and write Chinese very well but could barely speak it. This would mirror what we see in English testing - non-native speakers being able to score 7 and 8 in IELTS listening and reading, but barely able to hold a conversation with a native speaker.

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Yes, you're right on both points. As for speaking, having taught college English in both in Japan and China for so long this should have been a no brainer for me. So it seems I was speaking for myself, but I must admit that my verbal skills lag way behind my ability to read and take a long long time indeed to catch up. However, personally, it would drive me nuts to learn a language without being able to speak it, even if my grammar was still horrible (that describes some of my better English students). Also, I have heard that the writing test in HSK is pretty lenient, so I would expect the 口试 is probably similar. Otherwise very few would pass!

With all the digital interfaces available now, it must be hard for new learners of characters to learn writing. It was hard enough way back when, when I studied 'Japanese characters' (actually written 漢字, which is an accurate description) using a mechanical pencil, flashcards, and an eraser. With the advent of first the word processor and then the personal computer, and finally the smartphone, heaps of Japanese are forgetting how to write heaps of characters, even some of the basic ones. I don't how the situation in China where there is no syllabary to back up on- you can't just write pinyin lol, and I do see many Chinese people using trackpads to write. I would think writing characters to be much harder to forget. In any case, I don't think it makes the test bogus, but it does make the writing section considerably easier no doubt. I 'try' to use trackpads instead of pinyin to input characters when I write but usually don't because I'm too lazy, dislike switching back and forth between inputs, and I feel like when using trackpads that it takes twice as long.

Well I'm rambling but I think writing ability is an important topic. All I can say is that there are ~214 radicals in Chinese and if you know those well, you can remember how to write any character no matter how complex or unusual.

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All I can say is that there are ~214 radicals in Chinese and if you know those well, you can remember how to write any character no matter how complex or unusual.

What about 囊? Or 嚏? Knowing radicals goes a long way, but not all the way.

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