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roddy

Anyone Taken the HSK Advanced

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doraemon

Are you compared to test takers around the world or just the country you sat the test in? Because when I took the test in Sydney today there were only 8 people.:-?

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anonymoose
To get a 9, you'd need at least a 54-58 (scaled) score in each category. This is equivalent to the 60-70 percentile.

To get a 10, you'd need at least a 66-70 (scaled) score in each category. This is equivalent to the 85-90 percentile.

To get an 11, you'd need at least a 78-82 (scaled) score in each category. This is equivalent to the 96 to 98 percentile.

So what if you are in the 71-84 percentile range, or the 91-95 percentile range? Or is that supposed to mean that the minimum to get a 9 is somewhere in the 60-70 percentile range, and it varies from session to session?

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gato

It's the minimum ("at least"), though as Wushijiao pointed out in the thread, the numbers are approximations.

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doraemon

Oh my goodness...how much longer do I have to wait for those results? It seems like a month already!!! I don't think I could wait even another day!!!

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doraemon

Finally, after an interminably long wait (well, at least that's how long it felt to me), I finally got the results for the HSK Advanced test I took in October off www.chinesetesting.cn. Overall, I was ecstatic :clap but my appalling mark for speaking kind of blemished an otherwise near perfect result. My scores were as follows:

Listening: 98

Reading :90

Zonghe: 98

Writing: 95

Speaking: 69 (fail :wall)

Total: 450

Level: 高A (which I presume is an 11)

I'm really happy about my listening and zonghe marks. The preparation I put in (especially for zonghe) helped me a lot in terms of what kind of questions to expect.

Reading was the section I struggled the most with in terms of timing. I was lucky to even finish this section, let alone check all my answers. I still felt confident that most my answers were correct, even though I had to guess the last few.

I was actually quite surprised at my writing mark since I recall writing at least 2 错别字 and one sentence which didn't make sense due to incorrect expression. I've completed many practice papers, but I rarely ever attempt the writing section. I usually just have a look at the sample answers to get a general idea of what I'm supposed to write.

Speaking, well I knew I stuffed it up the moment I walked out of the exam room. I literally sped through the 朗读 section in less than a minute and for the two questions, I ran out of stuff to say after three or four sentences. I tried to compensate for my lack of content by repeating myself but then I found myself stuttering and in the end I just simply gave up trying (it only made everything worse:x). The language I used wasn't that complex either, and I couldn't come up with anything fancy due to a total mental blank. Part of the reason I epic failed was all thanks to my uncontrollable nerves, but I also must admit that speaking under exam conditions about a certain topic for three entire minutes isn't exactly my forte.

I suppose I can only blame myself for not performing well in this section, but halfway during my preparation an examiner came up to me and told me that my writing answer sheet has been misplaced and I would have to resit my writing exam after speaking fnished. I felt distraught after hearing this and although the exam paper was eventually found, it affected my performance to a certain degree.

I knew I did poorly after I finished but I didn't expect such a low mark. I asked the examiner for some feedback after everyone finished their speaking and he said something like "You're pronounciation and tones were impeccable, but yeah, it was a little short and I guess you needed to elaborate on your ideas a little more...but don't worry, you'll be fine". My mark of 69 came as quite a huge shock to me, but now I guess I know what I should be working on in the future- improving my ability to communicate ideas and thoughts under pressure (or even just having enough to say). It's not so much the technical aspects of the language, but more on how I should organise and articulate my ideas .

But I should look on the bright side though. I did achieve my wish of getting an 11! Yay! :clap Although I did have a major slip up, the experience I've gained from it is very valuable and hopefully, I can achieve a better result next time I take the HSK!:D

Edited by doraemon

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anonymoose

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that your overall grade could only be one higher than the grade of the lowest section. Now I'm not sure what that means if you fail a section, but surely the highest you can get overall will be 9?

Anyway, congrats on the other results. Did you find the listening a challenge in terms of remembering the content? Did you take notes during the listening? Last time I took the HSK, I felt I understood the listening quite well, but still had problems answering the questions, as I had forgotten a lot of the details by the time the questions came up.

Also, for the reading, did you read through the passages from beginning to end, or did you just scan for answers?

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renzhe

That was my impression as well.

If doraemon really got an 11 though, he/she would be the first active poster on here to do so, so congrats! :clap

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roddy

I think 'fail' was only the candidate's own subjective feeling - a 69 actually falls in to band B, not too shabby at all, and when combined with the other scores is nowhere near enough to deny him an A.

Those are some fine numbers, by the way. Good work!

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animal world

Very impressive, Doraemon, congrats with this fine performance! In your last post, you mentioned that the examiner rated your tones and pronunciation as impeccable. Care to tell us how long you have been studying Chinese and how long you've lived in a Mandarin-speaking environment? Thanks.

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doraemon

Thanks everyone! :D

I had a feeling as well that my 69 for speaking would cost me a level 11 regardless of how much higher the others were or what my total was, but apparently it showed 高 A on the website when I checked my scores. I was kind of bewildered as well, but I really hope that's also the grade which appears on my actual certificate when I receive it.

In terms of listening, yes, I did take notes during the recording. I don't bother trying to write down everything that's being said, it's too hard. What I tend to is that I keep my eyes fixed on the four options for each question and when I hear one of them being mentioned, I make a quick note beside it regarding what's being said about it. When I feel that this question's been covered completely, I move onto the next one and do the same.

For reading, I only scanned for the answers. There simply isn't enough time to read the entire passage. However, when I find the answer in the text, I usually read a few lines before and after the line with the answer in it just to make sure I don't miss out on anything important(it's happened to me a couple of times during my practice tests).

I've grown up in Sydney with Mandarin speaking parents and naturally, I would have to speak the language at home, but until about five or six years ago, I was never actually fluent. There have been many times when I would just stop halfway during a sentence because I didn't know how to put a certain expression into Chinese, and would then revert back into English. It's a really bad habit which developed overtime and eventually, I kind of stopped bothering communicating in Chinese and when I really had to, half of what I say would be in English. :tong When I went to China about six years ago, the language barrier stopped me from communicating freely with relatives and friends, and I would reply in English half the time when asked a question and my parents would have to translate for me. I also realised I could barely read anything in Chinese (street signs, newspapers, names of restaurants and department stores etc.) which was really frustrating and embarassing not knowing your own language. It was really then that I finally hardened my resolved to learn Chinese and wanted to be fluent and literate in the language someday.

So in terms of how long I've been officially studying Chinese, it's about five and a half years. I guess living in a Chinese environment helps a lot in terms of speaking with correct grammar and pronunciation, but I still had to start from a very basic level (I could only recognise about 500 characters back then, let alone write them). I would watch the same Chinese dramas over and over again until I could understand everything being said (took a couple of years). On average, I try to devote around 1 hour per day to learning Chinese, and I've never really stopped since then.

Edited by doraemon

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animal world

Thanks for sharing your story, Doraemon. I'm glad you fully embraced also the language component of your heritage and am sure it could come in very handy.

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roddy
I had a feeling as well that my 69 for speaking would cost me a level 11 regardless of how much higher the others were or what my total was, but apparently it showed 高 A on the website when I checked my scores. I was kind of bewildered as well, but I really hope that's also the grade which appears on my actual certificate when I receive it.

There's a chart here where you can see what the numbers for each section translate to in terms of a grade.

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kdavid

So, it is possible. A big congratulations to you. :clap

Have you posted about your study techniques on the forum elsewhere? I'd love to read about how you prepared as this is a long-term goal of mine.

Reading posts like Wushijiao's are great motivation, and I'd like to hear how your prepared for this.

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doraemon

In regards to my preparation for the HSK, well...I didn't have much of a study technique really. My preparation didn't really begin until about three weeks before the actual HSK test, since I spontaneously decided to take it on the last day of application. I was planning to hone my Chinese language skills a little further (especially in writing and speaking) and take it in 2010, but somehow I didn't in the end. Therefore, my preparation was really rushed and I devoted about 3-4 hours a day studying for it. Basically, just keep doing practice questions off an HSK revision guide or something.

The preparation I did was mostly for reading, which basically involved doing A LOT of practice tests. Initially, I found the 高等 reading quite diffcult in comparison with the 初中等 reading section. In order to familiarise myself with these questions I spent a lot of time just reading the passages and looking up words I didn't know in the first week. I did try to do the questions, but getting them correct wasn't really my focus. I didn't really get through much questions anyway, since I spent so much time trying to analyse the texts.

In the second week, I actually began to do questions but that was after reading the passages. Third week, I worked on practising my scanning ability (not reading the passages word by word) and finally in the last few days, doing questions under exam conditions. It was really annoying not being able to finish the reading section on time, and I was actually quite fortunate to pull through in the actual exam. To me, preparing for reading is an extremely tedious, repetitive and frustrating task, but I think most test takers would leave ample time to prepare and wouldn't have to rush it like I did.

Listening was probably the easiest section for me. I just worked on my exam technique by making quick notes next to the options for each question since it's hell of a lot easier than trying to write everything down. Sometimes I feel that the conversations are a lot easier than those long passages, so I don't pay enough attention to them. Ironically, I make fewer mistakes listening to the long, harder passages- probably because I'm more alert. Part of the listening exam is also based on common sense, as there are some answers which you know cannot be right. This helped me with my guessing ability if I got really stuck. Also, this is probably bad advice, but if the question asks for the relationship between the two people in a conversation (there's always one man, one woman), 9 times out of 10 the answer is "夫妻". That's the impression I got from all those questions I did.

Zonghe I feel requires doing stacks and stacks of questions. There's virtually no other way (please correct me if I'm wrong). Overtime, you'll automatically know which words to use to fill in the gaps or which line has incorrect grammar in it. Sometimes when people ask me how I knew a particular answer was correct, I tend to reply- "It just sounds right". The answers in the book give a clearer explanation.

I really had to cram a lot of new vocabulary (especially descriptive phrases and sophisticated expressions) before the exam for writing. I didn't really spend too much time on this section though, it's not something you can improve in a such a short amount of time. I didn't bother attempting the exercise questions either. I simply looked at the sample answers and got a general idea of what to write about and crammed any vocabulary which I felt I might need for that particular topic. Poor technique, but it works if you don't have much time to prepare. The only real way to improve your writing is by reading a lot. There's only so much they can ask you to write though... the texts types usually include some form of letter (e.g. personal letter, thankyou letter, job application etc.), recount of an event, description and the slightly harder ones which require you to formulate your own opinion on a particular issue. The question I received in the HSK was quite straight-forward- a simple recount.

Speaking is the same as writing, you need to improve your vocabulary overtime so eventually, you'll be able to use articulate yourself using sophiscated expressions from the top of your head. However, much of this section requires you to have a lot of stuff to talk about and the ability to organise your ideas in a clear, logical manner. This is the part which let me down. If you can do this, then even if your Chinese isn't that fluent, I still think you'll get a decent mark. Just make sure you say as much as you can before the examiner cuts you off.

As you can see, my preparation techniques for the HSK aren't exactly inspiring, but hopefully it can help someone out there! :mrgreen:

However, I still think the best way of achieving a good result in the HSK is to improve your Chinese over the long term by grasping and accumulating new knowledge everyday as opposed to relying on the short-term methods I used.

Edited by doraemon

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kdavid

How is the oral component organized? Are you given time to prepare, or are you given a topic to speak about on the spot, and then have to improvise? Is it a conversation with the examiner, or are you just expected to talk non-stop for a few minutes?

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roddy

Two sections - first you read a passage out aloud. Second you talk for a certain length of time (two minutes? Three?) on a given topic. Back when I took it it was something like 'if you could move to a deserted island, what would you take and what would you do with your time.'

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doraemon

The speaking exam lasts for 20 minutes- 10 min to prepare and 10 mins to do the actual exam. It consists of a passage which you have to read aloud, and then two questions which you answer in Chinese. No conversation is made with the examiner during the course of the exam. It is recommended that you divide up your time as follows:

2 minutes for the reading aloud section

3 minutes for question number 1

3 minutes for question number 2

It's best to make valuable use of this time and say as much as you possibly can, but try not to get cut off by the examiner. Also, don't make the same mistake I did by finishing in less than five minutes.

The questions I got were something along the lines of:

1) What defines a good student?

2) Which one would you prefer to work for- a large company or a small company?

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BaiMaWangZi

Well, I was finally able to look up my results online today:

听力 67

阅读 64 =/

综合 71

作文 71

口试 81

总分 354 ©

So yeah, I passed but I'm still pretty annoyed. If I got another 2% (one question) in reading or 3% in listening then I would have a B. Sigh.

The hardest section for me is listening, so I was actually quite pleased with that result. I knew I got killed in the reading, but in the practice exams I usually scored 70+ for that section so I'm pretty disappointed with a 64.

Massive props to doraemon for achieving a score that I would consider impossible. I would love to know how you managed to get a 90 in reading. The questions that always screw me up are the ones which require you to search in several different paragraphs, like "according to the passage, which of the following is true?" or "how many X are mentioned throughout this passage?" I just can't figure out a way to answer this type of question within a minute...

If anyone is interested, the questions in the test I did were:

Writing: Why do people change? Do you think it is a product of their environment or driven by the person themselves?

Speaking: 1) Describe a memorable shopping experience

2) Do you agree with the phrase "严师出高徒"? Why/why not?

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doraemon

Well done, BaiMaWangZi! That's a very respectable result. Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get a B next time based on this fine performance, or maybe even an A! :wink:

Anyway, about the reading component. Although it's not my weakest section, it's definitely not my strongest either. I try to find a right balance between consistency and speed, but out of all the practice tests I did, I only finished this section on time once and only just as well (that was because I saved time since couldn't be bothered using an answer sheet which takes about 3 seconds to colour in properly). I was actually quite surprised with my reading score since I had to guess the last few questions but I suppose I got a bit lucky this time and got most of my other ones correct. I was expecting something in the mid 80's.

Regarding the question "which of the following is true according to the passage", I simply read each option, and look for a sentence that's identical to it in the passage. If the option shows the same sentence as the one in the text, I assume its the correct one. It's basically trying to scan for the answer and not actually reading the passage properly. Although it's quite an effective exam technique for me, I still tried to work on improving my vocabulary and comprehension skills prior to the exam, although I didn't have much time). For the "how many X are mentioned throughout the passage" questions, well... to be honest, I leave them till last since you really have to spend time on this type of question. I don't exactly remember getting one like that in the HSK exam though...

By the way, your writing and speaking questions were quite hard compared to mine. Your writing topic would've caused me some panic since you have to get all philosophical and use examples to back up your ideas. Also, I can't remember a time when shopping was actually memorable for me, so yeah...I wouldn't have done too well in that question either. :D

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chrix

This is all pretty impressive what y'all have done. :clap Depending on the results of the intermediate HSK I took in November, I might try to sit for the Advanced HSK next year.

So let me ask y'all a simple question about the speaking part: is the focus on pronunciation, like tones etc., or more towards grammar, or more towards you being able to utter coherent thoughts?

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