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Anyone Taken the HSK Advanced


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wiley, i am glad that a fellow 欧美学生 managed to get so high a result at only a second attempt! otherwise only koreans are likely to discuss 高级 exam, and i somehow feel it's not fair, i mean, we are not worse and/or stupider. though, i think, bit less hard working :)

when i took the test in the 教二楼 (i think) of BLCU, there were only two 欧美学生, and when i signed up for HSK, i saw one more 欧美学生 from our university applying.

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Great write up, Wiley. Amazing result as well! I hope to get a 9 next time (or the time after that), and eventually get a 10. I think an 11 would be close to impossible (more than two standard deviation away from the mean), but if you get an 11 on the next try, I’ll make a small shrine to you! :mrgreen:

Lau or Wiley, do you mind if you ask how good your writing is? I’m trying to figure out how much to emphasize writing. I think my horrible score on the reading may be due to poor writing on questions 1-15. Of course, writing also comes into play in the 综合 and writing sections. Any advice you have would be appreciated.

(In any case, it’s obvious that I need to strengthen my overall Chinese ability if I’m going to pass).

I took the test at Jiaotong, and it seemed to me that the officiating was basically perfect. Also, I took the 初中 that same weekend, and one of the examiners had a big pair of cojones as he took the test booklet away from a Korean who was threatening him with violence. So, I have to say that I was fairly impressed with the quality of officiating in Shanghai. But if you notice examiners not doing anything while people are blatantly cheating, then you might consider notifying the HSK people so that they’ll be more strict last time. I think cheating on this sort of curved test is 100% unacceptable.

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Congratulations to all of you. It gives me a lot of encouragement to take the test in the Autumn this year.

You guys face a huge disadvantage in the reading compared to the Japanese, and quite a big one compared to the Koreans. Having a good knowledge of Japanese, I was able to get a 97 on the intermediate HSK reading section last year, whereas some of my other scores were in the 70s - 80s if I remember rightly. Based on this, I think I may be able to get a level 10. It is worth a go.

I was shocked to read that they give a minimum pass to all the participants in the writing section - this may be my saviour! I rely on word processors / mobile phone for writing in Chinese and Japanese, and the thought of writing a whole essay in the blasted things fills me with dread.

It is a shame about the management of the exam. The lax attitude devalues its worth and can be improved so easily. :(

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I wouldn't necessarily put all your hopes on that writing minimum pass rumor. I type in Chinese everyday (but I'll admit l actually lift a pencil to write very infrequently) and managed 9 and 10's on the advanced exam in everything except writing. My writing score....

drum roll please

a 40!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

this is a valuable lesson to myself and maybe others to actually practice writing (for the exam) more frequently and make sure you absolutely do not 跑题 ......*sigh*

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i have to disagree with what my wudaokou teacher said about giving minimum passing score to everybody as well. cause though this is what i got, but my korean classmate failed the writing part, and i still cannot imagine why.

my writing is more or less ok, if i am typing. grammar is ok, i try to add a chengyu or two to any essay, but HSK requires two things i cannot manage: too many characters in a time too short for even figuring out what it is exactly that i am trying to say, and no computer-aided help in remembering which "di" is "daodi" de "di" or how the hell do you write "jixu". so, no 10 and no 11 for me, ever.

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  • 4 months later...

So as of today at least we can acess our 10/15 grades online. This time my writing didn't suck as bad (refer to previous rant above from last exam), but I still just scraped by....

Listening 77 B

Reading 54 C

Zonghe 67 B

Writing 58 C

Speaking 63 C

Total 319 ©

I think that my results were basically what I expected after taking the exam. Before the exam I was hoping (sigh) for a 10, aiming for a 75 in each section, but that was just my trying to stay optimistic since except for my writing my results were better last last time. My speaking really sucked on this exam, but I would like to contribute this (partially) to the fact I was sick, nasal, and full of phlegm that day (yeah, it wasn't a pretty sight...) and I kinda of just gave up of exhaustion after 2 minutes into the last question (yes, but reflecting on this sad score, there a are definitely areas I can improve on...and NOT misreading 吹笛 for 吹萧 would probably be a start next time if that passage would ever happen to pop up again...anywhere....hahahha).... I guess if I really practice my reading and speaking and writing more I can hope for a 10 by April. Man, that reading was tough though, I'm still a bit tramatized....I'm just happy I squeaked by since I know I didn't finish a few questions ...

Ok, hopefully this still offers encouragement for the non-asian crew who actually takes the advanced HSK!!

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Congrats Heifeng! Not what you were hoping for, but still good!

By some amazing luck, I got a C as well. :D

Listening- 47 (almost DQ-ed)

Reading- 54 ( C)

Zonghe- 42 (almost DQ-ed)

Writing- 65 ©

Speaking- 75 (B)

Total- 283 (flying in beneath the radar for a weak C)

Looks like the writing and speaking saved me. I really thought I'd be in the C to B range for the Zonghe, and I thought my reading was horrible enough to disqualify me. I guess it just shows that because the test is graded on a curve, it is a bit hard to translate post-test feelings into actually scores.

I'll try for a 10 next time.

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Well, I guess all the torture pays off after a while! Congrats congrats! I guess we can relax a bit until April, we'll accept nothing less than 10's then, right (and then we can apply for Korean companys, haha)?!!

( I'll update you as to the C-test result next, I'm interested to see how I scored on that since I can now use the Advanced HSK as a comparison for the difficulty of the C-test...one part of the C-test listening was really tricky)

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I’ve spent a few days trying to process the results of this test. So, I thought I’d write a little bit about my reactions to the test and the steps I feel I need to take in order to improve, mainly to help me figure it out, but also because I really gained a lot from reading earlier posts (by wiley, angelskates, heifeng, lau…etc)


This is the section of the test that I have consistently done the worst on. However, it is the section of the test that I am the most optimistic that I can improve on. I really think it would be good to listen to more news. I have also thought that I might find some short stories and have my wife read them at an amazingly fast pace on tape in order to help me prepare for this section.


The difficulty in the section comes from 1) Speed. I think most test taker could get most of the answers if given an unlimited time frame. The speed kills. 2) The lack of sequencing. The questions aren’t listed chronologically in reference to the reading. 3) The difficulty. Especially this last time around, I was blown away by the complexity in tone, vocabulary, and almost specialized/jargonish quality of the texts. This, I feel, is one of the biggest differences between the Elem/Int test. The readings in that test are much more straight-forward, like articles from a newspaper. I think to improve on this section, obviously I need to improve my speed reading and scanning abilities (the “where’s Waldo” ability). But I think it is also necessary to push the limits on reading complex tests that are dense with background knowledge and tone (such as sarcastic disagreement) and the like. Whoever said they stick to a predetermined vocab list was also sadly mistaken. I think the textbook I bought about science will also help for this section.


I was shocked to find out how poorly I did here. I think this is mainly an issue of doing a ton of mock tests. I also missed two characters in the “fill in the blank” section that I was 100% sure I knew were right, but couldn’t remember how to write. :wall But that can be solved by…


Improvement here mainly stems from doing the hours and hours of character writing. Like many other Westerners who can write semi-proficiently on a cell phone or PC, this section just requires the rote learning to be able to make sure you can write the characters by hand that you can write by computer. A solid base in writing also pays off massively in the Reading and Zonghe.


I think I can consolidate my B, but will be unlikely to get an A, unless I magically become a master at tones.

Overall, I think my strategy to get a 10 will be to get B’s in the writing, speaking and then hopefully in either the reading/listening. Then I could afford a C in the Zonghe, and a C in one of the other reading/listening sections (although I’d hope for better, of course).

Unlike last time, I think I will try to do a ton of mock tests. As many as possible. I’ll also join a class. At the very least, I think preparing for this test is useful in many other ways.

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However, it is the section of the test that I am the most optimistic that I can improve on.

Yes, I think this is the easiest thing to improve on-- I don't think you will have a problem here next time at all=)


Are you sure you didn't answer the questions for one of the sections in the wrong order here? I did that and was only able to change the sequence of all of them by the skin of my teeth!!

Speaking: I think that my tones are killing me on that langdu section...my teacher confronted me (just this Friday) on this after discovering I was on of the students he graded on the speaking portion of a practice exam!! (Lucky for me he's one of the few teachers I know who tells it like it is and will tell you, you better fix this!!! ) Is it just me or is it amazing how tones can get even worse when reading something other than just speaking in generall...hmm...

Writing: Yeah....I don't know where to start on this section, my achilles tendon....I just need to force myself to write more more more!!!!!

My conclusion after this exam is that

Zonghe & Listening are also probably the easiest to improve (after coming to China due to the environment and resources/cram classes)...I think the other three require some serious drilling!! In addition to the having an actual goal and way to measure our progress this exam is also very good at humbling us too! haha :D

Where we the only ones on this board to take the exam this time???

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Zonghe: Are you sure you didn't answer the questions for one of the sections in the wrong order here?

No, I'm pretty sure that I just didn't do all that well here. The funny thing is, I basically completed the "Brush Up for HSK Grammar" book, and I felt like I did well in this section, post-test. I suppose the competition on the curve also hurts me on this section. Like I said, I think really focusing on writing skills will help prevent a disaster in this section next time.

As far as the langdu in the speaking, that part kills me as well. Luckily, I knew all the characters in this reading (and the in the last test as well). One big fear in this section is for them to pop in some rare words/characters that I wouldn't know.

I think I did much, much better on the two speaking questions. Since I taught IELTS prep for three years, I know how boring it can be to listen to the standard blah answers all day long. So I tried my best to think of the most creative things to say on the two questions.

this exam is also very good at humbling us too!

Hehe. Very true. I think it also forces you to expand past your comfortable shell of Chinese. I tend to always read the same type of books/newspapers, talk to the same people...etc. The test forces you to focus on areas that you may not care for.

Where we the only ones on this board to take the exam this time???

It seems so. Maybe there were a few others who haven't reported back yet, I hope so. I'd love to hear any other points of view about this test. :D

Heifeng, just out of curiosity,do you know anyone who has an 11? :conf

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Nope, I personally do not know anyone who has an 11! However, one of my former classmates was pretty close to an 11 (and not huaqiao) . (if she took any practice exam, she would get an 11, but in the actual exam she didn't quite get the 11 I think...)

Anyway, she did have very impressive Chinese. She was a Korean international student and was about to graduate from undergrad in Korea but came to Beijing for one year to improve her Chinese since she had already passed all of her English proficiency exams. ( I didn't even realize she spoke such fluent English until right before she went home and could bust out the English Karaoke with practically zero accent, very impressed that she was so good in both languages!) Overall, I think she was an example of someone who had a strong language ability and the "right personality" for learning languages: good student, read broad range of material and read very frequently, good at preparing for standardized tests, but also VERY good at talking to people! Any other foreigners that I may know with better Chinese (but never asked them about their HSK) have been in China for several years!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I recently bought 3 sets of past papers for the HSK Advanced. I have tried the Zonghe, and think I could pass that. But the Tingli was difficult for me, not because I could not understand enough, but because I could not remember the info for the answers. If there is a 3 minute conversation talking about Mr Zhang Mr Li and Mr Zhao and I understood it all, when I came to read the questions, I could not remember which was which. I got a Chinese friend to do the test and he had the same problem, and could only do it by taking extensive notes during the conversations. You can't go back and listen one more time you see. I have got a feeling I might not get any certificate next April and if I do it will be a 9 and the uppere levels are some years off...

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You need to write notes next to the ABCD answer choices as you are listening. Also when you are listening to the instruction for that section you need to hurry and scan all the answer options in the listening section so that you KNOW what to listen for when that question comes around...Also on the actual test booklet the front and back cover of the exam is partially transparent so you can also scan through the visible questions and start memorizing...

However, even if you understood it, if you can't recall it with the correct details no one really knows if you understood it...right? Hence, this is why the listening portion is very tricky...they set little traps in case you didn't retain those vital lil' details...

Oh, yeah, I am not sure if this was already discussed but the advanced exam is supposedly going to undergo some changes to

1) Make tingli harder/faster (oh yeah)

2) Zonghe might require writing sentences a la C.Test style

3) Kouyu questions might be slightly different.

Anyway this is according to my buxi ban instructor and apparently they KNOW these type of things....

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Great discussion going on here about the Advanced HSK. I am getting ready to take this next year and all of your input is awesome. Two questions,

For American employers, does the HSK mean anything to them if you already have a Superior on the ACFTL? After going through a round of job interviews I think for companies in China, work experience in Chinese means alot more to them a test score. In one case I had to do an on-spot translation of a news article for a Public Relations firm, another company had me translate a news article for them (verbally, but very laid back.) At that point I didn' thave any formal qualifacations and they didn't require anything else. The end result was a job offer from both.

My point here could be, besides a personal crusade to get a high grade onthe HSK, I think a better investment could be to find a good internship or job that requires the use of Chinese, boost your experience and work from there.

Is ANYONE aware of a 欧美生 that has scored an 11?

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My point here could be, besides a personal crusade to get a high grade onthe HSK, I think a better investment could be to find a good internship or job that requires the use of Chinese, boost your experience and work from there.

I totally agree.. HSK is just a way to guage progress really. No American company I am familiar with has even known what the HSK is. In my personal experience with (Chinese) companies, they get a good idea of language ability just from talking to you for a while or over dinner/ lunch.....etc HSK is just fun in a twisted way if you want a personal goal for studying Chinese...

Is ANYONE aware of a 欧美生 that has scored an 11?

I don't...

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