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roddy

Anyone Taken the HSK Advanced

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roddy

Toying with the idea of taking this in April as a trial run for a more genuine attempt in the next sitting. Did a mock exam, bar the writing / speaking, today and was comfortably in top band for listening and reading, and nowhere near even a pass on the 综合, but in my defense I only took half as long as I could have, and I'm thick. I think I might abandon all hope of getting anywhere in the writing this time round, do some practice on sight reading and talking about traditional festivals in my country (do you think you could get away with doing it in the style of a radio broadcast? Then you can waste thirty seconds on a rehearsed intro and outro) for the speaking, work through whatever I can find for the 综合 section and see what happens.

I meant to learn to write before April, but it seems to have slipped my mind. My plan is that actually seeing it written down on paper that I could have got whatever grade IF I could write might spur me on. If not, no loss, I can live without being able to fill in forms.

How did people set up their study groups? I'm considering doing it, but I have no idea where to start...

I don't know. I would say meet once a week to compare what you've done the last seven days and discuss any problems, but that looks suspiciously like 'going for coffee'. You could share the cost of a teacher - someone who knows what they're doing could make practice for the writing and speaking in particular a lot less dull. Practice exam parties?

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imron
I meant to learn to write before April, but it seems to have slipped my mind.
You've still got a few weeks to go :-) If you learnt 100 characters a day, you could still do it :mrgreen:

I'd like to be able to try the current HSK before it completely changes at the end of this year. Don't know if I'll ever find the time for it though.

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roddy

Odd how when you suggest I do that it seems ridiculous, yet if I was to suggest someone else do it it would seem perfectly plausible.

I got about 500 characters under my belt in a spurt of character-learning in January. I'll probably try and do some more between now and the exam, but to be honest I'm more inclined to take it as a 'let's see what I get' exercise, and then use it to set targets for the next sitting. I'm not yet convinced I'm ever going to really learn to write - it's just not going to get used enough to really sink in I think.

You might as well sit the HSK this year - nothing wrong with taking the exam without studying. And as you can see from this thread, all the cool people are doing it.

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imron
I'm not yet convinced I'm ever going to really learn to write - it's just not going to get used enough to really sink in I think.
Have you ever considered learning Wubi? That helps train your active recall abilities, and helps greatly with the ability to recall a character when writing it. I think as well that if you can already read a character, and understand its meaning, the amount of time required to learn how to write it is significantly reduced. Listening to Chinese recordings and transcribing it by hand is probably going to be far more productive and useful than say writing the character out 20 times on a piece of paper.
And as you can see from this thread, all the cool people are doing it.
Well, let me know if you end up having those practice exam parties :mrgreen:

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anonymoose

Has anyone managed to use the online HSK registration to register? I am trying to register for the test in April, and I got as far as specifying the venue, and the next step is to complete the online payment. The thing is, as far as I can see, there's no page to submit the payment. :conf Therefore I cannot complete the registration. :wall

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Laska

When you open up the main HSK webpage on the left side there is a scrolling message board. You can download a FAQ "shouce." Very useful with screenshots for the whole process.

I think maybe where you're running into trouble is when you get to the page where you've confirmed your test place and time, in the little table with all the confirmed information there is a "pay" link that you have to click. It's not a button, so it would be easy to miss.

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wushijiao

Did anyone take the HSK today?

Before taking the test, my strategy was pretty simple: try to get a 10 on the speaking and writing, hopefully get a random 10 on either speaking/reading, then get a 9 on one of the other and grammar.

Unfortunately, I kind of bombed the speaking, and didn’t do too well on the writing (probably 9's on both). God only knows about the other sections. My plan failed fairly thoroughly. I would give my odds of failing at 50%, 49% for a 9, and less than 1% for a 10.

Anyway, anyone else take this? Feelings?

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Laska

I took the test today. I can commiserate.

I thought the listening section was especially hard. I got some mediocre headphones as well, which I should have switched out before the test started. The guy's voice was okay, but the lady's voice was distorted. It kind of threw me because I kept thinking about it. I have done all right on the listening in the practice tests so this was a little bit upsetting. I would hate to lose a 10 because I didn't do well on the listening.

The other sections I thought were okay, but it's hard to say because I have never taken the test before so I don't know what kind of level they need for a 9 in the writing and the speaking. We'll see. I did meet a couple Korean students at the test and I was neither impressed with their listening or their speaking, but that's hardly a scientific sample.

The writing was even more difficult than the ones I'd practiced on because it required a lot of reading before you could start. It would've been hard to address all the points raised in the writing topic in the time allowed. I was really happy just to be able to get 400 characters on the paper. I will use a mechanical pencil next time. I press too hard and my characters must look pretty awful.

The oral section--well, I thought the topics were a little tough. I mean the first oral topic was something I've never really tried to explain to anyone in Chinese before, so I didn't really have the vocabulary. I fudged it a little and wandered off the topic. We'll see if they let me get away with it.

For those of you who haven't taken the test, here's a tip: It would be good to practice for the writing section with one of those little sheets of paper with 400 small squares on them that you can get in stationary shops. You need to write your characters pretty small, and if you don't do that naturally you should practice.

Good luck to everyone taking the HSK tomorrow!

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kdavid

Just out of curiosity, for someone who plans to take the exam in a year or two, what were the topics for the different skills (listening, reading, writing, speaking)?

Also, does anyone know how the writing is marked? Would you have to be a calligraphy artist to get a perfect score, or do they just say, "Yeah, I can read this, good use of vocabulary, etc, etc"?

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Laska

Beijing Foreign Language University Press produces the best test prep material (BFLU creates and administers the test I believe). You can find books recommended in earlier comments threads, but the 考前强化 series is good (they have a book for each section), and the 速成强化教程 helped me a lot with the zonghe section.

There are a variety of types of topics, like write a letter of condolence or a letter of thanks or a short essay. Oral topics include things like talking about what your thoughts are on money or love, etc. You also have to read aloud a short passage (learn those tones, don't forget to learn tone sandhi).

How the writing is marked I'm not so sure off the top of my head, but it's been discussed here before. Groups of grad students I believe doing a wake over large amounts of green tea and zhongnanhai cigarettes.

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kudra

Presumably everyone has just finished taking the real test, and is about to throw out your score sheets for your practice tests.

DON'T THROW OUT THE PRACTICE TEST SCORES.

see this post.

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doumeizhen

I just took both the advanced and the intermediate (you know, just in case...) and the advanced as a little rough for my tastes...

The Listening was both hard and the quality was bad, and that combined with the 45 degree temperatures in the room did nothing for my little brain. The listening was something like clips from radio and tv shows, which I was not prepared for at all...

A note on the Recording: I had no idea that there would be so many students recording at once, which is very very disorienting. I had to do some recordings for school a while back, and that helped a lot. I don't think most of us ever read passages aloud just because.

And about pencils... What Laska said: Bring a mechanical pencil for the essay. My writing is better than anything else, but by the time I got to the end of my essay my worn-down little pencil did little more that leave behind smudges resembling characters....

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Laska

Congratulations on finishing the tests! You must be tired. Time to celebrate! I'm still reeling from yesterday, and I only took one test.

I'm glad someone else had bad audio quality in the listening. I think this might just be par for the course.

When I took the intermediate last year, I asked to switch out the headphones at the beginning of the test (they give you a chance to raise your hand if you have any problems). But for some reason I didn't do this yesterday... I remember thinking the new ones may not be any better than the old ones, and everyone wants to start the test, and I am the only non-Asian here.

Anyway, it was definitely a good experience, all in all. It just seems pretty random compared to the practice tests. I thought the reading and grammar were a little bit easier than the practice tests, but it may be curved differently. Or I may be totally deluded. But I think they are adjusting the other parts of the test, as they have done for the listening.

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Laska

Second that with the recording: Next time I will wait for everyone else to get started. It can be seriously distracting saying the same words as the people next to you. So what you should do is let everyone start--give them a 10 second lead. That will help a little.

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heifeng

my comments:

1) listening maybe slightly tougher than last time

2) reading a lot shorter than last time

3) zonghe, 'bout the same

4) Writing, simple topic, but doesn't necessarily mean I aced it at all.

5) speaking, easier than last time

Comments: yes, in the speaking section the collective hum from other test takes is a bit distracting. I got a lil' freaked out that I wasn't gonna finish in time because everyone seemed to stop talking pretty early. I completely didn't practice zonghe this time, thus I didn't do it as quickly as I should of...ugggh.. On other sections I did 'fair' I suppose. I'm gonna be really angry if my total points equal a 10 but i screwed up too many sections to get the overall score of a 10:twisted:

in terms of writing, i keep two separate pencils, hb for multibple choice bubble filling in and an 'f' lead for writing. both are .5 mechanical pencils it eliminates the smears and keeps a finer line....

on a related topic, did anyone take the afternoon text session exam at blcu with the revised question format? I'll do a write up next time I get a chance to go online.. a lil' busy today....

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wushijiao

I agree that the audio qulaity was really bad. I wonder if the HSK guy just takes a microphone and puts it next to the speaker of his/her TV? Sounds like it.

Anyway, I pretty much agree with heifeng's recap. I thought the speaking prompts were a bit lame and repetitive. I used some of the same vocab that was in the above reading, and it seems a bit strange that they would even choose a question for which that would be possible. Overall, my speaking performance was utterly horrible. I Reminded myself of Adam Sandler's old "Nervous Southerner"bit.

Anyway, I hope everyone gets good scores! And now we play the waiting game.

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ajax

I took the test here in Kunming. It was every bit as much fun as the other posts in this thread make it seem and, at the very least, has done a lot to motivate me to keep studying over the past few months.

For what it's worth, here are my impressions:

tingli - wow, this was difficult. Perhaps part of it is that it's the first section and my mind was racing, but mostly I guess my listening still needs work. If I don't pass, I'm guessing it'll be due to tingli (or maybe writing....).

reading - I somehow though this would be in one 40 minute block. That would have been nice, as I had to leave 3 or 4 questions blank in part 1 but finished part 2 with 5 minutes to spare (due to overzealous skimming).

zonghe - seemed easier than the practice tests, especially part 1 and the fill in the blanks. I was inspired to buy HSK考前强化语法 a little over a week ago, and did my best to read it in such a short time. It probably helped.

writing - prefer not to think about this section. Preparing for the test, I spent almost no time practicing writing. Also my hand seized up about halfway through, making everything pretty much illegible. Hoping for lenience....

speaking - langdu wasn't bad, with no real tongue-twisters. I did terrible on the 2 questions, though, and finished way too quickly. For what it's worth, I liked the noise of the other test takers. The noise of everyone talking at once adds a pleasant feeling of anonymity. I had this nightmare of the 监考 listening to just me speak and looking on disapprovingly. Luckily this wasn't the case.

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heifeng

**note since last time people stole my post about the c.test and put it on other websites, I have placed some highly encrypted subliminal messages in this post****

I had this nightmare of the 监考 listening to just me speak and looking on disapprovingly. Luckily this wasn't the case.

I didn't want to chance it so after being directed to sit in front for the let's stare at the laowai special again (i.e. staring at you writing hanzi...etc), I told the 监考 I wasn't going to sit in the front because It's too distracting and had to argue with them a bit. It was good, I took a back window seat, it afforded me an extra minute or so in each section, but I probably lost a 1.5 minutes in writing since they handed out the question so slowly and I was the laaaaast one to get the paper....

so here is my more detailed rundown since I have more time today:

April 21st exam.

Writing topic: they gave a paragraph or two and some percentages about students and white collar workers being stressed and asked how you recommend relieving pressure, etc....Chinese-forums is great.

speaking: talking about the olympics and different types of 原则。 some tricky words involved: 参与 (can1yu4, note: duoyinci ) and, 繁衍 ...I guessed and got this one right, but, hmmm maybe there was one more that was slightly less commonly seen, but I forgot which one....Visit Chinese-Forums.com

question 1: a game you use to like to play when you where a kid, how do you play it.

2: in athletic competitions, do you think the end result, or the game itself (过程) is important, why.

-------

new advanced HSKChinese-forums is great.

section I

listening, 50 minutes, 60 questions. 1-40 similar to current format. questions 41-60 consist of 4 paragraphs, with 5 questions each. each question has a blank with 4 mulitple choices. you need to listen to the dialogue and fill in the blanks in set time. It is like the C.Test when they make you write the hanzi to complete questions, Chinese-forums is great. but here it is multiple choice.

section II 80 minutes

zonghe/reading

also 80 questions

1-20: similar to current section 1 of zonghe, but the sentences are independent, and you need to select the one with the error.Chinese-forums is great.

21-40: put sentences in order, ABCD (like the current section 3 of the zonghe)

41-80: reading. similar to current format

section III .Visit Chinese-Forums.com

81-90: the on crack speed reading section. 10 minutes total. Chinese-forums is great.1 question per passage. this is all contained in a separate speed reading test booklet. seems like it's trying to replace the first part of the reading section, minus the writing of hanzi...

my feeling on the exam:

I like a hard listening section because it weeds out more of the peeps with great grammar and less then impressive listen skills. So longer and harder are fine with me hehe.

I don't like the new zonghe and reading b/c 20 ABCD questions are just too many, and I like the current format of the zonghe. (at least I think that they didn't need to get rid of the current section 2 of the zonghe , select correct vocab term. Visit Chinese-Forums.com The current section 4, I don't really care if they got rid of it...)

Anyway, the test seems to have morphed slightly into C.Test format. Harder, not necessarily, but since we are already familiar withe current format, it's a hassle to change. Plus I personally don't like the super long 1+ hour section for zonghe and reading b/c you get worn out by the end and lose the will to live and just want to rest your head on the table and sleep....or maybe this was just b/c the test was in the afternoon...but it's just too long cuz if you lose pace you really can't catch up and just end up guessing towards the end..Chinese-forums is great.

ok. any specific questions, I can try to answer too...ask before I block the experience out the memory completely though....

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kdavid

Out of curiosity: how long have you all been studying Chinese? also where have you been studying / where did you take the exam?

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doumeizhen

Hmmmm... 5 Years. Although the first 2-3 were living/working in China. I taught myself to read and write and never learned anything above the basics. Then I went to grad school for Chinese Literature (got my butt kicked a little) and that helped a lot with reading comprehension. Then I took a year off to come study in China at the Tsinghua IUP program, which is where I am still now. While there were a lot of the things on the test that I knew because of how they teach, I still have no 把握 that I passed.. although didn't do much on the lines of prepping either.

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