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roddy

Anyone Taken the HSK Advanced

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heifeng

here

is another thread where some of us talk about our Chinese studying backgrounds. I took the HSK at BLCU, thus was one of the very few people that were guinea pigs after the first exam to test out the revised exam (not that many people showed up this time, maybe b/c of the online registration...who knows). In general the test is administrated quite well there. The only complaint I have is that my friend, unlike me, apparently was assigned to a really nice language lab at BLCU and their tape recorders showed the recording time, which would have been nice to use to check our time for the spoken section.

Not to find excuses, but little differences like this can make a few points difference....but they are getting rid of the levels soon anyway....

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heifeng

Update, so our scores are suppose to be available online at the end of this month, and for pick-up after the 13th of June.:oops: I'm going to start stocking up on ice cream....ahh meng niu cui pi cao mei xuegao...the comfort food of choice..

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Laska

my comfort food of choice too...

by the way, what did you say to convince the proctors to move you away from the front row? Just curious how you handled it... I had played that scenario over in my mind trying to think of something graceful, and it wasn't easy. :-)

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heifeng

I was just polite but persistent.

I just said I don't like to sit in the very front seat. Then they said that they already had arranged the seating, which I thought was odd since I thought they should just do it based on when students walk in, so if worse came to worse I could have just made a point of that they shouldn't throw me in the front based on some random reason. I was basically willing to wait them out to see if they really really wanted to force me in the front seat by adding that I would just enter the room later on after all of the front row seats where taken then. I guess my continuing to argue just made them want me to sit down anywhere, so then I walked towards the back and got my window seat with the fresh air and the birds chirping.

If persistence didn't work I was going to have to make more of a scene or whine. I just really hate siting in the front with a passion. All that wispering amongst the procters is worse then someone just talking at a regular volume....

Did you get thrown into a front seat?

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Laska

I was lucky with my seat but I'm always amazed at what people get away with. The guy next to me kept writing his essay for what seemed like about a minute after the jiankao laoshi called time, at least 15 seconds of which was spent while another proctor politely waited in front of him. The jiankao laoshi seemed to think that everyone was always working after he said stop anyway, so he might as well call time 30 seconds to 1 minute early on every section. And every HSK I've been to the headphones are bad. Most people who have grown up in Chinese cities are basically deaf, I've realized. The volume gets turned way too high, and the headphones are all shot.

About 700 meters away from my house is a kindergarten. Every morning when they play the warm-up music and national anthem, I can clearly hear every word and normal talking volume with my glass windows all shut. But those kids are standing right in front of the loudspeakers. That's when it all starts.

But the test was a great experience. It's really helped me focus my Chinese study. And though I'd design it differently, I thought it was actually a challenging test, which feels good. Worthy of preparing for, if you know what I mean.

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Laska

For one thing, the test forces you to learn to write fluently, which actually has massive benefits for everything else, but I wouldn't probably take writing as seriously if not for the test. Now I get up every morning and do dictation, and it feels really good to be working for even development between reading/writing. Also, it helps a lot with the tones and with memory of collocations. I think my speech has been getting more fluent since I started trying to keep a diary. In writing you have to express your thoughts precisely and pay attention to vocab and grammar.

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heifeng

Anyone have any thoughts on the elimination of the langdu section for the spoken portion of the exam?

-pro-

I think it makes it more of a 'practical' exam since i've never had to langdu anything in english since the 9th grade....and never in Chinese other than HSK prep class, so that's a big plus. this change probably benefits oumei students a bit more since now there is even listening involved in the spoken section now. I guess it is a step in the right direction and makes the HSK a slightly more useful exam for measuring someone's true communication ability in Chinese.

-con-

I credit the langdu portion of the exam with (1. holding back by score, but more importantly) making me focus on tones more. I often get told by people ( the fairly honest and direct ones at least) that pronunciation-wise my speaking is fine but I need to continue work on my tones since they are not quite 'daowei'. Thus, during my last year+ in China I went through a ton of langdu practice exams. This really increased my vocabulary and helped me get a much better grasp of the tones and speak more naturally. I think that I did make some good progress in this area and this has probably been the most beneficial part of the HSK in my book.

con 2: we would actually have to spend money to buy revised edition books and tapes:tong

Overall, I guess I'll miss the langdu a little bit. Iit was a lil' evil and useless in the whole testing scheme, but it was a good way of forcing me to work that particular problem area...Since the exam doesn't have great name recognition outside of universities or Korea, I really just used it to evaluate myself. Now with the langdu gone, it's basically one less way for me to diagnose my own problems.

Maybe with the thousand and one new exams they are introducing, they can make a putonghua pronunciation exam for foreigners like they have for teachers. This way we can continue to be obsessive about eliminating our accents.:mrgreen:

Anyway, change is inevitable and sometimes even good. I am not feeling particularly motivated to take the HSK much anymore. I think they need to figure out what they are really doing with this exam, boost it's recognition in China at least, and then they may recapture my interest.

by the way, i guess the advanced exam scores are really are going to take until june 10th...a certain office really needs to lube up the hamster wheels and get a move on it....so I can get a free meal out of this by working the pity angle or the congratulations angle....wahahaha

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heifeng

chengji chu lai le!!!!!

you can now ignore my rant above!

So, apparently studying for the HSK actually helps, here is my score for the most recent exam 4/21/07

(plus my scores from 6 months ago in paranthesis)

Listening (77) / 78

Reading (54) / 69

Zonghe (67) / 65

Writing (58 ) / 84

Speaking (63) / 81

total (319) / 377

Certificate level 10 or an Advanced B certificate

but now i'm a lil' peeved I just didn't push myself to get an A! ahhh never satisfied....but at least I could potentially get hired by a Korean company hahahah j/k

In hindsight, it is very clear I didn't study for zonghe at all this time (in fact I didn't even finish and had to fill in c for almost 10 questions!!)...but apparently being really really anal with tones for once ...(actually I mean for the first time ever) actually paid off, and I am happy my writing score doubled in the last year (I didnt include my sad score from a full year ago here)! This kinda proves Laska's point above, that the test at least helps you take writing and other stuff (tones cough cough) seriously...otherwise it's really easy to just let it slide.....I don't have many other comments about April's exam other than I did think that the reading passages were shorter than last time, so that helped with the reading score a bit. Also, the listening section is still tough to make progress in, but I think I need to watch more Chinese news and listen to a staticy radio station or something

Now the only bad news is I think I have to treat other people to a dinner now....but hey it's a good bet to lose anyway:mrgreen:

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imron

Congratulations, and don't worry, I think there are still a couple more chances to go for an 11 before the HSK as we know it changes systems completely :mrgreen:

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wushijiao

I was quite shocked to see that we could see our scores today....anyway, overall, a C (9).

( )= my score 6 months ago

Listening- (47) 62

Reading- (54) 57

Zonghe- (42) 42 (almost DQed)

Writing- (65) 65

Speaking- (75) 81 (which is in the 11 range ( and the one area in which I can keep up with Heifeng :D ))

Total -(283) 307

Anyway, I guess this about what I expected, although I thought I had bombed the speaking (at least comapred to other times), and perhaps had done a bit better on the reading section. Oh well.

Anyway, congrats Heifeng! That is an amazing score! :D

apparently being really really anal with tones for once ...(actually I mean for the first time ever) actually paid off,

I'm not saying it didn't pay off, clearly it did!, but I'd like to also add that I speak in what I like to call the "foreign neutral tone", and I have also improved each time on the speaking section. I think they must also give weight to speaking fluently and with accurate vocabulary for the subject. Anyway, I just want to give a bit of hope to people out there who aren't that good at tones (like me!).

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heifeng

hehe..yeah, absolutely perfect tones are definitely not required for a good score in the spoken section. However, I think wushijiao is being TOO modest! I am sure you're not that monotone:lol: (fiddy X 10 up there and I will have to PK in speaking on the next exam since we are running neck to neck now hehe.....although I am not sure I should bet on myself~ you thought you bombed it and still got an A!! Congrats on another great test run)

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kdavid
I think there are still a couple more chances to go for an 11 before the HSK as we know it changes systems completely

How, and when, will things be changed? Anyone have any ideas?

I'm currently aimming to take the Intermediate exam next Spring, but have already begun planning. Will my recently purchased workbooks / practice tests / etc be null and void anytime soon?

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ajax

Woohoo! It took a bit of work, but I just managed to get my score. The web results page kept returning: "无相关记录,请验证您的输入是否正确". Turns out the test center code listed on my 准考证 was wrong. Instead of 024, google informed me that Yunnan Normal is 441. That was frustrating.

Was absolutely sure I bombed the listening and failed to get a 9, but wow....

Listening: 78

Reading: 63

Zonghe: 83

Writing: 65

Speaking: 69

Total: 358 ©

Didn't really know what to expect, but I'll take it. Strangely, I thought I did best on the reading section. And the speaking was really generous given that I spent a grand total of about 1 minute answering the 2 questions. Won't do that next time.

I definitely hope to take this again and try for a 10 (it's harder to get excited about 优秀).

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wushijiao

Great score ajax! It seems that if you had just got a four points higher on the reading, and your total point score would have easily allowed you to get a B. I'm sure you'll get it next time.

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Laska

Ha ha I missed a 9 by one point!!! Arrrrg!

Listening 66

Reading 53 (one point higher to get 9)

Zonghe 58

Writing 52

Speaking 75

304

Any encouraging words from people out there who didn't pass on their first try?

Honestly, if I had not passed because of the listening, I would have been upset. On the test I had a bad pair of headphones, and I would have felt robbed.

But not passing on the reading is another thing. I thought I performed pretty much up to my full ability on that section -- though I was just about able to answer a couple more questions when time was called. That would have done it. Oh well.

I'm pretty sure I will pass it next time. I'm paying much more attention to my writing. I have been getting up every morning and doing 30 minutes to an hour of dictation. Pretty soon I'll try to start keeping a diary -- have done this before, but it's always been kind of lame. Would like to do it for real this time because with all the dictation I'm finally starting being able to remember more characters actively.

Heifeng -- your progress is very inspiring! Now I know it can be done. ;-)

Anyway, it was a great experience -- really helped me focus my study. I'd recommend it to anyone.

It's a little too bad that the next test is on October 14. I'm applying to grad schools this year and I would love to have a pass in my pocket (if it's in the cards) before due date, Dec 15. It should be fine, right? Fifty days from test to score... should be out in the first week of Dec...

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wushijiao

If it is any consolation Laska, I didn't pass on my first time around in April of 2006:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/showpost.php?p=74500&postcount=29

It is especially unfortunate for you because your writing and reading scores were both very, very close to the cut-off line, and your total score was more than 280. Most likely, if you had guessed C instead of A on one of those reading questions (or whatever), you would have passed. So, don't worry about it.

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heifeng

Don't worry Laska, I also DID NOT pass my first time around ( i think my rant is on this thread somewhere too). At the time my reading was also 1 point below a C and I received a 40 in writing! This was my 3rd time taking the advanced exam, and I was much more relaxed taking it this time than in the past, and much less timid about making sure I wasn't exposed to unnecessary distractions.

Don't stress yourself out too much. You did very well on the other sections so you may very well skip right along to a level 10 on the next exam!

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Laska

Thanks for the encouraging words everyone!

Heifeng and Wushijiao -- what did you do to improve your reading score?

For me I think part of the problem is I have always been very careful about tones, so I don't do enough scanning and rapid reading.

It's good news, in a way, that reading is what I need to work on, because I enjoy it most, and actually it's really time that I started reading more material (in terms of sheer volume). May force myself to develop "sloppier" reading habits. Something like this: sloppy reading 70% of the time, careful reading 30% of the time. By sloppy I mean just circle stuff I don't understand (chengyu, new vocab, place names) and don't look up any tones.

Also, I suppose doing more practice exams would help a lot. Which ones did you find more useful? BCLU probably publishes the best material, right? I already did all the ones in HSK sucheng qianghua jiaocheng.

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