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AshleyBen

How is writing assessed for computer-based HSK tests?

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AshleyBen

I've just completed my HSK 2 test so will be moving onto the HSK 3 syllabus and textbooks. I was wondering, for the HSK 3 test there is a writing part and I'm of the understanding I have to write 10 characters. But, how is this assessed when completing the computer-based test? With PinYin input? Separate paper test? Draw the characters with the mouse? I'm really confused!

Any help on this would be great!

Thanks for reading.

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dandmcd

There's a paper and pen exam and a computer based exam.  Depending on which you choose, it will be all computer based using pinyin input, or written on paper in the latter.  These days most choose the computer based exam, unless you really want to test your writing character skills.  Listening is actually a little more difficult on the computer exam, however, since you can't flip around pages.

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Angelina

When taking a computer-based HSK exam, you should type into the computer. You can talk to the test center about what operating system and input method is available. Usually 搜狗 and 拼音 is available, but you should contact the test center where you are taking the exam if you need confirmation. You can also ask them about the keyboard, QWERTY is usually used, but it would not hurt asking.

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LinZhenPu

Which of course makes the writing section ridiculously easier on the computer than on paper because you only need passive recall of characters and you can use character suggestion to your advantage. Also, from my experience, the invigilators won't stop you from taking your smart phone into the test room nor will they stop you from getting up to go to the toilet which you will have more than ample spare time to do for the HSK3. When I took the test, the exam room was regularly unoccupied and the invigilator only really checked over people's shoulders every now and then. It's a bit of a joke, really.

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Silent

 

 

It's a bit of a joke, really.

 

In my experience this is true for many tests. Fraud is often easy for those that are looking to do so. Of course that is a problem for  employers that hire based on test results and for the value of the diplomas and certificates issued based on the tests.

 

You might debate how much of a problem it really is for low level/less important certificates. Who are you really fooling if you fraude your hsk3 test? Higher levels may be more of an issue as these may be used to get hired or for admission to a study, but even there who do you really fool? It mostly means you have a harder time to keep up and a bigger risk to fail as you're unliky to be hired for your Chinese language skill, it's just a tool.

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LinZhenPu

I mean, that's a much more important point you've made there. It didn't cross my mind. I tend not to think of these sort of big-picture ideas...

I suppose you could argue a case that someone could easily fraudulently obtain a one year Confucius Institute Scholarship by cheating on the HSK3 test while legitimately passing the HSKK 初级考试。But then, how much of a big deal is that really...

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Silent

There are many angles in how you can approach it. Personally, due to upbringing,  I value honesty, but it's a simple fact that being flexible and creative with the truth is needed to get ahead. This is illustrated by the number of small lies people tell in daily life. Frauding on a test is 'just' a component of that. It doesn't make it right, but it's imho not as black&white as it may look at face value.

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AshleyBen

Thanks for the help guys! So, it sounds like PinYin input will be used, which I'm very familiar with so that's good news. I've used the test centre in Shanghai called Mandarin Morning for my HSK 1 and 2 tests and they use normal QWERTY keyboards so that should be fine. It means with my limited time left in China, I leave in in June 2017, I can dedicate my time to listening, reading and speaking rather than writing. I've not taken much time to learn writing the characters other than writing in new characters on my iPad into Pleco, which don't need to be accurate. If I don't need to do it I'd rather make the most of my time in China for the other areas.

As far as cheating goes, there is the old saying: you're only cheating yourself! I'm only taking the HSK tests to give myself a goal and to have a formal recognition of my achievements. Nothing professionally or academically related. At the test centre I have been to they do have numerous invigilators in the room. Although last time I did leave my phone in my pocket (simply because I didn't feel comfortable leaving it at the front of the room) they could have easily seen me using it. But, I wouldn't want to pay to take a test for my own recognition simply to cheat on it!

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zhouhaochen

We administer HSK exams at our school, so I am quite familiar with the process.

 

There are all kinds of regulations regarding what kind of computers to use, how far each student should sit from the next and how many signs there need to be showing the way to the test center, but there are no regulations what kind of input software can or cannot be used. So which one they have is completely up to whoever is in charge of the computers at the test center. You can ask which software they have or not have and if you get on well with them they might even install the one you want (though that you would need to discuss quite a bit in advance with them most likely).

 

The fact that there is no regulation for this is indeed a major shortcoming of the HSK as the predictive abilities of many of those softwares can help you to avoid a lot of mistakes or in some cases even to check your answers.

 

One would have thought they would have considered that point, but they were probably so busy writing up useless guidelines regarding the exact name badges examiners need to wear (yes there are guidelines for the name badges) that they didn't have time to think about stuff like this....

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