Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
baihua

HSK 5 to 6

Recommended Posts

baihua

I firstly should apologise, because I normally hate really introspective threads, but my peers couldn't give me much guidance and furthermore I did search for previous post, but internet speed in this part of the world is awful...

 

I've been asked to try and pass HSK 6 by July of next year. I passed HSK 5 in June with a very marginal pass, which was not a great score, but there were particular circumstances to why I took it so earlier than I anticipated and I have been studying continously since. I'm now in China as of September studying effectively language full-time, but with the usual commitments to exams and class work. The catch is, I've never passed a written exam, I've done the very late switch over to learning to systematically write characters and if I gained probably anything from the next 6-9 months it would be passing at least a repeat HSK 5 test and paper exam with a good score in the written test.

 

I have developed a few issues between what I perceive as the dichtomy between being good at language and exam taking, and I dont want to suffer for concentrating on the latter. Despite passing HSK (even by a whisker) in short I think my Chinse is very poor.

 

My three-fold objective is; good Chinese (especially oral and listening), developing character writing from near scratch and passing HSK 6.

 

Thoughts, feelngs, suggestions...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Shelley
I've been asked to try and pass HSK 6 by July of next year.

 

Who has asked? what I mean is, is it important to your work, your staying in china, or any other important to you reasons to pass it by July 17?

 

If there is no need, or pressures that detrimentally affects your life, why not take when you are ready, if at all. I understand about the taking exams and actually knowing stuff, but it is a good way to see how you are doing and where your weakness are.

 

What happens if you take it and fail? I remember when I took my driving test my instructor said he didn't think I was ready to pass my test but he was putting me in for it so I could find out what it was like. it was  good idea, passed the second time, it helped that I knew what to expect and I wasn't so nervous.

 

I think you need to weigh up the reasons why you need/want to take it and then decide.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lu

From what you write, it looks like you have a clear deadline on the HSK, while learning good Chinese is more of a general goal. You're right that passing exams doesn't equal language proficiency, but it looks like in your current circumstances, you'll have to prioritise HSK preparation. On the positive side, most of what you'll learn to pass the HSK will help your general Chinese level too, even if it's not in a way that you would have chosen.

 

If I were in your position, I'd practice writing every day (assuming you need this for HSK 6, I never took it); study/prepare for the HSK every day; and on speaking and listening, just keep using it to maintain your current level but don't make special efforts on it until after passing the HSK, or if you have time to spare after preparing the HSK.

 

Your Chinese will get better even if you just prepare for the HSK. And once you've passed it, you'll just continue to learn. It's not something that you learn in a year or two anyway. 好好学习,天天向上 and good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silent

What exactly is the issue? What is your worry?

 

I'm not at the hsk6 level and have never made a hsk test so can't really judge. Nevertheless, to me it sounds doable, but not very easy. It of course also depends on the time you're able/willing to commit. Essentially learning 10 words a day and learning/practicing some grammar. If you're in China in an immersion environment it should be a bit easier then at home with little opportunity to practise.  I agree however that HSK5 (and even 6) is far short from real proficiency, and as such can be classified as poor. You need the vocabulary and grammar but also a lot of practice to internalise that knowledge without the internalisation it takes a lot of effort to use your Chinese and consequently you keep the sense that it's poor.

 

For the rest I pretty much agree with Lu. Set your priorities. If passing HSK6 is most important to you that's what you should prioritise. To my best knowledge (I may be wrong) handwriting is not needed for HSK6 if you take the computer test. I think in real life, though convenient and part of all round proficiency, it is not a very important skill. You can do virtually everything by typing. So I wonder should writing really have a high priority?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flickserve

You need to pass an exam - practice passing an exam.

You have never passed a written exam - you need to practice the written part. Lots of mock papers. Work out the exam technique and play the game.

You want to learn the language well - it takes consolidation which is done after the exam

This is no different from most school exams, University exams and post graduate exams all around the world. Revising for an exam gives you a base knowledge; after an exam you start to use, consolidate and further that knowledge (or not if you give up).

You may say, "Since it's a game, I don't want to play." Then think of this - interviews are also a game. You need interview technique to persuade the person opposite you for the job you want. You need to play that interview game. So here, you need to play the exam game to pass the exam.

Good luck. Nobody said exams are easy but there are tricks to learn. Not short cuts but tricks.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thechamp

I would say if you've had a lot of exposure to Chinese it may not be that hard. When I came to the HSK I took 5, but could have perhaps taken 6 with a couple of months. I got a good grade in 5 and was happy with that really. As said above, the hardest part is just getting good at taking the HSK, if your Chinese is pretty good. The written part is also the hardest part of that. Get a tutor and get them to have you writing out sample questions all the time, then reading and correcting your responses. Also, memorize a load of Chengyu that are relatively easily applied to many situations, and learn some more bookish sentence constructions to deploy where you can to improve the seriousness of your writing. If you spend a year just on HSK 6 exams and content, should be doable. If you want to learn other things and do some fun stuff, you might struggle!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
baihua
Who has asked? what I mean is, is it important to your work, your staying in china, or any other important to you reasons to pass it by July 17?

 

Im a scholarship student. The expectation is I should pass an exam I haven't already passed, which means a move to the next level up. I understand if I dont pass anything in the year I'm studying here it raises questions as to what exactly Im doing, but scraping through on the second highest tier of the exams has put me in a bad position. I would much prefer to go from 3 to 4 or 4 to 5.

 

Post-July Im not sure of my plans, but HSK 6 would definitely be a boon, but so would a decent speaking and listening level.

 

 

on speaking and listening, just keep using it to maintain your current level but don't make special efforts on it until after passing the HSK

 

 

Your Chinese will get better even if you just prepare for the HSK.

 

 

You need the vocabulary and grammar but also a lot of practice to internalise that knowledge without the internalisation it takes a lot of effort to use your Chinese and consequently you keep the sense that it's poor.

 

 

For me, Silent hits the proverbial nail on the head. I learned a lot on my journey to HSK 5, it needs unpacking and playing with again and again. At the same time, I see a distinct gulf in between what I can speak on one hand, and what I can read/write and was hoping my time learning vocab lists, sitting mocks could at the same time equally bolster my speaking ability. I'm not initially seeing or feeling that is anything near a like to like ratio. I don't want to be the guy who passes all the exams but cant put a decent sentence together.

 

In terms of practical things;

  • I'm using pleco to practice my writing, through its test function
  • I have copied out all the 生词 from my text books to get me in the writing mood
  • HSK 6 listening material is on heavy rotation
  • Synonmyn and text books are near to hand. Any additions would be gratefully received.

I need suggestions on

  • Where to adequately store all the grammar rules, synonmyn distinctions Im learning daily. I did try Pleco, but its become a little unwieldy
  • Best place to find a reasonable priced tutor in China?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lu
Where to adequately store all the grammar rules, synonmyn distinctions Im learning daily.
Anki perhaps, with fill-in-the-gap sentences?

 

Even if you'd temporarily become the guy who passes all the exams but can't chat about the weather with the 保安, it'd just be that: temporary. You're motivated and know how to study. Even if you're now forced to concentrate on passing the HSK for some months, you'll focus on other things afterwards. Chinese isn't learned in one year and there isn't one set order in which to do it.

 

Good luck!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silent

 

 

I don't want to be the guy who passes all the exams but cant put a decent sentence together.

It depends on your priorities and practices.  Serious study for HSK6 does not exclude practicing to speak. In contrary, you can't study the books continuously. You need some time to play too. If you avoid the expat bubble and hang out with natives you've plenty of time to practice speaking. If you make a little effort you could use play time to reinforce what you studied by using what you learned from the books where ever you can.

 

By creating a (deep) immersion environment and avoiding as much as possible the use of your native language is a very effective way to learn the language. If you feel your language skills are poor the start is likely hard/tiring, as you feel you're unable to express yourself and it takes a lot of effort. After a few days however you're likely to start processing chinese directly rather then using your native language as an intermediate. You also get habited to describing the words you don't know. If you manage the first few days things become a lot easier. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
baihua

 

Anki perhaps, with fill-in-the-gap sentences?

Do you know of any pre-existing templates?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lu

No, I'm not that well versed in Anki actually. I know just enough to make my own flashcards. I think you'll need to weigh how much time to spend on finding existing templates vs how much time it would take to make your own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
艾墨本

I want to echo what Silent has said with post #9. However, I found that moving to China after only knowing 'textbook-Chinese' it was more like the first four months were tiring. I needed more sleep than normal as I was studying 24/7. I was either learning how to teach English or learning how to communicate in Chinese. It was exhausting. That said, after about a couple weeks, I started finding I could communicate more easily, regardless of how much energy it took. Note: I am a very slow language learner.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
baihua

Thanks for the encouragement, but putting together small talk and not exclusively mediating through my native language is taking longer than I expected.

 

 

No, I'm not that well versed in Anki actually.

I simply downloaded and edited this and it seems to work fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yadang

In terms of speech: is it that you have a problem with using a variety of different words, or is pronunciation/speed/tones your problem? Or both, or something else?
 

Anki perhaps, with fill-in-the-gap sentences? 

 

Do you know of any pre-existing templates?

 

 

I think the default cloze template should work pretty well, and you could just add an English field.

 

 

 

As for using Anki for grammar, what I would suggest you try is this:
 
Find the rule you're learning on Chinese Grammar Wiki. Let's say you want to learn to use 既然。

 

Copy an example into anki (make sure you're using a cloze template, and that the Chinese goes into the Cloze field) - preferably one where you know all the other words and you understand the meaning of the sentence. You might also consider copying the English translation:

 

 

Since you don't want to speak, just don't say it.

 

你既然不想说,那就别说了。

 

 

 

Then cloze out the relevant grammar structures (the shortcut on Anki is Ctrl-Shift-C. To make so that subsequent clozed out words are blanked out at the same time, use Ctrl-Shift-Alt-C).

 

So, for the above example, it would be something like this:

 

你{{c1:既然}}不想说,{{c1:那就}}别说了。

 

This will produce a card that looks like:

 

[...]不想说,[...]别说了。

 

And you actively fill in the blanks.

 

If you do this with a couple examples for each grammar pattern, you should start to get a more and more intuitive feel for that grammar pattern.

 

By the way, if you decide to use the English translation as well, I highly suggest you put it in a different field, so if you decide you don't like the English translation being on the card, you can take it off the card very easily (or if you decide you want it on the back, not the front, etc.)

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
baihua

 

In terms of speech: is it that you have a problem with using a variety of different words, or is pronunciation/speed/tones your problem? Or both, or something else?

I am far too weened on course material for my liking and following this up with heavy exam prep is whats bothering me. My pronounciation and tones are a little off and I need to consolidate what I know on a more rigorous basis. Outside of class, I have one person I converse with at length on an irregular basis and that has really helped, but they have indicated, while they understand me, its not standard fare.

 

 

As for using Anki for grammar, what I would suggest you try is this:

Totally inspired idea. Very grateful for Lu for the suggestion. I've noted how it handles multiple entries answers, reveals the answer etc and I'm going to take a lot of examples from my course books due to appear in my final exams :P I also think with modification it can do 语病 sentences, getting me to think about higher level grammar stuff. (And if I write it out using the touch screen, I get my daily writing practice!)

 

My next issue is how to deal with;

1. large lists of synonyms I'm collecting

2. cover important/most definitions of specific words I'm going to need. Like if a word has 5 meanings how do I drill myself into remembering most of the important meanings?

 

I did initial think to write out my own flashcards covering these two points (i.e a card for each meaning, a precise definition and details on how one word is distinct from another) but I think the work rate is potentially massive if Im hoping to cover even a fraction of the five thousand odd words in HSK 6.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lu
1. large lists of synonyms I'm collecting

2. cover important/most definitions of specific words I'm going to need. Like if a word has 5 meanings how do I drill myself into remembering most of the important meanings?

Example sentences might help, either as a fill-in-the-gap exercise or to specify what meaning is intended at a specific instance. Generally, you'll never be asked to ladle up all the meanings of word X (not even on the HSK I think), you only need to know all 5 meanings so that you can understand this sentence in which word X appears. So instead of making cards like Q: what's word X, A: meanings 1 through 5, you can make it like Q: sentence with word X, what does word X mean here, A: meaning number 2.

 

Yes that's a massive amount of work. On the plus side, making the flash cards generally already is a first round of learning. Or perhaps you can find an existing stack of HSK flashcards and amend those?

 

I hope this is of some help. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flickserve

If you are going to use Anki, stick sentences in it and you don't know how to use Anki, expect to invest some time learning it.

 

 

I couldn't work it out at first on how to design cards and how to personalise it. It took a few attempts to work out the logic and I asked on this forum for help.

 

I use it to help listening skills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yadang

 

 

1. large lists of synonyms I'm collecting

2. cover important/most definitions of specific words I'm going to need. Like if a word has 5 meanings how do I drill myself into remembering most of the important meanings?

 

Example sentences might help, either as a fill-in-the-gap exercise

 

I would also suggest example sentences. I find clozing out the word helps not only memorize the word, but because you're learning in context, you start to get a feel for how the word is being used in the sentence. This should be much more helpful in the real world (and hopefully the HSK) than memorizing definitions. In case I'm not sure how the word is being used, I have the definitions of the word in an "hint" field (so I have to click "show definitions" to show them - otherwise they won't be shown). This really allows for a better intuitive understanding of the word, I think.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris Two Times

 

That is a fantastic resource! I was previously unaware of its existence. Many thanks for passing that on, Yadang.

 

I am a step behind baihua and plan to sit HSK 5级 in Spring, 2017 (6级 in 2018?). Nonetheless, I shall intently continue to follow this thread as a lot of the great information that you all are passing on is naturally highly applicable to my test prep as well.

 

Warm regards,

Chris Two Times

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yadang

 

 

If you are going to use Anki, stick sentences in it and you don't know how to use Anki, expect to invest some time learning it.

I couldn't work it out at first on how to design cards and how to personalize it. It took a few attempts to work out the logic and I asked on this forum for help.

 

It will definitely take a bit of time, but I (and others) have found it to be an invaluable tool—well worth taking the time necessary to learn it. And to reiterate, please do ask for help if you need it. It would be a shame if you were put off of such a useful resource because of the steep learning curve.

 

 

That is a fantastic resource! I was previously unaware of its existence. Many thanks for passing that on, Yadang.

 

Absolutely—glad I could help! As an aside, the only thing they don't have that I think would be really nice is audio. I was considering paying someone to record all (or more likely, some) of the sentences, so I could make Anki audio flash cards. I emailed John Pasden, and it sounded like they were working on professionally recorded audio packs, so I didn't have anyone record it... That was a while ago... If anyone else wants to mention it to him, it would be cool to show him that others are interested in such a feature  :mrgreen:

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...