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艾墨本

What I learned from taking the HSK 5

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abcdefg    2,375
abcdefg

Thanks for this interesting report, Ben.

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dandmcd    17
dandmcd

Loved your writeup.  I was thinking of attempting HSK5 in 2017, so this is helpful.  I know it can be difficult to recall all the details of the exam, but I'd be curious to know what pictures you were tasked with in the writing section, as well as the words you needed to use to write, if you can still remember some of them.  Always interesting to see what people have to deal with in this section.

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艾墨本    333
艾墨本

I don't recall. Just get some practice exam books like the one I linked. Then you can look at ten sets of those questions. The practice books are previous exams.

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Breaknet    9
Breaknet

I don't know if I should give it a go. Due to schedule issues, I might try to pass that test on January 14th. It doesn't give a lot of time but not doing it would make feel guilty afterward. However, I don't know if 3 weeks will be enough to (reach/consolidate or acquire) a certain proficiency in the ''art of passing'' HSK tests.

As one friend used to tell me: ''D for degree''.

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Not Nicky    7
Not Nicky

Hey thanks 艾墨本. I just took the practice test on chinesetest.cn and did pretty well. Would you say that's pretty indicative of the types of questions on the exam? I'm thinking I'll get the book you linked to on tmall but I'm feeling pretty good about it now.

And congrats on our result!

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Chris Two Times    242
Chris Two Times

Taking HSK 五级 on July 15th here in Beijing...in the middle of preps for it now--I thank all for contributing to this thread and I shall chime in later with how I prepared for it and ultimately how the chips fell.

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Kherith    15
Kherith

Interesting read, can you tell us what was your chinese level before taking HSK5, I mean, how long have you studied, alone or at the uni, if you are immersed in your everyday life (I see you live in China but it doesnt mean you speak Chinese all the time), stuff like this ?

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i__forget    2
i__forget

Once you reach HSK 5 can you say that you can comfortably enjoy watching the news (more or less)?

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somethingfunny    363
somethingfunny

No.

 

I don't really "enjoy" watching the news in English, but even in terms of how easily you can follow what is being said, HSK 5 is not sufficient to understand the news in Chinese.

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艾墨本    333
艾墨本

I could not watch news in Chinese after HSK 5. This was slightly because of vocabulary but mostly because I hadn't practiced listening to the news in Chinese. Chinese news is done very robotically and does require practice to get used to. As @imron loves to say, if you want to get good at something you've got to practice it. This goes for getting good at listening to the news as well.

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Chris Two Times    242
Chris Two Times

Well, that didn't go well. I envy you 艾墨本.

 

I just finished taking the HSK, Level 5 here on my home campus of Tsinghua University. It being on my "home turf" and the test site being an easy 10-minute bike ride from my dorm were really the only nice things about the whole experience today.

 

I apologize for the self-pity. I really don't think I passed.

 

So many of the listening questions I just couldn't get a clear answer and felt like I was fumbling in the dark. This was unlike my practice in which I could mostly get the gist and have an idea of the answer at least. The test was in a language lab and there wasn't a problem at all with the sound. I also was in the pole position, first seat, front and center--closet to the speakers, everyone behind me so no one could distract me. I am glad I had that seat.

 

The reading section, which was by far the most challenging part for me all throughout my practice, was a disaster today. Part 1, which I never did well on in my practice, was certainly no different today. I never ever see the correct answers and it frustrates me terribly. At least when I do parts 2 and 3 of the reading section, I have learned to read intently but at a good clip and hone in on the correct answers and do moderately successful on those parts. My test today mirrored my practice experiences.

 

Writing is the most enjoyable and manageable part of the test for me. For me, it is the only part of the test in which there isn't a time pressure and there is a modicum of doing well. Forty minutes is more than enough time for me to put together the 8 sentences and then write the two 80-character essays. My nightmare situation in my practice was getting an essay in which I wouldn't recognize one or more of the five terms given (on the first essay). That didn't happen today--I knew all five terms and I believe I used them correctly in my writing. I also wrote a very simple essay for the second prompt with the picture, but I am satisfied with my essay.

 

Argh, I never do well on these tests. I get into the test situation and I feel like my brain just shuts down. I try to remain calm and when I hit a pitfall, I don't panic and I just move on. It is frustrating for me that I am not the guru of test taking. It also makes me thankful that my personal circumstances dictate that such tests really don't matter. Nothing lost, nothing gained, other than a bit of pride--I really feel for the Chinese kid taking the gaokao who has everything to gain and everything to lose with that one test--I have never and perhaps will never face such a crucial make-or-break situation in my academic career. I need to remember that and be grateful.

 

The HSK, Level 5 baked up a nice humble pie for me today and I walked away not hungry.

 

I am not confident that I passed today's exam, but if I do pass, I believe that I will have just squeaked by with around 180 points for the low pass. I really don't think that I got more than 200 points on today's exam.

 

 Haha, I embody the following saying --> "六十分万岁!六十一分浪费!"

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Chris Two Times    242
Chris Two Times
Quote

To my surprise, I found the study process to get ready for the exam both rewarding and educational.

 

I don't disagree with the above statement. Even if I failed the exam, I have experienced some nice "takeaways" from the preparation process: my knowledge of vocabulary and grammar/sentence structures has been greatly expanded and my reading and listening abilities have been honed. Likewise, I did enjoy the study process and appreciated that it gave me a constructive summer project to carry out. I liked going to Tsinghua's libraries on a daily basis during the past month.

 

I want to trash the HSK, but that is just sour grapes on my part. Overall, I don't think it is an unfair test; I just struggle with the time pressures, particularly on the reading part.

 

If I fail, will I take Level 5 again? Perhaps. I will consider it after another semester of full-time Chinese study in December, 2017.

If I fail, I may even jump down to Level 4 as a "building-back-up" activity (haha, whatever that means). I may do it mid-semester around October, 2017 after 国庆节. Sure, why not...just go ahead and give Hanban even more of my hard-earned shekels. :D 8)

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艾墨本    333
艾墨本
5 hours ago, Chris Two Times said:

I may even jump down to Level 4 as a "building-back-up" activity

Since taking the HSK 5, I have continued to study it's content with the hope of moving things from passive to active. Perhaps you could set a goal like that and try to nail down all the HSK 4 vocabulary and grammar?

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