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Napkat

Twas the night before the HSK 4 exam... any advice?

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Napkat

Hi all,

 

At 9am tomorrow morning, I'll be in Tsinghua University taking my HSK 4 exam (somewhat embarrassingly a little over a year since my last attempt). I'm happy with my progress since then, particularly reading and writing, but I'm still not 100% certain on any core 'methods' for strictly passing the exam rather than just by knowing Chinese - for clarification, I think I'm reasonably comfortable with the Chinese content (ignoring the grammar *awkward cough*) but I'm particularly bad at test-taking.

 

I've learned a few things through mocks: I've gotten used to reading the list of multiple choice answers available first before the audio track plays in the listening section to save time and skim-reading when it comes to the reading section, but I still find it unduly daunting when halfway through the listening section you're suddenly given one piece of audio for two questions.

 

So, as it's the calm before the storm, do any of you wonderful sages have any advice or tips on taking the HSK (4) exam itself? I'd really appreciate it!

 

(I might just try out abcdefg's crazy 'drink Chinese tea and become an instant China Hand' method...)

 

 

 

 

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Shelley

I agree with Lu, last minute cramming is not going to help.

 

Sleep well and be confident in yourself that you have done your best.

 

Hope it goes well :)

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Apollys

Calm your mind and relax.  Get enough rest.  Definitely don't study any new material.

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LinZhenPu

I'm sure you did very well on the exam today. You've worked a lot harder and smarter at this than me. I took the HSK4 exam back in December, feeling very unprepared, way out of my depth and feeling like I knew it was a mistake to have wasted my time and money signing up in the first place. I was even late to the test on the day. After all that, I managed a 229.

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abcdefg
(I might just try out abcdefg's crazy 'drink Chinese tea and become an instant China Hand' method...)

 

Yes, but of course. Highly recommended! It's the 枸杞 berries that insure your tones are 标准。

 

After drinking your special tea, sharpen you pencils and prepare some pitiful excuses. Here are some I personally favor:

  • My glasses broke and my vision was blurry; couldn't read the questions.
  • The traffic noise confused me during the oral dictation.
  • My watch stopped and I couldn't tell how long I had left.
  • Had a terrible headache, must have been the midnight 二锅头。
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Napkat
I'm sure you did very well on the exam today. You've worked a lot harder and smarter at this than me. I took the HSK4 exam back in December, feeling very unprepared, way out of my depth and feeling like I knew it was a mistake to have wasted my time and money signing up in the first place. I was even late to the test on the day. After all that, I managed a 229.

 

I know it's not much Lin, but I really appreciate kind words. :) Well done on getting 229, that's a very solid score! In hindsight I should've done more listening, but I think strategically - and solely in regards to taking the test - focusing more on writing and reading certainly paid dividends. I'll be focusing much more on spoken language from now on.

 

Yes, but of course. Highly recommended! It's the 枸杞 berries that insure your tones are 标准。

 

I love it so much.

 

Post-HSK 4 reflection/synopsis notes

(I might also add this to the 'taken the HSK?' thread)

 

 

Listening

 

Listening was mixed, as expected. I made sure to pre-read the answers and translate them as soon as possible just before the dialogue played so that I knew what to listen out for, which was a massive help. I'm slightly concerned that I might not have paid as much attention to the actual *questions* as I should have, though - I was able to catch a question out halfway through which, when three people had been mentioned, asked specifically for the person not mentioned. Hopefully there weren't too many questions like this - I don't think there were.

 

The first section of listening was tougher than expected, which was a shame because they're the easiest marks to get in listening. Oh well.

 

I braced myself for the final part of listening, where two questions are asked for each slice of audio, but one or two just went straight over my head. Thankfully the guesses were at least educated, and thanks to the multiple choice element there's at least a 25% chance of the less-understood answers being correct.

 

Reading

 

This section was a massive ego-boost that I really enjoyed. As part of my prep, I learned as many words as I could from a HSK 4 vocabulary book (learning over 1200, with a few 'rare' ones left out). As such, I could read and understand virtually everything.

 

The time limit meant that lots of skim-reading was involved instead of fully reading and comprehending all of the passages, but save for one silly mistake that made in hindsight, it went really well.

 

Yay.

 

 

Writing

 

For the sentence rearrangement section, I was surprised to find grammar being less of an indication than context in the real exam. There were a few giveaways but certainly less than I'd expected (or hoped). There were one or two guesses, but I'm relatively confident (and again, could read everything which helped immensely).

 

Oh dear. I've just realised that I've made a mistake.

 

For the second part of writing ('here's a word, write a sentence) I only wrote sentences using the word provided rather than linking it back to the picture provided. Oh dear.

 

I knew the vocab and was happy to use it in a sentence, but completely forgot to link it to the picture. Ah.

 

As a result of that mishap, in hindsight my score may be considerably worse than expected.

 

(I'm now going to panic-refresh this page in the hope that some kind soul will tell me 'you're being an idiot Chris, you just had to make a sentence, the picture wasn't that important...')

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LinZhenPu

I did miserably on the picture writing section because while I could see what the characters meant, I didn't know how to say them and therefore didn't know the pinyin, so for about half of them, I couldn't write an acceptable answer. But I still passed.

The more I think about it the more I wonder how I managed to get 229. Granted, I haven't actually picked up my official test score report yet, I only have the score report on the official website to go off so maybe there was some mistake.

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Napkat

 

I did miserably on the picture writing section because while I could see what the characters meant, I didn't know how to say them and therefore didn't know the pinyin, so for about half of them, I couldn't write an acceptable answer. But I still passed.

 

 

I'd be interested to know what they give marks for in that section - it's more than one mark per question (I think 30Q's in the writing section? So 3 marks per Q up for grabs give or take).

 

That's awesome! When will you get your actual certificate?

 

A somewhat serious question - the picture writing section just said '看图,用词造句.' I'm interpreting this as not necessitating linking the word given to the pictures, that elements given in the pictures aren't necessarily meant to used in the sentences. Do you reckon I'll be alright if i didn't describe the pictures in my sentences/make a sentence using the element given in the pictures?

 

It feels a bit thick to ask, but I would appreciate a (preferably reassuring!) response.

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LinZhenPu

Do you reckon I'll be alright if i didn't describe the pictures in my sentences/make a sentence using the element given in the pictures?

Have a look at the marking guide in your book of 4级真题。You have been practising from a 4级真题, right?

I think I should advise everyone who is taking the HSK to just get a 真题书 and just learn the entire book. It's surprising how many questions are the same as the questions 2 years before.

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