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MrDuque

Can you ace HSK 5 in a year?

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MrDuque

Hi everyone, I recently created an account in this forum for solving some inquiries regarding the Chinese government scholarship offered to international students. Although I still don't know if I'm going to get that scholarship, I'm worried about getting it and not being able to ace the HSK 5 (required by one university that I put in my list) in 1 year of college preparatory provided by the CSC.

 

Does anyone with or without the scholarship knows if it is doable?

 

Thank you very much for your help.

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Flickserve

You can put some indication of your present level of Chinese, otherwise any answer is going to be a guess in the dark.

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MrDuque

@Flickserve well I'm native in Spanish, fluent in English and basic in French but no Chinese at all, that's why it worries me (I just started to learn the very basics)

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thechamp

Is this like an academic year that you have? i.e. September to May/June?

If you need to pass HSK5 in that kind of time and you're not Japanese or Korean with a bit of basic knowledge of Hanzi, you will probably struggle. It might be possible but I never heard of a westerner learning Chinese to HSK 5 in that time. If you only focus on HSK preparation materials it might be possible but your Chinese would be very weird, also, the HSK preparation materials sort of assume a lot of prior study and aren't really designed to be taken alone.

 

I would take it as a sign that the university course that requires an HSK 5 actually requires a higher level of Chinese than that. In theory you can study humanities/social sciences in China with HSK 5, but in practice someone who had just barely scraped the HSK5 wouldn't be equipped to study a subject taught in Chinese at that level.

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MrDuque

@thechamp I just read more details about the admissions and I found out that I can apply with HSK 4 but I have to get HSK 5 (with 60 points in each section) during the first year.

 

I intend to do engineering studies, Would that be possible?

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thechamp

I think 4 within an academic year is totally possible, and is probably the level most UK students are at after their first year of a Chinese bachelors degree. If you have to study engineering and also get from 4 to 5 in 1 year I think it would be quite tough. What kind of engineering? In the UK engineering degrees have a lot of maths in the early years, and are very time intensive (about 9 - 5, with homework), although you may have covered some of it in high school depending on the subjects you chose....I imagine Chinese engineering degrees are very theoretical and maths heavy (but this is just based on the amount of maths they're expected to do in high school). I would have a look at the syllabus for the degree and see how much you're already familiar with, and therefore how much time you could put into Chinese outside of your degree.....if you haven't got a lot of spare time it might be difficult to go from 4 to 5 within a year...although it's definitely possible!

 

I think the consensus tends to be that an average to bright student living in the country can get HSK 5 within 2 years and 6 within 3 if they prioritize the HSK. Also if you go for it in your holidays, you might be able to go most of the way between 4 and 5 just in your Summer.

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MrDuque

@thechamp I plan to study mechanical engineering.

Thanks for your help, I'll try to find the syllabus in the university webpage but it is likely that I may have to use the summer vacations for that :lol:

 

Thank you again.

 

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werewitt

HSK5 - theoretically possible if you cram like hell for the whole year, but practically - I doubt it.

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thechamp

4? I think 4 is possible and probably quite common. I've not seen actual stats on the number of foreigners that manage to get to HSK 4 in a year in China, but I think it's probably most conscientious students who were trying for it. 

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roddy

We've had reports of people getting HSK4 in a year. I suspect we have reports of people getting HSK5 as well, but can't find them and I might be wrong. Either way - you'd be preparing for the exam more than actually learning to use the language. I can see it being necessary if you need to get a particular score for a course, but I don't think anyone would say it's the best way to learn the language.

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lips

I doubt you can understand the math and engineering taught in Chinese, with even HSK 5/6.  You can use resources in another language to study the materials but how would you deal with tests and exams in Chinese?

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MrDuque

Thank you for your responses, all of them have been helpful so far.

 

 

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werewitt
Quote

 

We've had reports of people getting HSK4 in a year. 

 

That person didn't say whether he was studying from 0 of from, say, HSK3 :) From personal experience - I'm just under a year of rather leisurely study (more or less from scratch) and am finishing preparing to sit HSK 4 in a couple of months. So yes, it's totally doable and not extremely taxing. HSK5, though...

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MrDuque

@lips do you have any experience about it? One university asks me to get HSK 4 with 180 points in total (no specific subscores are necessary) and another one asks me to get HSK 5 with 60 points on each section (I can apply with HSK 4 but I need to meet the previous requirement before the end of the first year)

 

This is worrying me because if I get the scholarship, complete the preparatory studies and don't get into any I institution, I will lose it.

 

By the way, I did not know that someone could prepare exclusively for the HSK 4/5/6 and still have bad skills, I wonder if other language tests (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, DELF, etc) have this flaw too.

 

Now I think, why would universities in China ask for those requirements if they know that it may not be enough for understanding with relative ease the lectures and learning materials?

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MrDuque

@werewitt yes, I think I'll have to start learn Chinese now just in case.

 

Depending of the results that I receive between may-june, I may create a post in a year and tell you my experience :P with the HSK 5 (If I finally decide to take it of course)

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werewitt
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By the way, I did not know that someone could prepare exclusively for the HSK 4/5/6 and still have bad skills

 

HSK is essentially testing how good you are at cramming characters and patterns, because all question are multiple choice. At least HSK1-4 is - HSK5 has a small essay in writing section, and HSK6 writing consists of just an essay. Besides, I've read somewhere that HSK5-6 don't have scored results anymore, they just tell you you've passed or not. It could have been about HSK6 though.

 

Quote

Now I think, why would universities in China ask for those requirements if they know that it may not be enough for understanding with relative ease the lectures and learning materials?

 

HSK is the only scored test available to them. I suspect the requirement is somewhat stipulated by the government.

 

PS. you might want to look into prep materials such as http://hsktests.com/study-guides/ - they are sort of for crammers and don't teach the language, but if you're aiming for a test, a bit of strategy guide would help. They are from 2013, but the HSK4 guide I looked at is good.

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MrDuque

@werewitt thanks for your response, I'll check that out, but I still want to learn Chinese in an appropriate manner besides acing those tests.

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werewitt

@MrDuque I have a gnawing suspicion that it's not possible to both prepare for HSK5 and learn Chinese well from scratch at the same time, in a year. Evaluate your time constraints/investments/availability.

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