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Lena8

Getting HSK 3 / 4 in one year

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Lena8

Hi!

I would like you to give me some advice in order to be able to get HSK 3 / 4 June next year. 

First of all, having at this moment very basic knowledge of Chinese (A1 level), do you think HSK 4 is a reasonable goal for summer next year or should I apply for a lower level?

 

My current situation is this:

I'm going 2 days a week 2 hours to Chinese class (A2 level). Besides, from Monday to Friday I have 3 spare hours each day in the train that I could fill by studying Chinese, apart from some time as well during the weekend.

 

So, I would like to know some guidelines about the way to prepare for HSK as well as resources to improve my skills, especially listening. It is, without doubt, my weakest point. When I listen to Chinese, it all sounds like Greek to me, even if what it is being said is, in theory, easy to grasp. Therefore, I need to strengthen particularly this point. I would also like webs/books where I could gain speed at reading and could progressively reinforce the vocabulary that appears on the exam.

 

Thank you so much in advance for your help!

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GabrielaVD

Hi!

It is a reasonable goal, I think you can do it!

In my experience, passing HSK mainly requires knowing the HSK vocabulary, in your case HSK 4. I would recommend you to download some HSK samples, and there are some apps that can help you with it, I use one called HSK simulator on my phone during my free time, it can help you remember all the words from the vocabulary of the HSK level you want to take and you can take the test as well。

加油!

 

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Jabri

Totally possible. I have met few people that get their HSK 5 within 7 months - 1 year. 

If your weakest point is listening, then spend more time on listening. Listen often. When I start learning Chinese in March 2016, I used to listen to short dialogue about 7 to more than 10 times. I listen and I tried to write down what I listen. And I do this 3 - 5 hours per day, sometimes the whole day. Don't forget to try to balance your other abilities like reading, speaking, and writing(if you plan to take a writing exam instead of typing). 

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NinjaTurtle

Lena,

My Chinese listening comprehension is really, really bad. It sounds like you and I are in the same boat. If you are not behind the "great firewall of China" I recommend you listen to a lot of children's videos. I have found these to be very helpful.

Chinese kids' videos to watch/download. (If you need help on how to download YouTube videos, please feel free to ask.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIMyjNXZ4jw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TA2iKi_kPY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VD98ZnvusY8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTTxGSH6ATU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OouShYTvrKQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjBsLIYWNNk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNwARuB-vm8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vCnLciboHY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZVcyYw8ugs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYmzllTEC2Q
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wzu0NGk0Ssc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MN2dv1aAhw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBSMf-tsETk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9844rUJVscY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRSUOwVaEOw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WL7Sa5iiLWM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd6pgMUy6Gw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlbeS5h1cEw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNTGKwD-eGQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbWP2tVbMHg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3manwumVdM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN3McsMF1ME
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jr-K895_QoI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGe-CjZP_-0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOBq-YfqgHs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDz2qo61fOE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6xnKXTNkUg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEd7ci5x1RE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSTUYqbemu0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6L9IYyzqyg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-AsZW-nDkA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUbDiWnq5-4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1lqcW8B5vY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHJFB7Y9crc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY3Xz5Q532o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM_QSDCjHKY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpseCxt5Wkk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7vP9EYCYsA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSkZsh3sl8c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_GQPMqJR30
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0lTEAPVkbA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUDt4vyCOfo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoulIKjl09w
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx9OhgVxxyE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeQhpeNgM68
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlYuykVFYNo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-BaeRspg9U
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0eT6dA3vDo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw8GIf7KYLY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX1pY7GTbDw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s96iyEYcPo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7iaXVgk1xk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsz99rmn-P4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jojGGiCvplM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Tn1kqhHzlw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4SfYoHIiQU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEsyIh5VMgU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af8BJ1qnBlg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEAV7dHTG74
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJyNoFkud6g
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAGJVPXaHHk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3D0Bd0Fwxo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EReEQ2BxmSI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5ZW18lXxhg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5sAxScM6ZA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahHsk9csiD4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vGEwneMSkQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WlfqTOU880
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnHjfAlgo2s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM9v6tmvHBY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHMHCrr4cVc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D7s0aPf1GM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8yHtTsq_MU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgQLzm_Nf7w
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQ-6Kep92aw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIvikfyYEfM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ayyk1OTUUSQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlaaQfxg2kg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=darTh3x_lpU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39aazRwuGes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfFCrXRDCCo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu2vex7bT-Q
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vFzzRT_rj4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNwARuB-vm8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHSe5TsA0HE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7XXsUKX7ms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVdjWLe5xcE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS5tIYXn-Ig
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpWYSLa3qME

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mungouk
21 hours ago, Lena8 said:

I would like to know some guidelines about the way to prepare for HSK as well as resources to improve my skills

 

You could do worse than work through the HSK standard course books with your teacher, as well as using the accompanying workbooks. 

 

Both of them have audio for listening practice, and the workbooks emulate – in staged levels – the HSK tests.  Once you've got the answers to these you can do the exercises and mark them yourself.


For what it's worth, I found that shifting to 3 x 1 hour classes per week made a big difference to me. Using Chinese every day (classes or homework) really helps.

 

 

 

 

 

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Lena8
20 hours ago, NinjaTurtle said:

My Chinese listening comprehension is really, really bad. It sounds like you and I are in the same boat. If you are not behind the "great firewall of China" I recommend you listen to a lot of children's videos. I have found these to be very helpful.

Chinese kids' videos to watch/download. (If you need help on how to download YouTube videos, please feel free to ask.)

 

Thank you so much, @NinjaTurtle!! This kind of videos are really really helpful! :) :)

 

And many thanks as well to @GabrielaVD, @Jabri and @mungouk!! Your advices are very helpful! :) 

 

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GabrielaVD

Also, something I learned while studying in China, my teacher often told us that in order to listen more, you have take like a dialogue or passage for which you have the audio, listen, read and speak at the same time, it worked very good for me, my weak point is also listening :)

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Lena8
6 hours ago, GabrielaVD said:

Also, something I learned while studying in China, my teacher often told us that in order to listen more, you have take like a dialogue or passage for which you have the audio, listen, read and speak at the same time, it worked very good for me, my weak point is also listening

Well, I tried to do that, but my problem is that the first times, when I try to say what I've heard, I get stuck or talk gibberish, because there are quite a few words I don't catch, and later, after having read the dialogue several times, I'm able to repeat what it is being said but not because my listening skills, but due to my memory, so I'm a little lost.

 

Another query I have is if your ear gets soon used to grasp Chinese and discern words once you arrive in China, and how much time passes till you are able to fully understand what Chinese people say.

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GabrielaVD
11 hours ago, Lena8 said:

but due to my memory, so I'm a little lost

Yeah, its a process, the main point is to get used to the sound of the words. This exercise helped me a lot because there are a lot of chinese sounds there are not in my language. I am sure there are other exercises you can practice, I was just talking on my experience is this is the one that helped me the most  :)

 

11 hours ago, Lena8 said:

your ear gets soon used to grasp Chinese and discern words once you arrive in Chin

I guess it depends on every persons skills, and how much you study and practice, too. Personally, it took me around 6 months to start to understand. Its much more easier to understand Chinese in class, but once you are out in the city or traveling is totally different to be honest. 

Also, I am a native Spanish speaker, and Chinese and Spanish are totally different, but I had classmates from other Asian countries who did not have much trouble to get soon used to grasp Chinese.

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mungouk

btw @Lena8 — HSK 4 is a significantly higher level than HSK 3.  As you move up a level in the series of tests the vocabulary required approximately doubles each time, it's not a linear progression.

 

Plus at HSK 4 you only get to hear each sentence in the listening section once, not twice as with levels 1-3,  and in the reading section you only get 35 mins to answer 40 questions, so you need to have a good reading speed by this point.

 

There's nothing to stop you aiming for Level 4 right now, but you would probably want to make a decision nearer the time on whether to go for Level 3 instead.  Or you could even sit both on the same day if you're particularly masochistic!

 

Doing Level 2 some months before Level 3, and/or Level 3 long before Level 4 would also give you a bit of experience of sitting the test, which would help, especially if you would benefit from the shorter-term goals to stay motivated and on track.

 

 

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Lena8
On 10/9/2018 at 11:30 AM, mungouk said:

Doing Level 2 some months before Level 3, and/or Level 3 long before Level 4 would also give you a bit of experience of sitting the test, which would help, especially if you would benefit from the shorter-term goals to stay motivated and on track.

 

 

Yep, I thought about doing exams gradually in short periods of time for the reasons you say, and I'll probably do that.

 

On 10/9/2018 at 11:30 AM, mungouk said:

Plus at HSK 4 you only get to hear each sentence in the listening section once, not twice as with levels 1-3,  and in the reading section you only get 35 mins to answer 40 questions, so you need to have a good reading speed by this point.

 

Here I have a query, at each level which kind of things I should understand perfectly when listening and what things I should be able to read quickly?

 

On 10/9/2018 at 11:30 AM, mungouk said:

There's nothing to stop you aiming for Level 4 right now, but you would probably want to make a decision nearer the time on whether to go for Level 3 instead.  Or you could even sit both on the same day if you're particularly masochistic!

 

No, I'm not that masochistic... Better one exam at a time :wink:

 

Many many thanks for your advices! :)

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Lena8
On 10/9/2018 at 12:11 AM, GabrielaVD said:

I guess it depends on every persons skills, and how much you study and practice, too. Personally, it took me around 6 months to start to understand. Its much more easier to understand Chinese in class, but once you are out in the city or traveling is totally different to be honest. 

 

Absolutely right! The outside world is by far more challenging. In class it seems my Chinese is progressing well, but once I get out of class, I don't understand even a bit of what Chinese people say... :wallPero bueno, ¡todo es echarle ganas y seguir practicando! :D

 

Thank you so much for your answers and support! :)

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mungouk
10 hours ago, Lena8 said:

at each level which kind of things I should understand perfectly when listening and what things I should be able to read quickly?

 

It's hard to answer those questions generally... obviously there is specific vocabulary being tested but even then, as you move up the levels they do throw in words you may not know.  There are specific grammar points added at each level too.  Both of these are covered in the textbooks.

 

Given the limited time you have to answer, you don't need to understand everything perfectly... For the listening part in HSK 2 and 3 at least you're more listening for keywords, although some of the sneakier questions can catch you out this way.

 

Similarly with the longer readings, unless you're a fast reader you may need to quickly scan some texts to get the gist. Some of the questions are of the form "in general, what is this text about?", rather than having to work out the logic of what's going on. 

 

For listening, check out some of the sample tests on youtube — I've found that many of these have much better quality audio than some of the MP3s out there you can download.

 

For reading and "writing", download some of the sample test papers from http://www.chinesetest.cn/godownload.do or try some of the online mock tests discussed elsewhere. 

 

I also wrote up my experience of doing the HSK 3 online test and some reflections on preparation, and @Paradox added notes on their experience of an HSK 4 online test.

 

For a general introduction to the format of the tests, Xiao Min's guides on youtube (levels 3-6 only) are useful.

 

 

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Lena8

@mungouk Your experience is really helpful! I'll do all the mock tests before taking the exam in order to read faster and will think about strategies for the reading section!

 

Thank you so much for the resources and for your help, much appreciated!! :) :) 

 

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