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Artur_阿图

HSKK Intermediate

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Artur_阿图

Hey, guys! I'm gonna pass the HSKK Intermediate exam in 2 weeks. Do you have any tips on how to prepare for it? And maybe any lifehacks that can be used during the exam? 

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mungouk

Hi @Artur_阿图, welcome to the forums!  I'm also sitting HSKK 中级 on 2nd December.

 

There's been a bit of discussion over on this thread.  

 

Presumably you've got hold of some of the sample tests that are available online?  (Some of them have accompanying MP3 audio as well.)

 

 

Vocabulary

 

It's written in various places that for 中级 you need to have a vocabulary of 900 words, half-way between the 600 for HSK 3 and 1200 for HSK 4. Unfortunately what those 900 words actually are doesn't seem to be listed anywhere.

 

Having done several mock tests now, I have concluded that in terms of vocabulary, you ideally need to know all the HSK 4 vocab.   Maybe you already do?

 

My teacher and I had finished Chapter 6 out of 10 in the first HSK 4上 book, around 30% of the HSK 4 vocab in total, and I kept finding that during the listen-and-repeat section I was coming across words I hadn't learned yet which made the sentences much harder to remember and repeat.  So I've recently started blasting through the rest of the 600 HSK 4 words trying to learn them all before the HSKK.

 

I've been using two memrise courses for this, because they follow the same sequence as the standard textbooks, with 20-30 words per chapter. (4上4下.)Unfortunately, as with many memrise courses they're full of mistakes (especially chapters 17-20 for some reason), but once I've covered everything I will switch to using StickyStudy instead.  I just couldn't face using it to start learning 600 words all in alphabetical pinyin order!

 

 

Section1: listen and repeat

 

It has been suggested that to train for this first section (Q1-10) it would be useful to "shadow" lots of the sentences, in others words load them up in software that will let you repeat them, such as Audacity, and practice listening and repeating the same sentence over and over until you've got it.  I've tried a bit of this but need to really do lots more.

 

 

Section 2: describing 2 pictures

 

For Q11 and Q12, where you have to describe a picture, my teacher told me to invent a little story about the people in the picture.  (They always contain people.)  Initially she said I should expect to use vocab from work, life, business and shopping.

 

Just today I decided to look at the 10 sample tests I have, to see what areas apply to the pictures.  Here's the result.  The numbers show how many times the applicable area applies.

 

  • travel, transport 5
  • domestic life 4
  • studying, work/business 3  (pictures of people at desks with computers etc — could be either.)
  • friends, relationships 3
  • sport, fitness 3
  • doctor, illness 2
  • emotions 2 (thinking about it this applies to most pics; there's always a chance to say how people are feeling.)
  • shopping 2

 

For example where there's a picture of someone/people with luggage, if you have good vocabulary on travel, planes, hotels, buying tickets etc then you can easily make up a story about that.

 

 

Section 3: extended response to 2 questions

 

For Q13 and Q14 you have a question written in Hanzi and Pinyin and you need to come up with an extended answer.  Some of these questions are about fairly abstract concepts, for example:

 

230303126_ScreenShot2018-11-19at22_15_08.thumb.png.7ef425a341935ffd8da0ff0fe8af92a6.png

 

and some of them ask you about a saying (I find these the hardest, because you need to understand the meaning of the saying):

 

646772321_ScreenShot2018-11-19at22_16_48.thumb.png.a768d5bfc280e9aef9db56c002ff8973.png

 

My teacher advised me that when answering the more abstract questions, you can make it a bit easier/longer by also describing examples in concrete terms, for example from your own experience (or make something up). These also support your opinions. 

 

That's a quick brain-dump of what I've gleaned so far from the last 3 weeks of preparation.  I'd be interested to hear more!

 

 

 

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agewisdom
On 11/19/2018 at 6:10 PM, Artur_阿图 said:

Hey, guys! I'm gonna pass the HSKK Intermediate exam in 2 weeks. 

 

I like your attitude! I'm gonna pass, not 'take' the exams. Somewhat premature but great you're optimistic. Hope the test went well :)

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Artur_阿图

@mungouk it went pretty well! And yours? I wonder we got the same tasks or not? We got a pictures of a job interview and traffic jam, speaking tasks were "favorite book" and "how internet influence on study". And you?

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Artur_阿图

@agewisdom self-confidence is a key to success :) Yeah, it went pretty well, thanks!

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mungouk
17 hours ago, Artur_阿图 said:

We got a pictures of a job interview and traffic jam, speaking tasks were "favorite book" and "how internet influence on study". And you?

 

Yes, exactly the same questions.

 

I don't think I did very well, because it was so noisy with about 25 people all sitting close to each other and speaking loudly.

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agewisdom
4 hours ago, mungouk said:

I don't think I did very well, because it was so noisy with about 25 people all sitting close to each other and speaking loudly.

 

Hopefully they take that into account. How are you able remember and paraphrase the entire paragraph that they speak in Mandarin? Even if it was in English, it still takes some brain muscle to retain and paraphrase an entire paragraph just from memory... 🤔

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mungouk
1 hour ago, agewisdom said:

Hopefully they take that into account

 

I'm not too hopeful. On the other hand, they will have their work cut out for them even just hearing what I said, with all the noise going on in the background!

 

2 hours ago, agewisdom said:

How are you able remember and paraphrase the entire paragraph that they speak in Mandarin?

 

For HSKK 中级 you have to listen to and repeat relatively short sentences, typically 7-13 Hanzi, not whole paragraphs. 

 

Even then, hearing it only once makes it hard enough for me. I don't have a great short-term memory at the best of times.

 

 

 

 

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agewisdom
15 minutes ago, mungouk said:

For HSKK 中级 you have to listen to and repeat relatively short sentences, typically 7-13 Hanzi, not whole paragraphs. 

Even then, hearing it only once makes it hard enough for me. I don't have a great short-term memory at the best of times.

 

I see. Is it acceptable to paraphrase or will you be penalized? Guess not a big deal for relatively short sentences but the advanced level requires you to repeat quite a huge chunk of a paragraph... 😟

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mungouk

Intermediate is listen-and-repeat, verbatim.  The pingfen talks about how many errors you're able to make to earn a certain grade.  

 

Advanced sounds terrifying... you almost need to have proper interpreter skills. 

 

How people can retain that much of anything in their minds and paraphrase it blows my mind, and earns interpreters my undying respect.

 

 

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agewisdom

Thanks for sharing your experience, mungouk.

 

Advanced yeah... tough. The level of comprehension needs to be almost at the subconscious or instinctive level. You need to listen intently, understand, then paraphrase it. Unless you have a great memory and are able to cheat by repeating it verbatim like a machine. Which could work - which is why they made it especially long. :(

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mungouk

@agewisdom have you taken the advanced or are you planning to take it?

 

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agewisdom
Just now, mungouk said:

have you taken the advanced or are you planning to take it?

 

Planning to go straight into advanced in the far future. It seemed manageable compared to the written HSK as I do speak some Mandarin here at home. And I originally thought, hey... not too difficult, just repeat after me type of test.

 

Then when I saw the practice exam for the advanced, I suddenly realized it's a big hurdle. I mean, I can get the gist of what's being said. But to paraphrase it properly,  I feel:

 

1. Instead of just understanding the gist of the paragraph (say 60%), the candidate needs close to 80-90% comprehension.

2. After that, there's the problem with the short term memory and exam nerves, which may reduce that comprehension level by say -20%, so you're left with about 60-70%.

3. Then you have to paraphrase the entire paragraph and make sure the intonation is correct, so say -10%.

 

Overall, I think to score 55-60%, you need to start off with a comprehension rate of at least 90% for that section. Obviously the earlier sections may help make up for the weak scores here.

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mungouk

Yes, well given my recent conclusion about vocabulary requirements for each level, I wouldn't be surprised if 高级 requires knowing all HSK 6 vocab and a serious ability to recall and paraphrase. 

 

I "never say never", but can't really imagine reaching that level myself.

 

However:  加油!:)

 

 

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agewisdom
6 minutes ago, mungouk said:

Yes, well given my recent conclusion about vocabulary requirements for each level, I wouldn't be surprised if 高级 requires knowing all HSK 6 vocab and a serious ability to recall and paraphrase. 

 

I "never say never", but can't really imagine reaching that level myself.

 

You seem to be the person that sets very high standards for yourself. Not to worry, I'm sure you'll get there. Anyways, a lot of times it's the journey that counts. So, take it when you feel good and ready.

 

Ah... so  you feel that HSK 5 is not good enough for HSKK Advanced? Probably you might be right as I think most Examiners like to throw curve balls at students.

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mungouk

There is no proper explanation anywhere of what vocab is required for the HSKK levels. 

 

All that's published is that HSKK beginner is 200 words, intermediate is 900 words and advanced is 3000 words. Without specifying what those words are.  (Unlike the HSK tests which have published word-lists.)

 

The implication is that beginner is HSK 1-2, intermediate is HSK 3-4 and advanced is HSK 5-6.

 

My own experience of preparing for HSK intermediate was that you do really need to know all the words up to HSK 4, which is 1200 words, not really 900.

 

I think in this area Hanban could really improve on what they're telling to students.

 

 

 

 

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agewisdom

Thanks. It's good to know this beforehand.

 

Hmmm... In that case, it's going to be a long journey to HSKK Advanced. Looks like one has to be prepared to finish HSK6 before even thinking of attempting HSKK Advanced. :(

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mungouk

Well I'm only inferring from what I've learned by taking beginner and intermediate, and reading online.

 

I wonder how much impact the HSKK has anyway, in terms of obtaining jobs.

 

Personally I think the ability to communicate effectively in a day-to-day setting is more important than being able to remember long passages of text and paraphrase them, but I suppose it depends on what you're aiming to do.

 

 

 

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