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Pandastic

From zero to hero from no Chinese proficency to HSK 6 in one year!

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Pandastic

I was searching if anybody tried to succeed getting an HSK 6 degree with no prior language knowldge in a year and found no results.

Nobody thinks that this is possible.

Well for everybody there who might be searching this, i will be writting my journey here.

What do you think is it possible ?

Any useful books,workbooks, flashvards you can recomend so i can learn it faster ?

 

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DavyJonesLocker

All these claims seem to come from word of mouth, internet claims , language schools, sales pitch etc. 

 

Having lived in China for near 5 years now and had these discussions with many language leaners , everyone I met had the same view. There are a lot of eyebrow raising claims in regards to passing HSK6 within one year. Often background information is conveniently left out like the students having Chinese parents  HK native etc. 

 

I don't understand this mentality tbh , I learn the language because I enjoy the learning process, like to communicate using the language , the culture  etc not to collect certificates taking shortcuts. If it's hsk 4 or 5 where you need if for a job, university application etc then passing an exam makes sense.

 

I never really understood why one can pass language by just getting the gist of what's going on. I tried HSK5 mock exams, passed it but in all honesty I can't truthfully say I understood the story. Just picked up a keyword 

 

Depends on your reason for studying the language I suppose.

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thechamp

In my experience and from people I've met - I think it's impossible for a westerner with no prior language to get from 0 to HSK 6 in one year. Perhaps if they were already fluent in Japanese and so could already recognise a lot of characters.

 

By all means try this to give yourself a lofty goal, but I think most on here would be pretty sceptical that you will do it. Also, you might end up functionally worse at Chinese if you do this than if you just studied the language intensively in a normal way. The HSK tests very specific aspects of your language ability and has some fairly esoteric vocabulary in its wordlists so studying purely from that exam you will have some slightly odd Chinese at the end but if it's really motivating to you to try - go ahead!

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Pandastic

DavyJonesLocker , thechamp  the thing is this Seprember I'm going to study chinese language in a chinese university for a whole year. I need to get to HSK level 5 and then move on to a major I like the next year in September. I already have an HSK level 2 degree but that was one year ago so I have forgoten most of the characters (lets say I can read 150 characters but no more and write maybe 50 so I'm still closer to zero rather than level one)

I think it will be in my benefit to learn the language as much as i can and I'm not saying that I will only try to pass the exams but rather know and understand almost everything that HSK 6 learners can.

Like you said everyone is sceptical about this so I'm determined to prove to everyone that this is doable(In one year I may regret my chosen words for this but what the heck I'm going to try it )

Wish me luck ! And thanks for your feedback : D 

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Pandastic

For anybody who can help for text books and workbooks feel free to send me a link or something that you think may help me even though i have some already.

If you know any books that are for HSK level 3 (and above but please state it )in chinese like novels or something tell me their name or if you have a link or pdf it would be great if you sent it. Thanks :)

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Shelley
20 minutes ago, Pandastic said:

I already have an HSK level 2 degree but that was one year ago so I have forgoten most of the characters (lets say I can read 150 characters but no more and write maybe 50 so I'm still closer to zero rather than level one)

This is not zero. This is something.

 

It will be like riding a bike, you will remember it and make better progress than if you actually had zero.

 

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thechamp

Is there a special kind of Chinese scholarship where they give you a free degree if you can pass HSK 5 in one year?

 

This question has been asked on here at least 5 times now and I just think maybe someone should try and put a list together of like 'Things to do if you want to get to HSK 5 as fast as possible' based on previous answers to this question.

 

I'm sure the answers have always been along the lines of 'it is maybe, maybe possible but would be extremely hard and your Chinese will be weird and you still won't be prepared for your degree when you start'. I'm sure there have been people commenting on previous versions of this exact question.

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ChTTay
10 minutes ago, thechamp said:

Is there a special kind of Chinese scholarship where they give you a free degree if you can pass HSK 5 in one year?

It’s just a prerequisite for doing a Chinese language degree course. You need at least HSK 5 to start. Often you have a one year foundation course to get yourself up to that level. 

 

The only guys I ever saw make this kind of jump were a couple of Vietnamese guys I went to Tsinghua with. They went from about HSK 2 to 6 (and beyond) within 2 semesters. Think they remember telling me Vietnamese has more than 5 tones so I’m sure that helped.

 

As for the OP’s questions on books, there is a range of dedicated HSK textbooks for each level. They’re mentioned a million times on here if you search HSK. If your goal is passing the HSK just use those and get the workbooks as well. They come in two books per level (上 and 下). 

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mkmyers45

I started studying Chinese (from scratch) in October of last year and i have already passed the HSK 5. A lot of the advice you have received here are actually very good and will be wise to follow them. If my assumption is right you're probably going to starting attending (undergraduate) classes in Chinese from September of 2020, As ZhangKaiRong has earlier stated it would be much more profitable for you to branch from HSK 5 into technical vocab from your major.

 

Although you will naturally be picking up HSK 6 vocabulary that are either crucial to your major, you'll need to describe ideas or generally all round words you'll run into just by living in china and it will definitely help improve your Chinese but maybe don't be in a hurry to sit the HSK 6. I will be starting major courses for a masters degree course this September and i've been spending my time after passing the HSK 5 majorly on assimilating subject-specific vocabulary related to my field of study and its already paying off huge dividends and i hope i will transition more smoothly once i start classes. On the other hand, i have also been been adding HSK 6 vocab to anki during this period and if i needed to i could 加油 and probably pass the HSK 6 in October (a year after starting) but it most likely will be just a pass and not a good use of my time or money.

 

You also have to consider the fact that the 5,000 word hsk 6 list is a more or less a baseline and being comfortable enough to pass the exam will probably require in the order of about 8,000 words (a goal that is nigh impossible to reach in one year while also nailing down needed grammar points). Moreover its not a sprint but a marathon and the value of just passing at this stage is fairly overrated but fair to say that knowing all the words from the HSK 6 is a good medium term (2 years?) plan as you delve more and more into native content but at the moment the drawbacks will outweigh the benefits and its probably better using that effort to better prepare yourself to 听得懂 专业的讲座。

 

Whatever path you choose for the next year good luck and RIP your social life 

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mungouk
47 minutes ago, mkmyers45 said:

I starting studying Chinese (from scratch) in October of last year and i have already passed the HSK 5.

 

This kind of claim doesn't really tell us much unless you explain how many hours a week you were studying.  I can't see anyone holding down a job and doing this, for example.

 

Similarly, what does "from scratch" mean exactly?  Did you already know Cantonese (I'm guessing English isn't your first language), or was this the first foreign language you ever learned?  There's a big continuum there, and prior experience with learning other languages counts for a lot.

 

 

 

 

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mungouk
3 hours ago, ChTTay said:

If your goal is passing the HSK just use those and get the workbooks as well. They come in two books per level (上 and 下). 

 

+1... I've been using these books since HSK 3 and they work well for me.  There are both textbook and workbooks; the workbooks help you to review the grammar and vocab as well as presenting mock tests similar to the HSK exams. 

 

FWIW... the 上 / 下 thing only kicks in when you reach HSK 4, when each book has 10 chapters at each level, and so 20 chapters in total for the level.  The HSK 1-3 books just have 10 chapters each. 

 

The workbooks are definitely worth having because they present simplified tests in sequence using the vocabulary you've already learned at each level. This is most useful once you start on HSK 4 and above because there's a lot more vocab to learn at that level (about 30 in each chapter for HSK 4, and presumably it keeps on doubling with each level).  

Both the textbooks and the workbooks also come with CDs (why? it's 2019) with MP3 audio on them that can be used for a whole variety of listening exercises. 

 

 

 

 

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FatimaAdnan

I think it is very much doable, as long as you put in enough time and effort. I started with NO background knowledge (literally no prior knowledge at all), and completed HSK 4 within 6 months of full time study... at the time I am studying for HSK 5 and hopefully once I pass that, will start with HSK 6. If all goes as planned (which is hard to predict since HSK 5 is a big jump from HSK 4 and I am already afraid I won't pass the exam), then I should be done with HSK 6 in a year! (From zero to hero hehe)

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ZhangKaiRong
1 hour ago, FatimaAdnan said:

 

I think it is very much doable, as long as you put in enough time and effort. I started with NO background knowledge (literally no prior knowledge at all), and completed HSK 4 within 6 months of full time study... at the time I am studying for HSK 5 and hopefully once I pass that, will start with HSK 6. If all goes as planned (which is hard to predict since HSK 5 is a big jump from HSK 4 and I am already afraid I won't pass the exam), then I should be done with HSK 6 in a year! (From zero to hero hehe)

 

That’s a nice achievement, congratz! From scratch to HSK4 is quite stretch in half a year, though it is doable.

The leap from 4 to 5 is a big one, and from 5 to 6 is an even bigger one (and this already assumes effeciency in your studying methods). This is why many of us is skeptical about the possibility to do it, and even more skeptical about how much of the HSK6 content can be retained after such a rush, especially with regards to the different skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking). The main flipside of HSK cramming is that even though you can understand the characters you come across, it comes at the expense of neglecting speaking and efficient listening, and it backfires massively later. I interviewed candidates with HSK 5 and 6 at my firm for Chinese-speaking roles, and most of them were quite disappointing when they had to chat or when they had to summarize a non-Chinese article for me in Chinese (and they performed quite well in summarizing Chinese articles in English).

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imron
2 hours ago, ZhangKaiRong said:

The leap from 4 to 5 is a big one, and from 5 to 6 is an even bigger one

Just looking at the vocab requirements, 4->5 contains the same amount of vocab as 1->4.   5->6 contains the same amount of vocab as 1->5.

 

In other words, to go from 4->5 you need to double your vocab.  To go from 5->6 you need to double your vocab again.

 

Then there are all the other non-vocab related skills that others have mentioned.

 

It's not impossible, but it's a lot of hard work over a sustained period of time.

 

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mkmyers45
12 hours ago, mungouk said:

This kind of claim doesn't really tell us much unless you explain how many hours a week you were studying.  I can't see anyone holding down a job and doing this, for example.

 

Similarly, what does "from scratch" mean exactly?  Did you already know Cantonese (I'm guessing English isn't your first language), or was this the first foreign language you ever learned?  There's a big continuum there, and prior experience with learning other languages counts for a lot

 

13 hours ago, mkmyers45 said:

I will be starting major courses for a masters degree course this September and i've been spending my time after passing the HSK 5 majorly on assimilating subject-specific vocabulary related to my field of study and its already paying off huge dividends and i hope i will transition more smoothly once i start classes.

 

It is of course nigh impossible to hold down a job and pass the HSK 5 in 8-ish months, although i may not have stated it clearly but i basically study full time. English is my first language (I don't know any cantonese) and i have some experience learning some french. Based on my experience however, studying in a full-time intensive program makes it possible to blaze through the HSK levels but my point was not to just throw around a claim but to question the need to be in such a rush. 

 

He/she is starting a study program in Chinese after the mandatory one year foundation language program (a similar situation to mine) so that's why i felt its imperative to point out that while the task is achievable based on my experience, its better use of time to pursue a strategy that will make his/her subsequent years studying in Chinese a much more enjoyable experience. 

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thechamp

This is really impressive to get to HSK 5 in 8 months!

 

When I lived in China (going back five years now) there wasn't anyone I met who was Western and achieving that (I heard of Korean people and Japanese but never Westerners).

 

What's changed? Were all these people studying more 'standard' materials whereas now that there are these special scholarship opportunities, people are going all out on the HSK? I can imagine if you started learning, purely with the HSK in mind, it might be quite different.

 

I guess it's like the foreign people cramming for TOEFL

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FatimaAdnan
8 hours ago, ZhangKaiRong said:

The main flipside of HSK cramming

I totally agree with all that u have said above. As you correctly pointed out, merely passing the HSK hardly enables a person to speak much. I recently went to China and even though I could understand most of the conversations, but, not much to my surprise, I had a lot of difficulty speaking fluently. Speaking is an altogether different skill set, and speaking skills can only be developed in one way: Speaking! 

As regards the non-Chinese article, once again, the HSK only trains us to understand and comprehend Chinese material, and there is no section (not even on the HSK 5 or 6 exam) where we have to translate or summarize from English to Chinese. 

 

I should like to add here that it also depends on how much guidance a person has... Whether or not one can hire a native teacher, or at least get guidance from a local who speaks the standard version, and of course, whether a person has access to the requisite books.. I personally feel that a lot of my time could have been saved if i didn't have to spend so much time on learning the basics from various youtube channels.. perhaps, if I had to do it again, I would just hire a professional tutor and ask to be taught all the basics. The main problem that I faced while self studying was that at times, I didn't even know what it is that I should be focusing on as a beginner (radicals, stroke order, pinyin, vocab, Hanzi?). In fact, it was not until much later that I realized what point there is in learning radicals... because I still remember clearly, there was a time when I just couldn't figure out what on earth the concept of radicals entailed! With the benefit of hindsight, I can now say that it is perhaps best for a beginner to simply ignore the list of radicals initially unless someone can help u understand the point of learning them. 

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DavyJonesLocker

I wonder what the distribution is like for  passing a HSK level is a certain time frame. Everyone likes these success stories but these are the exception rather than an indication of the average learner. I have heard a lot of BS claims over the years, and one in particular was from my language school where they claimed a student (American not ABC) passed HSK 6 in a year. Everyone was naturally highly impressed until I questioned it publicly on a wechat group  as to why this student had we chat moments going back 5 years written in pretty good Chinese. 

(The excuse was his wife was helping him, yeah right!)

 

I quite dislike these blatant exaggerations as it's very misleading for prospective students who commit a lot to learn Chinese,such as moving country, large expenses, completely changing lifestyle, and so on.

 

I'd say HSK 4 from scratch in one year is achievable by the average student but I think the distribution is quite wide. I certainly couldn't pass it within a year full time study nor could both of  classmates (45 and 75). We were particularly slow though

 

As for HSK5 within a year I really don't know if there are any stats available . I'd hazard a guess at 1 in 8 , 1 in 10 or so. Just a guess though. Also a 180 set as a pass mark is too low in my view.

 

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mkmyers45
1 hour ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

As for HSK5 within a year I really don't know if there are any stats available . I'd hazard a guess at 1 in 8 , 1 in 10 or so. Just a guess though. Also a 180 set as a pass mark is too low in my view.

 

I agree with both your points here about the odds generally being low even for full time students, also most kongzi institutes set their HSK 5 pass mark at 210/220 depending on the institute. 

 

3 hours ago, thechamp said:

What's changed? Were all these people studying more 'standard' materials whereas now that there are these special scholarship opportunities, people are going all out on the HSK? I can imagine if you started learning, purely with the HSK in mind, it might be quite different.

 

 

I can't say for sure but a combination of people being more laser focused on the HSK, better books, higher use of technology in learning and probably the fact that courses are now more intensive sure helps a lot.

 

@ChTTay What percentage of those in your class were able to pass the HSK 5 in two semesters?

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