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Chinese Goose

The Coursera HSK 4 courses

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Chinese Goose

Hello everyone, I am currently 1 chapter away from completing my HSK 3 textbook and I'm pretty happy with it since I self-studied Chinese from the beginning and had no tutor throughout my journey.

I have stumbled across a new resource by the Peking Uni courses on Coursera and was quite impressed with the reviews and that it is completely free. Until I saw the length of the course was only 10 weeks, requiring you to learn over 88 words by the first week, not to mention grammar structures. I was quite over-whelmed and possibly scared from this course due to its short amount of time. I have my HSK 4 standard textbooks and workbooks but I want to also benefit from this opportunity. Should I just go with the coursera course and finish it then afterwards finish my textbooks? or do I do vice versa or do I just not enroll in that course at all? Thanks in advance!

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mungouk

Welcome to the forums. Are you planning on taking the HSK 3 test?

 

As for the HSK 4 course, if it's anything like the Coursera HSK 3 course then I'm not sure if you absolutely must complete it in only 10 weeks, or whether you can take up to 6 months? 

 

Edit: It looks like the video content is on youtube in any case. Or at least, there's a playlist for weeks 1-5 with 5 lessons in each.

 

 

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mungouk

Ha... I just took a look at the Coursera HSK 4 MOOC and it seems I'm already enrolled. I've no idea when that happened.

 

Honestly, MOOCs are like ebooks for me... I download them or sign up and then forget all about them.

 

Actually, starting at Week 6 with the practice stuff, and the lessons talking a bit about exam technique, is just what I need right now, so thanks for bringing this up @Chinese Goose !

 

 

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Chinese Goose
6 hours ago, mungouk said:

Are you planning on taking the HSK 3 test?

 

No, I just like using the HSK syllabus as a measuring line and also because I like the structure of the HSK standard books

6 hours ago, mungouk said:

Edit: It looks like the video content is on Youtube in any case. Or at least, there's a playlist for weeks 1-5 with 5 lessons in each.


Thanks for this I didn't know about that!

 

5 hours ago, mungouk said:

Ha... I just took a look at the Coursera HSK 4 MOOC and it seems I'm already enrolled. I've no idea when that happened.

 

Honestly, MOOCs are like ebooks for me... I download them or sign up and then forget all about them.

 

Actually, starting at Week 6 with the practice stuff, and the lessons talking a bit about exam technique, is just what I need right now, so thanks for bringing this up

 

Anytime! I just don't know if I should choose this course and continue with it as my main study method. It seems too intense but people kept giving it 5 star reviews so I thought I may have a problem, I seriously like the HSK standard books and can't study without them but I don't know which one to do first or which one to ditch and just forget about.

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ChTTay
10 hours ago, Chinese Goose said:

requiring you to learn over 88 words by the first week, not to mention grammar structures.

Compared to Chinese language courses taught at Chinese University they’re going extremely light. I just mean language courses, not degrees or anything. I remember studying at Tsinghua for 2 semesters and drowning in characters for the whole time. Even if about 20% stay In you still end up learning a whole lot. My point is the Chinese teachers probably think this is a manageable number. 
 

if you’ve only just finished the HSK 3 book then why not just do the HSK 3 test? 
 

After that I’d probably use the textbooks at your own pace. Towards the end do this HSK4 course to refresh grammar points and get some exam prep ideas.

 

The coursera and other MOOCs for Chinese come around again and again. They’re always available. There isn’t any time pressure on signing up. 

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Chinese Goose

@ChTTay Thanks for the bundle of very valuable information dude, I understand that people usually learn more than this but I am just taking my own and not preparing for any exam or anything. Learning the language completely for fun :). I'm probably gonna go with your opinion and take this course as a review rather than my main study method, thanks for the all the help again, much appreciated! 

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ChTTay
7 hours ago, Chinese Goose said:

people usually learn more than this but I am just taking my own

I didn’t mean to infer anything about your own learning! I was just trying to give some more context! Sorry if it came across less-than-positive. 
 

If you’ve studied for HSK3 using the books... definitely take the exam! It’s a nice way to show (yourself) you’ve made some great progress. I did HSK4 in 2014. It was a good experience. 
 

Absolutely don’t feel time pressure regarding those MOOCs. Do it when it really suits you. 

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Chinese Goose
3 hours ago, ChTTay said:

I didn’t mean to infer anything about your own learning! I was just trying to give some more context! Sorry if it came across less-than-positive.

 

Oh no sorry, you I may have misinterpreted what I wanted to say (English is not my native language) But I was definitely not annoyed by your comment, if anything it gave me valuable information.

3 hours ago, ChTTay said:

Absolutely don’t feel time pressure regarding those MOOCs. Do it when it really suits you. 

 

Up until right now, this is the best advice I've heard, thank you!

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7800
On 6/11/2020 at 9:40 AM, Chinese Goose said:

I was quite over-whelmed and possibly scared from this course due to its short amount of time.

From my experience, it's pretty doable. You'll only need around 30 minutes to finish each day's activities, and some 30 minutes more to review vocabulary from previous days. I didn't find the classes difficult, but I already knew around 40% of the new vocabulary beforehand, so maybe you'll need to invest a little bit more of time every day.

 The most important part, in my opinion, is to have a solid basis. Like, if you're too far from those 300/300 on HSK 3, maybe it's better to master that before going forward. My personal goal was 270/300 when I sat for HSK 3. I know you're not going for the certificate, but try to give it a go at home just to see how you do.
 Also, we all know that HSK has a format that is a little bit too easy for some people, so you might go well on the test but not really know how to use that vocabulary. If you feel that way, I'd recomend you to give Hello Talk a try, or to have a look on Mandarin Companion Level 1 graded readers.

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Chinese Goose

@7800

11 hours ago, 7800 said:

From my experience, it's pretty doable. You'll only need around 30 minutes to finish each day's activities, and some 30 minutes more to review vocabulary from previous days


Other members said it's pretty doable too so I think I'll do a mix of both, maybe even memorize some words from an anki deck beforehand so I have an advantage

 

11 hours ago, 7800 said:

 Also, we all know that HSK has a format that is a little bit too easy for some people


That's also true, although it isn't the hardest but it acts like a measuring tool for your proficiency at least for me.

 

11 hours ago, 7800 said:

I'd recomend you to give Hello Talk a try,


Oof, I tried that for one week and all I met were 12 year olds, sadly It just doesn't work for me and the time difference is HUGE

 

11 hours ago, 7800 said:

or to have a look on Mandarin Companion Level 1 graded readers.


Yeah I definitely have those so I'll try them out nowadays to brush up on my vocab. Thanks for all the advice, much appreciated!

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7800
5 hours ago, Chinese Goose said:

Oof, I tried that for one week and all I met were 12 year olds, sadly It just doesn't work for me and the time difference is HUGE

Yeah, I guess that can happen... In my case, I had to frequently run away from the Chinese girls who'd think of me as their boyfriend after 1h of chatting, for unknown reasons. Still, some people can have a strike of luck and find a nice language partner.

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7800

So, I've taken this course from start to finish. I'll leave my opinion here just in case someone wants to read a fair and detailed review in the future.

I rate this course 4/5. The teachers seem nice, it's easy to follow, it doesn't take too much time, it almost doesn't stray away from HSK 4 vocabulary. It helped me. I recommend it.

Now, the HSK 4 course from PKU also has its problems:
1) A few (indeed few) words taught are not HSK 4 level. Some 10~20 words in the whole course are HSK 3 level, HSK 5 level, or non-HSK words. No big problem, but it would sometimes confuse me as I'd try to keep track of how many words I still had to learn, and I wouldn't find some of the newly learnt words on my list, the official HSK vocabulary list.
2)The video lessons are short. You'll only be taught how to use each word in a single way, and you'll definitely have to complement your studies looking for more examples on your own, as most words can be used in more than a single way. Also, you won't be taught the difference between synonyms such as 准时, 及时, 按时, you'll have to look that up too.
3)The course basically doesn't help you with the writing part, there's very little information about it, but that's somewhat expected since it's a free online course; there's no one to correct your writing.
4)The last 4 weeks of the course were poorly designed. You won't learn anything new at this point, only do some exercises to practice what you learned on past weeks and listen to some explanations about how the test works. The problem is that watching the daily video lesson plus doing such exercises takes 15 minutes a day, which is too little. Everything you're supposed to do in those 4 weeks can easily be done in less than a week. I actually did it in 3 days.
5)There are no practice tests. Solving 5 questions feels a lot different from solving 100. You'll have to do the training by yourself to be truly prepared for the test. I did one practice exam every weekend. At first my results weren't that nice, but it helps to see the progress at least.
6)Not all HSK 4  words are taught. Actually, out of the 600 new words required for the test, 179 words are left out. A little bit too much. Some of them you probably already know, like 帅, some are better left ignored, like 传真, and some do appear in the middle of some exercises at some point in the course (and might be quickly mentioned by one of the teachers). Still, at least 100 words are left completely unexplained, most of which are pretty useful. I'll try to attach an Excel file to this post, it should contain all words that cannot be found in any word list in this course.

HSK 4 - Missing Words (Coursera).xlsx

Overall, the course is fine, it's worth your time, but you can't expect it to do everything for you.

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mungouk
42 minutes ago, 7800 said:

4)The last 4 weeks of the course were poorly designed. You won't learn anything new at this point, only do some exercises to practice what you learned on past weeks and listen to some explanations about how the test works.

 

If weeks 7-10 were designed to be a review and discussion of exam techniques, then actually I think they are pretty reasonable.

 

In fact, I only did these last 4 weeks as part of my preparation for the HSK 4 exam, and I found them quite useful.

 

That said, I agree with most of the above... this course isn't going to get you through HSK 4 on its own. Nowhere near.

 

I liked the teachers... their speech is clear and their manner is friendly. 

 

On the other hand, I had a quick look at the PKU HSK 5 course on Coursera last week and the first video was pretty awful... a different teacher who didn't seem very prepared and wasn't expressing his ideas clearly. It didn't encourage me to continue.

 

42 minutes ago, 7800 said:

some are better left ignored, like 传真,

 

Oh, I don't know about that... I'm fairly sure it's come up in mock exams that I've done. Or maybe it was the 复印机 that was broken...

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Moshen
Quote

On the other hand, I had a quick look at the PKU HSK 5 course on Coursera last week and the first video was pretty awful.

That whole HSK 5 course is completely awful - nothing like the Coursera HSK 4 course in structure or approach.  Too bad.  I posted extensive comments on it somewhere else in this forum, if I remember correctly.

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7800
58 minutes ago, mungouk said:

If weeks 7-10 were designed to be a review and discussion of exam techniques, then actually I think they are pretty reasonable.

 

In fact, I only did these last 4 weeks as part of my preparation for the HSK 4 exam, and I found them quite useful.

 

It seems I'm still not good at sounding amicable in English. This "you won't learn anything new" part isn't supposed to be a complaint, it's just a statement, reviewing is ok. The problem is that, in the first weeks, the daily activities take around 50 minutes to be completed if you're taking them seriously and trying to learn the most out of them. In the last 4 weeks, suddenly, the amount of work you do drops to less than a third of what it was before. The material is adequate, but it's not enough for 4 whole weeks. They should have made those 4 weeks into 2.

 

 

58 minutes ago, mungouk said:

Oh, I don't know about that... I'm fairly sure it's come up in mock exams that I've done.

Indeed, for testing purposes they might be necessary, I don't know if these outdated words still show up on the real tests or not.

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