hsk4: done!

so, finally, after months of studying, i’ve passed the hsk4! hurray!

the writing part didn’t go too well because of technical problems — there’s a section in which you should drag parts of the sentence into the correct order, and the trackpad of the mac decided not to work at the 11th hour… but even then, 228/300 is a pretty neat result.

level four is supposed to bring you to a level in which you can:

“Discuss a relatively wide range of topics in Chinese and are capable of communicating with Chinese speakers at a high standard.”

i’m not so sure about that though… it’s one thing to study for an exam, but conversation and free writing on different topics are a different ball game and i feel like 1200 words is barely enough to scratch the surface of communication. also, the exam does not include a speaking section, and so i’ve neglected my own speaking in favor of writing and reading.

next steps? for now i’d like to relax, start reading more and maybe get back to doing tandem sessions with chinese speakers to improve my speaking. 加油 me! :)


a lack of eyes that find beauty

been doing a few mock exams lately, to prepare for the HSK test and stumbled on this reading passage was in one of them:

“有人说, 很难在自己熟悉的地点发现 美丽的景色。 这说明对 自己越熟悉的东西,往往越没有新鲜感, 也就很难发现它的美丽之处。 所以生活中不是缺少美, 而是缺少发现美的眼睛.”

Some people say that it is difficult to find beautiful scenery in a place you are familiar with. This shows that the more familiar you are, the less fresh it is, the harder it is to discover its beauty. So life is not lacking beauty, but there is a lack of eyes that find beauty.

how distractingly poetic, for a language exam! :|

in china


in case of emergency

a couple of months ago i thought that since i was leaving china soon and had been studying chinese for 1 year and a half, i might as well have some sort of certification. so, at my teachers advice, i registered for the hsk (the standard chinese test for non-native speakers, also called the chinese toefl), but on the basic level, because i hadn’t done any specific preparation for this test. to take the test on the basic level you have to know around 800 characters/1033 words.

so last month, i did the test along with a lot of other hopeful students. it’s a multiple choice test from beginning to end, and it has 3 parts: listening, grammar and reading comprehension. the first 2 parts are ok, but the texts they put on the reading comprehension part are really hard, some of them i was completely clueless… i honestly can’t understand the difficulty gap between the three parts. why would they make a reasonably easy test and then make the last part 100 times harder? :|

anyway, a month later, ladies and gentlemen, i am very proud to announce that i’ve passed the HSK exam! :D i was given a level 2 grade, which translates in

“The candidate has acquired the basic (middle) Chinese competence that can meet the demand of basic daily life, a certain range of social communication and study to some degree. “

yay! i’m really happy about this, and it’s a big motivation for me to keep learning chinese elsewhere. perhaps in a couple of years i’ll be ready for the intermediate exam. :)