Ideas on language learning – preparing for Chinese test HSK

I just got the results for the Chinese test HSK that I took 2 weeks ago.

The good news is that I passed.

The decision to take the test was taken spontaneously. I didn’t practice my Chinese for a very long time and I wanted to try something new. Here’s what I did.

I had only 3 weeks to prepare myself for the test. There are 1,300 new words for the level 5 of HSK (for a total of 2,500 words and 1,685 characters).

I always promote copying of native speakers using audio and video recordings during language learning. However, in the past I used dictionaries quite a lot after this copying step was over.

In one interview John Grinder mentions that using word lists is bad. So this time I intentionally decided to NOT use a dictionary to find out the meaning of the words. Everything that I did during these 3 weeks was Chinese-only.

I used only audio recordings in combination with text as learning materials. I listened a lot and typed what I was hearing.

It was quite intense – I guess at least 4 hours a day for three weeks.

By the end of my preparation, I got a good idea about the meaning of about 30% of 1,300 new words. For the rest of them, I kinda had a feeling of the meaning, but not always.

I almost didn’t do any preparation for the reading. That is I didn’t read a lot of texts. During the reading section of the exam, I just scanned the text with my eyes (speed-reading) that gave me a vague idea of what was written on the page. And then I read much more carefully the questions and the answers and I took the best guess. I was 100% sure of the answer maybe just in 2 or 3 questions out of 45. And I got 52% of answers right.

My overall score was 62%:

  • listening – 76%
  • writing – 58%
  • reading – 52%

Overall I think it was the fastest language learning that I ever experienced in the past.