One of my students just finished her HSK-level 2 Internet-based test last weekend, and she told me that she felt good about it. I was pleased to hear that from her and hope she pass it with flying colors. People decide to learn Mandarin Chinese for different reasons. As HSK exam is receiving more recognition in and outside China, more people choose to take this language proficiency exam. This student of mine is one of them. When coaching her to prepare her for this test, she asked me about the tips to learn Chinese. This is also something I promised to write about in my previous post HSK Test Prep Discovery. So, here they are.
Tip one, find the right level of exam to take. You don’t want to get more than you bargained for, but you wouldn’t wish the level is too easy either. It’s true higher Mandarin level would bring in more value in different settings, so you may aim for a level that you feel a bit challenging but not completely blowing your confidence in Chinese language. It needs to be just right. How to find it out? Go to Hanban’s official site where you can find mock tests throughout level 1 to 6 and vocab requirements for each level too.
Tip two, find someone who knows how to help you coach you through the prepping period. This tip is important in that you will be able to follow through a study plan and practice around it on a regular basis. On top of it all, HSK is a textbook-based exam, because of which there are tricks you can pick up to shorten your learning curve. For instance, in the listening part, you may look at the given pictures and search for keywords before focusing on listening itself. Following tricks like this will really make a difference. You may find me as your coach or enroll other Chinese learning classes. Either way, you will find it beneficial.
Tip three, take mock tests within the time limit. Well this tip feels more like the continuity of the previous one. The fact is, in real test, you don’t want to dwell on one question for too long since the longer you ponder on one question, the more anxious you grow to feel. The anxiety will increase the chance for you to make mistakes. That’s why it helps to keep in mind the time limit set in the mock tests. In practice, try to increase your reading speed and finish as quickly as you can.
Tip four, practice, practice and practice. There is no silver bullet to make you ready for any exams, the HSK test included. The only way that works is to put in effort and time to have enough practice. In today’s internet era, there are multiple ways to do just that when it comes to language learning. Watching Chinese movies, listening to Chinese radio or podcast shows, or finding someone native like me to converse all will help.
So, these are the tips I offer. In case you are learning Mandarin and preparing for your HSK exam, I wish you all the best and do it well.