HSK and Chinesepod

May 31, 2011, 05:22 AM posted in General Discussion

Is there a relationship between Chinesepod levels and HSK exam result scores? For example, perhaps a person at upper intermediate may be able to handle hsk-4? Sometimes websites do things like this, meaning that they base their difficulty levels on a standardized exam. Other times, websites don't. What about Chinesepod?

To ask another way, is Chinesepod designed to 'teach the test' for the hsk, or not?


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May 31, 2011, 08:14 AM

I haven't taken the revised HSK test, but I can say that Chinesepod didn't prepare me much for the older HSK.  Chinesepod will help people talk conversationally, but that is of little use on the HSK test I took.   For example, doing well on the intermediate level of the old HSK might prove that one can effortlessly talk about a flower that blooms only once a year in Mexico.  (I'm not making this up.  I had a test question once like this on the HSK.)  

I would be curious to learn people's experiences on the revised HSK.  

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June 07, 2011, 02:07 AM

I agree with xiaophil - Chinese Pod is most likely more useful for everyday conversations etc. than it is for the academic HSK tests. 

But this site: http://www.tanos.co.uk/hsk/  has some good resources, if you're looking for HSK study tools :)



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June 07, 2011, 03:26 AM

I passed the old HSK at level 3 and the new one at level 4 a year and a half later. The old test emphasized a more literary style of Chinese compared with the new one. The main thing about the HSK is that it emphasizes writing over speaking and listening. So, if you just listen to Chinesepod lessons without reading the transcript in 汉字,it won't help much. If you are willing to read, Chinesepod will help more with the new test than with the old one. The advanced lessons and media lessons, that are based on print media, are the most helpful in this regard. It is also helpful to make some Chinese net friends and communicate in IM and email using Chinese.

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June 07, 2011, 08:14 AM

xiaophil, benelliay, and mark are spot on:   the old HSK - they are still administering the old one here where I live in Yunnan - focuses on listening, reading, writing, and grammar.  Unfortunately, mastering these topics still won't guarantee that you can speak, which for me is the biggest drawback of that test. Like Mark, I pulled a 3 and a 4 and felt robbed, since my speaking skills weren't tested (I mostly listen to CP's Upper Inter and Adv, i that helps).

I think it's hard to peg an HSK level to a ChinesePod level - it seems that CP designs their lessons around oral skills and daily-life topics instead of the detailed vocabulary levels which the HSK exam uses to differentiate students.

Yes, someone PLEASE weigh in on their experience with the revised test.



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June 07, 2011, 03:08 PM

Well you'll need to be comfortable with writing so if you want sit the exam, regardless of your current CP level, i recommend signing up to skritter and studying the appropriate HSK list. The other advantage is focus - focus on the vocab you need to know and nothing else in the lead up to the exam.

I did new 4 last year and will do new 5 in a couple of weeks. Upper intermediate for new 4 with the right prep (do the sample exam) should be fine.

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For what it is worth, I didn't focus on studying to the test. I've just tried to learn as much Chinese as I can and then take the level of HSK that corresponds to my ability when I feel ready, based on the sample tests. This strategy probably isn't the most efficient, or the quickest way, if you goal is to get a certain certificate. However, if you read enough, you will certainly encounter everything that is on the HSK vocabulary lists. There is also a listening section. So, learning to understand dialogs and sentences on the first hearing is another important skill to develop. CPod dialogs and expansion sentences are helpful for that part. The written portion of the test is by hand. So, you will need to practice hand writing. I just used a pencil and paper for that part. The test is timed. So, you will need to be facile enough with handwriting to write quickly.

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April 01, 2012, 09:22 PM

Could you be rather sub-par at writing and still pass, say, level 3?  If I'm reading my information correctly, there are 3 sections, each worth 100 points, and you need 180 points total to pass.  This seems to indicate that, if you do quite well on the other parts, you could make up for weak writing skills.

I'm interested in taking the HSK to see how I do, but writing by hand hasn't been a focus of my studies, nor do I particularly want to spend a lot of time on it at this juncture.