Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘HSK’

  1. What important words are missing from HSK?

    HSK is not only a popular test, it’s also used by many students as a guide for which words to learn. But the HSK lists don’t contain all common words, so it raises the question which words are missing or delayed in the HSK word lists. This article gives one answer to this question, showing that certain categories of words are missing entirely, such as profanity, place names and names for things foreign in China. As a student, you probably want to learn these, so browsing through the list of missing words could be helpful!

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  2. How to figure out how good your Chinese is

    Figuring out how good your Chinese is can help you focus on the right areas and evaluate your learning methods. But language assessment is hard! This article describes how and why you should assess how good your Chinese is, and gives you tools and resources to do so.

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  3. How important is reading speed on tests like HSK and TOCFL?

    Reading speed is an issue on proficiency tests like HSK and TOCFL. But how much of a problem is it? How fast do you need to read? This article discusses the role of reading speed on proficiency exams.

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  4. Chinese reading speed revisited

    It’s not easy to Improve reading speed in Chinese, but it is necessary for many proficiency exams. This article takes a new look at the problem facing students, and goes back to the basics, suggesting that most advice for reading faster is mostly useless for Chinese learners.

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  5. How to reach a decent level of Chinese in 100 days

    Scott Young has written a lot about how to learn more efficiently and this year he has turned his focus entirely on languages. He spent three months in China and managed to reach a very decent level of Chinese in that time, including passing HSK4. In this article, he shares his experience and the strategies he used. The article also contains two video interviews, one with John Pasden (Sinosplice) and one with me.

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  6. Focusing on tone pairs to improve your Mandarin pronunciation

    When learning to pronounce tones in Chinese, it makes sense to focus on words rather than single syllables. Most words in Mandarin are disyllabic and since practising these will also include tone changes (sandhi), focusing on tone pairs is recommended. This article gives you all HSK and TOCFL words, sorted by tone! First all [first tone] + [first tone], then all [first tone] + [second tone] and so on. This is great for students who need words to practise difficult combinations, but it’s also useful for teachers.

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  7. How to get good grades when studying Chinese

    Ideally, we would study Chinese just because we want to and in any manner we see fit, but this isn’t how it works for most students. Instead, we need to care about tests and grades, an extra layer added on top of our own personal goals and ambitions. This article is about studying Chinese when those tests and grades really matter, a kind of basic survival guide for both exams and courses.

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  8. Chinese listening strategies: Improving listening speed

    A lack of listening speed is what stops you from understanding spoken Chinese even though you know most of the words and sentence patterns being used. I think the problem is generally overlooked and in this article I explain what listening speed is, why you need it to understand Chinese. I also talk about how to practise listening speed.

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  9. Chinese reading speed: Learning how to read ten lines at a glance

    Reading quickly is useful when taking tests and in any situation where you want consume large volumes of test. However, simply reading a lot is not the most efficient way to reach high speeds, you actually need to focus on reading speed to do that. In this article I discus various methods, tips and tricks, along with some thoughts on goals and problem analysis.

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  10. Mapping the terra incognita of Chinese vocabulary

    Terra incognita - Plugging gaps in your vocabulary

    When it comes to vocabulary, it is sometimes difficult to cover all the necessary areas. If we move on to more advanced levels, we need to make sure that we actively strive to plug the holes that might exist on more basic levels. This article is about strengthening the foundations and expanding vocabulary.

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