Preparing for the new HSK level 5 test

Tomorrow will be the first time I try the new HSK test. At the moment I have old HSK 5 level certificate and now I’m trying the same level on the new HSK. In this post I want to share how I prepared for the test and hope it to be helpful for other learners of Chinese.

Mock tests

My first step towards the new system was to do an online mock test that included the reading section (阅读) and the first part of writing section (书写, where you have to put words in the right order to form a sentence). You can do the test on I did the test in the beginning of September and got 161 points out of 220.

After that I continued practicing with a book called New HSK Mock Tests for Level 5. I got the book from a friend and unfortunately I don’t have the cd that belongs to the book. So I have only done some reading and writing exercises. From reading section (阅读) I’ve got following scores: 39/45, 31/45 and  31/45. The book contains 8 mock tests and I believe that it gets gradually difficult from the beginning. At Least that usually seems to be the case with these kind of books.

I have only done one listening mock test from which I got 42 points out of 45. Only three wrong! This mock test is also an official one so I guess it should represent the level of the real HSK exam. At Least I hope so based on the listening section! You can find the whole exam with mp3 audio from Confucius Institute’s website.

Writing section

The hardest part for me will be the second part of writing section. There you have to write two short (80 characters) essays first based one a list of words and then based on a picture. Below is a screen capture from the mock test:

80 characters isn’t much, but it gets very difficult if I don’t understand the words given or don’t remember how to write characters related to the picture. For example I know how to use 放松 and 礼物, but don’t know the other three words. I can also type 钓鱼 (to fish), but don’t remember how to write 钓 by hand.

Faster than fast

The tricky part is also to be fast enough. For the reading section there is only 40 minutes to finish all 45 questions. You have to read fast and choose the answer even faster. The third part of reading section includes about five articles and each has three to five questions. First I read the first question and then start reading the article, when I find the answer I read the second questions and continue reading. Seems that in almost every case the answers can be found in order from the article.

In writing section you also have only 40 minutes. I think I’m going to use about 5- 10 minutes with the eight sentences in the first part and then 15-17 minutes with each of the essays.

I still have tomorrow morning to review some little words like 在于,由此,由于 and 至此 which always seem to give a headache for me.

I need 180 points to pass the exam, lets hope I can do it.