Monday, October 10, 2005

The Final Straight~

Reminiscent of exam seasons past, I have a 5 day dash to the HSK examination and seeking every shred of vocabulary, listening opportunity and even dreaming of Chinese (unusually, Xin spoke in Chinese in my dream, although not in real life). Overall, I know that I can pass the test easily - the thing is that to pass it is not the important thing. Because I want to attempt the higher level next year, I would ideally want to show that this level is a piece of cake. The test itself has band scores just like IELTS, this means it is not just a pass/fail test but tells you how good you are, or bad you are, with a rough integer score up to 8.

Yesterday, I took another practice test and in the first three sections set personal records in each on (76% in listening, 97% in grammar, 94% in reading), then quite unexpectedly collapsed in the fourth section losing 10/16 marks in one of the two parts. Considering that the whole test is 170 marks, losing 10 marks on one part of one section is criminal. In previous practice tests I was averaging just under 80% for that section; yesterday I got 68%. This has completely distracted me from my self-perceived listening weakness.

Listening in fact is shaping up nicely. I can understand the Chinese radio station with comparative ease. Maybe even better than my Taiwan days (where I understood conversation far better than broadcasts or television). But the tests are not natural Chinese. They are orchestrated logical tricks, sometimes involving rapid mental arithmetic, set idioms, and rhetorical speech.

(in Chinese)

"Does Little Wang know the score in the rugby?"
"Little Wang doesn't know, no-body knows".

Question: "Which of the following statements can be deduced from the dialogue?"
A. Little Wang likes ice-cream.
B. Little Wang knows the score.
C. Little Wang was sucked up a tornado and relocated to Ontario.
D. Little Wang doesn't know.

Of course, the answer is Little Wang knows (B), which once you get the hang of Chinese rhetorical sentences, is obvious. And no the answers aren't usually as ridiculuous as above in the Listening (although often that way in the Reading that test).

Anywho, back to a day of my nose to the grindstone.

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