Chinese Language Learning – I just took HSK 6 in China and I’ll get a low score (again)

I’ve taken it 8 times already. The only reason I keep taking it is because it’s my graduation requirement. Technically speaking, I already passed it. I got more than 180 points in 4 different occasions. But here is the catch, my department requires me to pass it with more than 60 points on each part. (听力,阅读,写作)

But everytime, I manage to miss just a few points on at least one of the parts. When I missed one point on 写作,I tried begging my department to make an exception but that didn’t work.

I’ve ranted about the normal distribution [Grading on a Curve]( of HSK in other Chinese forums and there are always divided opinions about how fair the grading system is and how, just like other standardized language tests, HSK might be slightly easier or harder depending on what country you take it or in what batch of test-takers you are being included in.

I have some anecdotal evidence for this. For example, after failing the test in China several times, friends and classmates of mine took the home version of the test while being on China but joined the test from countries in where HSK is not popular and there aren’t many people taking the test. All of them inmediately got passing scores on their first attempt (More than 60 points on all 3 parts).

But I think HanBan already realized students were doing this because this year they were all of a sudden asking to show your IP address on your screen before starting the exam and it has to match the 考点’s country. (And I know what some of you are gonna say: “use a VPN to change your IP,” but the thing is that the new exam software disables any other connection once you open the software, so the exam monitor will see your real ip address and location from their monitoring software anyway. )

I should’ve done that when I could I guess.

Without a doubt, the exam is the same worldwide but the grading system will affect you if your Chinese is weak like mine. And what people usually have no idea about is that some Chinese minorities and all those Chinese people with foreigner passports that take part in the exam in China set the bar too high for the other students. Also if you ask if you ask most of the people taking HSK 6 whether they’d take it again after passing it, the answer is usually no. So that means no return customers for HanBan, which although is a government institution, it still has to maintain certain level of profitability.

10 years ago they [denied]( HSK having the [ceiling effect]( , I guess back then they didn’t know that the great majority of people taking the test where not necessarily Mandarin learners but Chinese with foreigner passports or foreigners graduating highschool in China and looking forward to enroll in a college in China. I guess 10 years later they finally understood what was happening and added HSK 7, 8 and 9 and obviously in the near future HSK and HSKK (口语)will have to be taken together. Meaning that taking HSK 6 will cost you 1000 RMB. Which is not as expensive as other standardized tests but still, if you have to take it more than once like me, it will certainly hurt your pocket

Anyway, sorry for my rant and sorry if I came across as cynical. I just needed to vent. I was wondering if you people have some non-generic study methods or usual techniques that you feel helped you get a high mark on HSK 6. And by generic study methods I mean taking previous tests and the 模拟考试 posted by HanBan on its website. I don’t know if you realize but if you ever thought that those mock tests looked nothing like the actual exam it could be because the papers they release are usually papers from more than 5 years ago.

I’m pretty sure that when it comes to my study methods and exam-taking strategies, I must be doing something wrong. So if you have a method or strategy that you think contributed to you passing HSK 6 with a high score and are willing to share it with me, I’ll highly appreciate it. I’m pretty desperate at this point.

By they way, leaving China and taking the test in another country is not an option at the moment.

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