Chinese Language Learning – Today I took the HSK6 exam! Here’s my postmortem.


Today, 26 March 2022 (9am), I took the handwritten HSK6 exam. Here I describe my preparation, and give my advice.

**How did I do?** Not well; hopefully I scrape through (I won’t know my marks for a month). There was a native Chinese speaker behind me (with international citizenship, applying for a PhD); I spoke to her and she said she also found it very hard.

I must thank my amazing teacher, Teacher Li at [China Jobs Daily](https://www.chinajobsdaily.com/), who has helped me throughout this whole process. This was not easy!

If you were to ask me, **should I also take the HSK6?** I would say…

* Maybe. I feel the HSK6 vocabulary is well-rounded; it gives you a solid basis for a wide range of topics. The HSK6 vocabulary contains many characters, which leads to significant improvements in reading (once you hit 3000 characters, reading feels so much easier). Nowadays, my reading sometimes far surpasses some native Chinese speakers (like cleaners, etc., not university students).
* But probably not. I’ve spent something like 3 months doing nothing but preparing for this exam, and I don’t feel like I’ve been making progress on my Chinese: I’m learning test-taking tactics. It’s a stressful and unsatisfying process, and not just for me, but also for everyone around me. And after all this, I could still fail the exam. Learning Chinese used to be fun!

If I had a time machine, I would go back and tell myself not to think about the HSK6 until (a) my vocabulary is above 20000 (characters above 3000), (b) I’ve read 10 million characters worth of input, and (c) my reading speed is 160+ characters per minute.

# How did I do it? My advice.

Importantly, I took the handwritten exam (not the computer exam), which affects a lot. Personally, I think the handwritten exam is easier, provided you know how to handwrite characters and your writing speed is fast enough.

**Should I take the handwritten exam?** If you can’t handwrite, then this decision has already been made. I personally found it substantially easier to be able to highlight key words throughout all three sections, and there are characters I’m able to write (or quickly memorize) but don’t know how to input into an unfamiliar computer. In my computer mock exam, I found myself forgetting parts in the listening section, and re-reading parts unnecessarily (because I couldn’t write on the screen, like I can do on paper). While it takes years to get good at handwriting, you do it in parallel with other aspects of Chinese learning. And you don’t need to handwrite all the HSK words.

My advice for the whole exam:

**Vocabulary is king**: it greatly affects your score in all three sections.

(a) People think HSK6 has 5000 vocabulary items, but this is basically the “core” vocabulary you need a strong grasp of. Beyond this, I feel like **a passive vocabulary of 15000+ words is the minimum**, and 20000+ would be desirable. My vocabulary is likely above 15000, and I failed the practice test (by 1 mark), and I’m not sure if I’ll pass the official test. Many HSK6 questions hinge on knowledge of 超纲词 (extra-curricular words): I don’t recognize words in some answers, and simply don’t know what it says.

(b) I recommend **a vocabulary-first approach to studying**. Once you’ve mastered the HSK6 vocabulary, you can finish e.g. the HSK6 Standard Course in weeks or months (not years!), which makes it less tedious, and you’ll learn more.

**Read a lot; get started early**: Reading speed and accuracy not only greatly affect your score in all three sections of the HSK6, but also affect your study efficiency along the way: with a faster reading speed, you learn more simply because you receive more input. I thus recommend **reading 10 million characters worth of content** (an approximate average of 10000 characters per day for 3 years). Reading a lot improves your vocabulary, and improving your vocabulary improves your reading (positive feedback loop).

**Practice listening**: While you might “know” a word, for the HSK6 you need to “know” it instinctively from its sound alone. You don’t control speaking speed (and there’s no replay), and for the HSK6 you need to simultaneously listen and read. I practice listening to example sentences being read aloud so that I have enough exposures. It’s important to listen to materials relevant to HSK6 content.

**The listening section is much, much harder than the past exams (from 2010 to 2012)**: In the actual exam, in the listening section, very seldom did the speaker just say aloud the answer (whereas in the past exams, this was normal). If you want a realistic idea of what the HSK6 is like: there’s a mock HSK6 exam online (via [Chinese Test](http://www.chinesetest.cn/)), it’s marked within a day or two, and it’s not expensive.

**Background knowledge**: You can save time, and get a better understanding of many recordings and texts, if you know (part of) the story in advance. Make sure you know Chinese history, geography, culture, and a whole bunch of chengyu backstories.

(Even though they’re in English, consider watching Oversimplified [Three Kingdoms](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26EivpCPHnQ) and the [Journey to the West](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61nuXrvqNgI) series on YouTube, as you can gain background knowledge which might be relevant to the HSK6 exam.)

Beyond this, the topics covered on the HSK6, while broader than the HSK5 content, are still comparatively limited, and they usually stick to certain styles of narration.

There seems to be some **misconceptions**:

1. “You need a 5000 word vocabulary.” Reality: You need a 15000+ word vocabulary (超纲词 are guaranteed), along with considerable background knowledge about Chinese history and culture.
2. “You won’t encounter/use the HSK6 vocabulary in real life.” Reality: I encounter/use it all the time. Maybe people who make this claim are receiving simpler, less diverse input.
3. “The HSK6 vocabulary is mostly for written Chinese.” Reality: There’s a handful of characters (将, 本, 该, 其, etc.) used in special ways in formal writing; if you want to read Chinese, you need to learn these whether or not you take the HSK6. There’s very little classical Chinese; maybe a sporadic word or quote. The distinction between 书面语 and 口语 is more about upbringing and education; if you go to a university, people often use 书面语 orally.
4. “The HSK vocabulary contains obsolete words.” Reality: Maybe there’s 5 or so arguably obsolete words like 磁带 (“cassette tape”) and 传真 (“fax machine”), but they arise in historical fiction and non-fiction.
5. “The 语病 (“faulty wording”) section is too hard.” The trick is to memorize the most common grammar errors on past exams. While some of the questions are practically impossible, once you know what you’re looking for, some of the errors are trivial. After practicing, this became one of my strongest sections: I got [7/10 on the official mock exam](https://i.stack.imgur.com/8jB9N.png).

## Listening

There is a 5-minute window to fill in the answer card after the listening section. Do not waste precious time filling in the card this while the audio is playing.

Everyone says *reading ahead* is key, but I’m not so sure this applies to modern HSK6 exams. For the past exams, they often directly say the answer, so reading ahead ensures you know what to listen for. For modern exam papers, you typically need to infer the answer from what is said: you can’t simply listen for keywords, you need to *listen* and *comprehend* was is being said. To illustrate:

2012 exam:

>四大发明是指中国古代发明的造纸术、指南针、火药、活字印刷术。这些发明对中国政治、经济、文化的发展产生了巨大的推动作用,而且经过各种途径传到西方后,对世界文明的发展也产生了**重大的影响**。

And the answer is: **四大发明影响深远**. This would be my guess even if I weren’t to listen to the recording.

2018 exam:

>“快闪”是新近流行的一种行为艺术,许多人在约定的地点出人意料地同时表演歌舞或做其他一系列行为,完成后迅速离开。“快闪”是一种都市时尚文化,是**人们宣泄自我、回归社会**的新方式。

And the answer is: **快闪耗时间**. You need to infer the answer from what was said.

The second part of the listening section used to introduce the speaker, but it no longer does:

2012 exam:

>女:今天我们特别请到北京人艺院长张和平,来向大家介绍北京人艺的发展情况。张院长,您如何看待剧本、编剧在剧院发展中的作用?
>
>Google Translate: Woman: Today, we have specially invited Zhang Heping, director of Beijing Renyi, to introduce the development of Beijing Renyi. Dean Zhang, what do you think of the role of scripts and screenwriters in the development of theaters?

2018 exam:

>男:你怎么会想到用现代舞的形式和中国的二十四节气进行对接呢?
>
>Google Translate: Man: How did you come up with the idea of ​​using the form of modern dance to connect with the twenty-four solar terms in China?

In my exam today, none of the three interviews introduced the speaker; they just start asking questions.

## Reading

I took this section backwards: from the 4-th part to the 1-st. This helps with timing in the 1-st part (语病, or faulty wording).

Reading speed is essential throughout this section, despite being able to skip parts of the texts. As you practice, you improve your familiarity with where in the text to look for the answers, and which parts are essential, and which parts are not.

Some students skip the 语病 (“faulty wording”) section (and just guess e.g. b-b-b-..-b for all answers), and I feel there’s no shame in this approach: this section is difficult for native speakers with unlimited time and access to the Internet. In any case, I recommend not bothering studying this section until you have a strong grasp of the HSK6 vocabulary (and even then, it’s still hard).

In my case, this unexpectedly became one of my strongest sections: my advice is to go through the 22 past exams, and memorize [the 220 grammar errors](https://chinese.stackexchange.com/q/50538/8099) therein, as I did. Break up sentences according to their structure, and pay particular attention to grammar-related words (like 虽然 and 之一), word order, and the subject of the sentence. While admittedly some questions are basically impossible, most of these questions have concrete errors, and some are even trivial to find once you know what you’re looking for (e.g. ……下雨很大). Once you find the answer, you save time by skipping the remaining sentences for that question.

The knack to this part is that there are specific patterns that are considered errors for the purposes of the exam, like 大约9个月左右 (redundancy) or 避免再次不发生 (double negative) or 虽然……而且…… (incorrect grammar structure) or 她是四大美女 (forgot the 之一) or 学好得努力 (verb taking on multiple complements) or 下雨很大 (separable verb misuse) or 在图书馆,我看他 (missing complement 我看到他) or 在这篇文章中,使他…… (no subject) or 承担……老板 (incorrect collocation) or 他买这辆车取决于它是否绿色的 (买 is 一面性 while 是否 is 双面性) or 妈妈说他对自己很生气 (ambiguous who 自己 is: 妈妈 vs. 他), or the very common subject confusion 整个秋天,他很开心,是一个很好的季节 which implies 他……是……季节. This section is substantially easier once you’re familiar with the patterns, but it’s still very hard given the length of the sentences and time limits (maybe 15 seconds per sentence).

The 语病 section is about knowing what is and isn’t deemed correct, and sometimes the decision is fairly arbitrary: 非常兴高采烈 is deemed incorrect, and 例如……等 and 太过于 is deemed correct.

Part 2 is about familiarity with near-synonyms; you need to improve your depth of knowledge of the HSK vocabulary (and beyond), to the point where you rely on your 语感 (“sense of language”). Sometimes there are strong collocations, which can make the answer quite obvious (you just verify the other gaps are filled correctly). From what I understand, they try to trip you up in three ways: (a) words with similar meaning; (b) words with similar pronunciation; (c) words with characters that look visually similar. (*Edit*: [Here](https://i.stack.imgur.com/Q1C9m.jpg)’s an example from a 2018 exam. Once I found the collocation 吉祥, I knew it was very likely the correct answer. Afterwards, I just verified that answer is correct; I didn’t check the other options to save time.)

For Part 3, be careful that some blanks can be filled in using 2+ different clauses without violating the grammar; sometimes backtracking is required (so don’t be afraid to skip ahead). Mostly it’s just recognizing grammar structures, and how the sentence relates to nearby sentences and the overall context.

For Part 4, the main difficulty is time. Reading speed is key, along with making sure you don’t re-read parts (which is easier to do when you can underline what you’ve read). I don’t think many people can read the whole text (without going over time), so it’s best to use a “search for the answer” approach. However, I encourage reading the first and last sentence of the passages.

In the past exams, the answers are often directly given in the text (you just have to find them), but with the modern exam, it’s not so straightforward. If you get stuck, you can skip to the next question: the answers sometimes don’t appear in order, and some answers require reading a whole chunk of text (not just a corresponding sentence). There were some 不正确 questions on my exam paper, but not that many (maybe 1 or 2).

Sometimes the questions ask you for a 标题 (“title”), and I find you generally want choose either (a) the theme which appears throughout the text, or (b) the moral of the story (which may only appear at the end). There was one of these on today’s exam.

## Writing

You’re given 10 minutes to read a 1000-汉字 text, remember the relevant points, then write a 400-汉字 abridged version. After reading, I was intending to write down an outline of the story (and forgettable 汉字), but I didn’t have anywhere to write (maybe I should have asked for paper beforehand).

Many people seem unaware of [the marking scheme](http://www.chinesetest.cn/userfiles/file/HSK-pingfen.pdf) for this section:

>5.缩写 HSK(六级)中有“缩写”题。 0 分:空白。 低档分:内容与提供材料相关性不大; 内容不连贯,有语法错误; 有较多错别字。 中档分:内容与提供材料基本相符,有语法错误; 内容与提供材料基本相符,有少量错别字; 篇幅不够。 **高档分:内容与提供材料相符,结构合理,表达连贯,无语法错误、错别字。**

I recall the Coursera course saying you absolutely want to avoid 画蛇添足ing. You’re not marked for elaborate writing and flexing your chengyu knowledge (even assuming you’re using the chengyu correctly), you’re marked for consistency with the given text: the task is to 缩写 (“abridge”). (See the marking scheme.) Thus, you want to keep your writing as simple as possible, and make as few mistakes as possible.

From what I understand, these are always short stories, wherein something changes (I haven’t seen an exception yet). The general recommendation is to memorize:

1. **Who?** Who are the main characters in the story, and what are their relationships with one another?
2. **Where?** What are the relevant locations in the story (if any)? This is usually just “at home” or something.
3. **When?** Often the stories take place over time, so we need to keep track of when various events occur (how old were the protagonists when things happened). It could just be “30 years ago”.
4. **Before.** What was the situation before the event happened?
5. **During.** What was the event that happened?
6. **After.** What changed?

When preparing, I repeatedly saw stories where someone wanted to do something, but struggled against some kind of adversity, and in the end was successful. My exam today involved a similar theme.

My teacher’s advice to me was to pay attention to the last paragraph in particular, as it often summarizes the whole plot, and the lessons learned during the experience.

Remember to include *a title which is consistent with what you write*, and ensure you have correct punctuation.

# Resources

## Exam practice

**新中国汉语水平考试 应试指南 6级** by 倪明亮. This book contains three mock exams, literally hundreds of separate example questions, and some advice. If you scan the QR code, it explains the answers to each question (useful!). Difficulty: 3/10. Usefulness: 7/10.

* Mock exam 1: 听力: 84% 阅读: 76% (2 Mar) [listening; reading]
* Mock exam 2: 听力: 66% 阅读: 58% (3 Mar)
* Mock exam 3: 听力: 80% 阅读: 72% (6 Mar)

**HSK6 Standard Course** ***Workbook***. It contains 40 chapters of separate questions. At the end it contains a mock exam. I encountered a few errors in this book (e.g. chapter 28 question 20 answer D has a typo in the “faulty sentence” section). Difficulty: 9/10. Usefulness: 3/10.

* Mock exam: 听力: 48% 阅读: 70% (9 Mar)

**汉语水平考试 模拟试题集(第2版)** by 王素梅. This book contains 10 mock exams, and gives explanations to each answer. I found some errors in this book (e.g. mock exam 1, page 12 has a “fill in the gaps” question, with 5 gaps and 4 items to fill in said gaps). I didn’t do all of these because I found them too hard, and dissimilar to the actual exam (so many 不正确 questions!). Difficulty: 8/10. Usefulness: 6/10.

* Mock exam 1: 听力: 60% 阅读: 50% (7 Mar)
* Mock exam 2: 听力: 72% 阅读: 60% (8 Mar)
* Mock exam 3: 听力: 76% 阅读: 60% (10 Mar)
* Mock exam 4: 听力: 78% 阅读: 62% (11 Mar)
* Mock exam 5: 听力: 70% 阅读: 56% (22 Mar)
* Mock exam 6: 听力: 66% 阅读: 66% (23 Mar)
* Mock exam 7: 听力: —
* Mock exam 8: 听力: —
* Mock exam 9: 听力: —
* Mock exam 10: 听力: —

**汉语水平考试真题集 HSK 六级 2018版 Official Examination Papers of HSK (Level 6)**. It just contains 5 mock exams with answers; this book should be considered top priority in preparation for the HSK6. Difficulty: 7/10. Usefulness: 10/10.

* Mock exam 1: 听力: 66% 阅读: 64% (4 Nov)
* Mock exam 2: 听力: 74% 阅读: 68% (13 Mar)
* Mock exam 3: 听力: 64% 阅读: 76% (15 Mar)
* Mock exam 4: 听力: 64% 阅读: 70% (16 Mar)
* Mock exam 5: 听力: 62% 阅读: 62% (18 Mar)

**ChineseTest.cn mock exam**. Maybe a lot of people don’t even know this exists, but you can take mock HSK exam online (I think they’re past exam questions), and get it marked and everything. (In fact, consider taking this test instead of the HSK6.) Difficulty: 8/10. Usefulness: 10/10.

* Mock exam: 听力: 50% 阅读: 64% 写作: 65% (17 Mar) [ave.: 听力: 70% 阅读: 65% 写作: 63%]

I failed the mock test, by one mark! I was a bit sick that day, and I wasn’t very familiar with the webpage. I hope I did better on the actual exam.

[**22 publicly available HSK6 exams**](https://archive.org/details/elsey_HSK6), which I understand are from 2010 to 2012. Some of these I took multiple times. Difficulty: 4/10. Usefulness: 7/10.

Below are my scores, along with the published averages where available (see [this](https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/57686-collection-of-all-hsk-6-practice-exams-released-by-hanban/?do=findComment&comment=485708) for an explanation):

* H61000 听力: 76% (20 Jan) 92% (24 Feb) 阅读: 60% (29 Jan)
* H61001 听力: 68% (28 Aug) 64% (2 Feb) 80% (24 Feb) 阅读: 60% (30 Jan) [ave.: 75%/60%]
* H61002 听力: 64% (21 Jan) 80% (24 Feb) 阅读: 64% (30 Jan) [ave.: 77%/68%]
* H61003 听力: 68% (22 Jan) 阅读: 76% (31 Jan) [ave.: 74%/66%]
* H61004 听力: 62% (31 Jan) 阅读: 70% (31 Jan) [ave.: 65%/56%]
* H61005 听力: 74% (1 Feb) 阅读: 68% (1 Feb) [ave.: 71%/66%]
* H61006 听力: 78% (1 Feb) 阅读: 72% (1 Feb) [ave.: 71%/67%]
* H61007 听力: 68% (2 Feb) 阅读: 90% (2 Feb) [ave.: 74%/67%]
* H61008 听力: 72% (8 Jan) 阅读: 70% (2 Feb) [ave.: 78%/71%]
* H61009 听力: 68% (4 Jan) 阅读: 68% (3 Feb) [ave.: 71%/64%]
* H61110 听力: 74% (23 Dec) 阅读: 86% (3 Feb) [ave.: 69%/64%]
* H61111 听力: 86% (23 Dec) 阅读: 74% (3 Feb) [ave.: 79%/68%]
* H61218 听力: 62% (6 Oct) 72% (4 Feb) 阅读: 62% (4 Feb) [ave.: 71%/62%]
* H61219 听力: 70% (6 Oct) 68% (4 Feb) 阅读: 78% (5 Feb) [ave.: 76%/66%]
* H61220 听力: 70% (23 Dec) 80% (4 Feb) 阅读: 68% (5 Feb) [ave.: 74%/67%]
* H61221 听力: 80% (5 Feb) 阅读: 72% (5 Feb) [ave.: 73%/65%]
* H61327 听力: 58% (6 Feb) 阅读: 74% (6 Feb)
* H61328 听力: 64% (6 Feb) 阅读: 68% (6 Feb)
* H61329 听力: 74% (25 Oct) 60% (9 Feb) 阅读: 70% (9 Feb)
* H61330 听力: 74% (7 Feb) 阅读: 62% (7 Feb)
* H61332 听力: 66% (7 Feb) 阅读: 78% (7 Feb)
* H61333 听力: 80% (8 Feb) 阅读: 70% (8 Feb)

The main benefit of practicing with these exams is that you can find an appropriate pacing, and you can familiarize yourself with HSK6-relevant topics.

Importantly, it seems everyone who has taken the actual HSK6 exam says these papers are substantially easier than the actual exam: [2021](https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/mxglpz/hsk_6_expectation_vs_reality/); [2018](https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/80g5bt/hsk6_difficulty_update_guide/); [2015](https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/3p6ed8/so_i_just_took_hsk6/). I feel there is a risk of developing bad habits by using these past exams; you need to pay greater attention on the actual exam.

My impression is that:

1. Listening section 1 is now substantially harder, as inference is frequently required, and you can’t rely on “listening for keywords”, which makes it harder to read ahead.
2. Listening section 2 is now somewhat harder, because they don’t introduce the speaker, and thereby give context.
3. Reading section 4 is harder now, because the topics are broader, inference is needed, and the questions often require much more reading, perhaps because they ask a “negative question” (which answer is wrong?) or perhaps they ask about what is discussed in a paragraph.

Moreover, in general, I find the given answers in newer exams are harder to understand (due to e.g. unfamiliar phrasing or vocabulary).

## Textbooks

1. **HSK6 Standard Course**. I studied the whole thing, supplemented with YouTube videos and Chinese Zero to Hero videos. At the start, these books seemed very hard, but after studying the HSK6 vocabulary, these books felt much easier. (Some of the text are adapted from articles available online, and it may help to read the original.) Difficulty: 4/10. Usefulness: 9/10.
2. **HSK Coursebook 6 规范教程** by 王璕 (three volumes). These books are outdated and boring, and don’t have much useful content other than the main text and a vocabulary list. However, I like how the vocabulary list includes parts of speech, and gives definitions in Chinese, which is essential at the HSK6 level. Difficulty: 6/10. Usefulness: 2/10.
3. **汉语水平考试 HSK6级 攻略** (听力 and 阅读 [there’s also a 阅读 which I didn’t buy]). They contain strategies for the HSK6 exam, and many example questions. I didn’t end up having enough time to go through these in detail. I found their example questions hard, and perhaps only weakly related to the HSK6. Difficulty: 8/10. Usefulness: 5/10.

## Reference books

1. **现代汉语词典**. At the HSK6 level, it is much more efficient to learn Chinese words by reading their definition(s) in Chinese. I went through a fair chunk of the 2500 HSK6 words, handwrote their definition(s) in my notebook along with example sentences, and highlighted them in the dictionary. Usefulness: 10/10.
2. (1) **HSK 汉语水平考试 精选词汇辨析与练习** by 刘朝芬 and others, and (2) **1700对近义词话用法对比** by 杨寄洲 and others. They both explain the differences between HSK synonyms. They’re both old books, so they’re hard to get and don’t contain everything. Usefulness: 6/10.
3. **HSK词汇突破 6级**(第2版). It’s simply a list of the HSK6 vocabulary with English definitions, collocations, and example sentences. Usefulness: 2/10.
4. **Common Confusable Words and Expressions** for HSK by 李莉. It explains (in Chinese) how to differentiate some words, etc. It looks useful, but I didn’t get around to using this (too many other things to do). Usefulness: 5/10.

## Videos

1. YouTube channels: these keep changing, but the ones I found most useful are [Eazy Mandarin with Li Can](https://www.youtube.com/c/EazyMandarinwithLiCan), [Peter Hanyu](https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrLkNik3JQCZuqTj78fJDEg), [Speak Chinese With Da Peng](https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNmZr4WBw71bdJYjaycLodA), and [每日中文课Free To Learn](https://www.youtube.com/c/DANLIAOFreeToLearn). I can relax a bit with [小丸子](https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClHebX3GBL9lzvH_eJB_7iw) and [Peppa Pig](https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRi0sw4PDw-C2C7fS9hrx5Q). [ShuoshuoChinese说说中文](https://www.youtube.com/c/ShuoshuoChinese%E8%AF%B4%E8%AF%B4%E4%B8%AD%E6%96%87) gives beginner tips, but I find they’re still useful at the HSK6 level. Some channels like [Carly LetsSpeakXYZ](https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD8mCDvxGYJXl50GddxhKBw) and [Chinese EddieG](https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXNTChai4lWB_2B8K_a2bKA) read aloud the HSK6 Standard Course textbook content. I find [Richard Chinese Language](https://www.youtube.com/c/RichardChineseLanguage) and [徐老师教汉语](https://www.youtube.com/c/xulaoshiHSK) okay, but too slow (efficiency is essential at the HSK6 level). Usefulness: 7/10.
2. Specific, highly useful YouTube videos: Particularly useful are videos reading out HSK6 example sentences, such as at [Mandarin Corner](https://mandarincorner.org/) and the HSK6 videos from [LANGUAGE ch 中国語](https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbK-aV96Y4vb5sklvZr1T1Q) such as [this](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhY8qKWhJh8). [EASY CHINESE](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jWMP9DWFYE) has HSK6-specific videos such as [this](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jWMP9DWFYE). Usefulness: 10/10.
3. HSK6 Coursea Course. I watched all the videos, but the course itself is not very useful. The content covers a tiny fraction of the HSK6. However, the lecturers give some useful practical advice. Usefulness 2/10.

I also use [Dong Chinese](https://www.dong-chinese.com/)’s text-to-speech feature to create mp3s from lists of example sentences. And I use [youtube-dl](https://youtube-dl.org/) to download YouTube videos, so I can watch offline (or convert to mp3 and listen as I’m doing other things).

## Electronic resources

Highly useful: [Pleco](https://www.pleco.com/) with OCR and Chinese-Chinese dictionaries (paid). [Dong Chinese](https://www.dong-chinese.com/). [Jukuu](http://www.jukuu.com/) and [YouDao](https://youdao.com/) for example sentences. A browser popup dictionary, such as Zhongwen. [Toggl](https://track.toggl.com) to track study hours.

Somewhat useful: [Chinese Zero to Hero](https://chinesezerotohero.teachable.com/). Anki (free) with the [Tingli deck](https://ankiweb.net/shared/decks/Tingli). [Chinese Grammar Wiki](https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Main_Page). [LangCorrect](https://langcorrect.com/). [ChinesePod](https://chinesepod.com/). [Chinese Stack Exchange](https://chinese.stackexchange.com/), [Reddit /r/ChineseLanguage](https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/) and [Chinese Forums](https://chinese-forums.com/). A browser highlighter, such as Textmarker.

Marginally useful: [Tofu Learn](https://www.tofulearn.com/) (free) and [Skritter](https://skritter.com/) (paid).

I’ve used many other apps, tools, websites, etc., but 99% of them are useless, or even hinder progress. At the HSK6 level, efficiency is essential.

(And an advantage of living in China is that I can just read library books: there are many 随笔散文 books which are a bit easier to read than HSK6 content, and it’s nice to get away from computer screens.)

PS. [Here](https://www.reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/omq7cw/today_i_took_the_hsk5_exam_heres_my_postmortem/)’s my HSK5 postmortem.



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