A little over a month ago, I took the HSK exam, which is the mainland Chinese test of Chinese ability. The previous two times, panda has had listening scores too low to achieve a certificate. My reading score used to be highest.
This time around, my listening score was quite low, possibly because of tape problems. I did not have a chance to go back and redo the listening section after the HSK people figured out they screwed up. I will have to see how the score range was affected by their screw up (or not) when I get the certificate and results by post.
But yes, this time around I actually will be getting a certificate – level 4. This is mainly because my listening score was just above the bottom limit for an HSK 3 score. That set the upper limit for the test as a whole at HSK 4 (the overall score I was given). However, the other areas came within a few points of the HSK 6 range, which was the goal I aimed for after two years of study in China. For all the friction I endured with my Comprehensive class teacher last semester, I really improved. My hammering at Comprehensive and Grammar work meant my Reading section was only my third strongest ability (out of the four areas).
HSK3 is good enough for undergraduate admission in China to a technical/engineering programme. HSK6 is good enough for admission to a Chinese-language humanity programme at the undergraduate level.
I won’t get into the statistics, because this is supposedly the last year the HSK will be the same format as it is now. The new one will be longer and test a broader range of Chinese abilities. Which means I need not only to hammer away at my difficulties listening, I will have to improve my speaking ability as well.