From Chinese Public School to University to Workforce

Teacher Student Time

It’s common for us to praise countries like China, Japan, and Korea on their teaching methods. Of course, their math scores frequently deliver a spanking to American children and the future of American students gets even gloomier from there. The results are in the numbers and the proof is ample, but this educational success doesn’t come without a cost. As we attempt to compete academicaly, and globably, this cost has been (or is still being) experienced by American students with mixed responses from their administrators. At least the few administrator I’ve talked to were not full of praise about their new exam-based system. Continue reading From Chinese Public School to University to Workforce

HSK: Certify Your Chinese

Enter the Dragon...

For the past few weeks I’ve been away from AsianLiving to work on a long-standing goal of mine: Crush the HSK. Conquering this exam has been an interest of mine since 2007. At that time I had already been in China for 1 year and started feeling pretty confident about my daily-use Chinese. I had already traveled to the Yellow Mountains by myself and played tour guide for my brother’s New Year visit. But little did I know that there would be a beast of an exam waiting to swallow me whole…

The Chinese proficiency exam (HSK) is the only standardized test of Standard Mandarin for non-native speakers. It is administered by the Chinese government through Han Ban, the “China National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language.” With a scale of 1-6, HSK basically tests your ability to memorize the minuscule differences among verbs, pronouns, prepositions, etc. My goal is to get 4, but that is REALLY hard. HSK has been pummeled by complaints over the years for its lack of practicality. So, they created CTEST in 2006 for students to certify their daily-use Chinese and, for the first time, speaking!

When I put off taking the exam in 2007 I had become busy with other projects. In 2009 I had signed up for a Fall exam in Guangzhou, but became too busy to attend the scheduled exam… but now, I’m ready! I will not let it slip through my fingers again! Expected a republished article about my experience preparing for this exam when it is over…

After November 28th I will get back to Asianliving and update with some new recipes I’ve learned! A new Toufu recipe is coming + a tasty vegetable dish that floats!

Wish me luck!
-Ben@asianliving.me