Acing an examination is not about how hard you study for it, but knowing how to study smart in preparation for it. Especially when you’re taking the HSK test to land a spot in a top Chinese university or for your dream career, it’s best to draw up a study plan.
Whether you’re learning Chinese in Singapore to ace the HSK Basic, Elementary-Intermediate or Advanced tests, use these quick tips to evaluate how you’ve been studying for it! These tips are sure to answer your common worries of, ‘how will I pronounce each character in the right tone?’ or ‘How will I remember the meaning of these complex characters?’
Get your Pinyin right
What exactly is Pinyin? Pinyin is essentially a quick guide for Mandarin speakers to pronounce Chinese characters accurately, right down to the correct intonation. But it’s not just the possibility of four different intonations for the same Chinese character, but these intonations could also offer four different meanings – it can get confusing.
And if you’re a new learner of this beautifully sounding language, you’ll need to master the Chinese Pinyin for the first two HSK test levels. Expose yourself to some Mandarin media (television shows, movies, music). As you listen to more native speakers, you’ll master Chinese Pinyin organically and in no time!
Expand your Chinese vocabulary
If you’re planning to attain advanced proficiency in the HSK test, a smart move is to understand how to progress from one HSK category to the next. As you move up from Basic to Elementary-intermediate and finally to the Advanced level, the number of Chinese character-knowledge you’ll need also increases.
One good tip to expand your vocabulary is to build a Mandarin word bank. Keep a notebook with you wherever you go. Each time you come across a new Chinese character from the latest Mandarin novel you’ve been soaked into, note the Chinese character down. At the end of the week, it would be a good practice to look up these characters you’ve accumulated!
Break down the Chinese characters
Here’s a quick tip to understand each Chinese character’s meaning: break down the complex character into its left and right segments. What does each of it mean? Typically, when you do this, you’ll realise that the Chinese character’s meaning is derived from its segments. You’d also agree that it’s more manageable when you study the segments, rather than be overwhelmed by the complex character.
For this, with every new Chinese character you come across, before you look it up in the dictionary, make an intelligent guess! Guess the meaning of the word from its segments. This process also helps you to internalise the characters more efficiently.
Seek help with the language
Finally, the fastest way to improve your Chinese writing is by seeking professional help. You’ll need a second eye to your work, particularly an experienced Mandarin teacher who knows the HSK test format well.
And when you’re looking for Mandarin classes in Singapore, it’s best to opt for classes taught by native speakers. What they teach would be beyond the language – these native speakers can ease you into the Chinese culture, improving your understanding of the Chinese vocabulary and language use.
If you’re looking for Mandarin classes to support your journey, check out the Group Mandarin lessons offered here at Linda Mandarin. With an accredited Chinese course syllabus that aligns with HSK test standards and trained bilingual teachers who are certified in Applied Mandarin linguistics, we’re here to help you attain that A you need!