Thursday, September 29, 2005

My First Test

My tingli ke (listening class) teacher told us that we would be having a very small test today. I had the feeling that our ideas of "very small" may be different, so I studied alot of characters last night. I am so glad that I did that. It saved my life.

My teacher's idea of a "very small test" was one that took the full two hours of class. The first hour of the test was dictation. Studying all of those characters really paid off. I still got alot of things wrong, but it was a much more reasonable amount since I reviewed so much last night. The first half of the dictation was straight transcription, and the second half was paraphrasing. Basically, the first half made sure we knew how to write, and the second half made sure we knew the meaning of what we were hearing. Alot of times you can get away with just one of those in class, but not today.

The second half of the test was listening and answering questions. In the first section, we listened to one-two sentences once and answered one multiple choice question directly following each. There were ten of those questions. In the next section we listened to dialogues once and answered one multiple choice question following each. There were eight of those questions.

After the second section was over, I could hear the sounds of panicking students around me over the multilingual profanity already being uttered repeatedly in my head. At this point, the test was just like the HSK. We got one shot to hear everything perfectly, read though the answers, and answer very quickly before the next started. This is the thing that killed everyone on the HSK. Luckily, though, because it was class and not a standardized test, we got one more chance to listening to each section once.

Honestly, I was doing much better this time than I did on the HSK. Granted, I would have gotten a terrible grade on those two sections without the second time to listen, but the score would have been better than my HSK score. To me, that is indicative of improvement. So, for that, I am very pleased. I still have a very long way to go, but at least I know I'm on my way.

The next section required that we listen to two paragraphs of text twice, and then determine if statements about them were correct or incorrect. The following section had eight sentences written in it with blanks next to them. The directions said to listen to five sentences, and then mark next to the blank ones the order in which they were said. Of course, the sentences spoken and written were different. We were given two chances to listen to the five sentences, which were said all together. Instead of trying to scramble through the eight sentences, which were poorly formatted to be on the front and back of one page, I just wrote down the most important parts of the sentences on a blank part of the page, and hoped that would help me determine the order in a less panicked fashion. I think that was helpful.

You really don't get a chance to think about what you're doing on these listening tests. If I hadn't been doing this for a while in class already, I would have been as panicked today as I was during the listening section of the HSK. Have I mentioned that I want to take that test again before I leave? That thing made me so mad, and I think I can do alot better after having studied here for a year.

The last sections were easy. We had to listen to sentences that we already had most of written for us and fill in what wasn't there already. On those missing words, we had to mark tones. That's not a problem when you get to hear it, though. The other of the last two sections was marking pauses on sentences. No problem.

I think that grade-wise I did poorly on the test. However, as grades are no longer something I'm considering here, I think I did fairly well. After completing the test, I felt like I had retained alot of the information that I learned, and that my listening skills have been really improving since I've been studying here. I'm going to go ahead and call the test a success in that regard.


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