So today I finally took the dreaded HSK 5 test. I have no idea how I actually did. Like I said before all I need is a 60. In all my practice tests I have been getting a score right around the 60 range, but they say the practice tests are intentionally harder and most people will get a few points higher on the real test. So we’ll see. I’ll find out in a month.
The test was on a Sunday so I gave up on studying Friday afternoon. I figured cramming never helped anyone and it was best to just relax and let it all “sink in.” On Saturday I made a rule that me and my roommate Jason could only speak Chinese to get me into the right mindset.
Then me and my friend Michelle went out and had an over-the-top luxurious day. We first went to this little dessert shop and got a mango milky ice snack. It was a big pile of shaved ice, with sweet cream and huge, fresh pieces of ripe mango on top. The shop was this tiny little desert shop, but was packed because of how notoriously delicious it is.
Then we went to a tea place and sipped tea and chatted for awhile until dinner time, where we went to a sushi place. We only had an hour there before our 7pm massages. Like I said, it was an over-the-top luxurious day. (And the massage was amazing.)
As for the test day, I arrived right on time (30 minutes early) only to discover that I was the only one taking the test! The room had 60 computers, all for me. Actually it made me feel better because it felt less formal, more relaxed. Which was good, as taking a test is half psychological anyway.
I’m not quite sure of my results. The listening was easier than expected and the reading was harder (the computer, like, pixelated the character more than normal or something, making it harder to read). The essay writing part was ok, but my worst part, the “put the sentence in the proper order” is a total crapshoot. I have no idea. All I need is a 180 out of 300 to pass, basically a 60. I feel like I could be right at that point, either over or under the passing line, I have no idea.
But at this point, who cares! I can stop carrying around my practice exams, my vocab lists and study books. I feel so free!! This past week I got pretty burnt out from studying, yet still forced myself to do practice tests and learn some vocab. Now I can get back to other things, like writing, seeing my friends and watching movies. But I will admit I feel a little..I’m not quite sure the word…empty? Like suddenly a purpose, and an activity, is gone.
During sophomore year my students take an English test called TEM. My university puts a lot of emphasis on this test and for about 4 months all their classes (besides the foreign teachers) and their free time is spent preparing for this test. You would think that when the test was over they would feel relieved. But the funny thing is, they don’t. They suddenly feel very lost. I’ve had cute tiny girl students tell me they feel like punching people and other students telling me they feel like bursting into tears at random moments. I’ve always seen it as kind of a PTSD. They have so much pressure, so much constant attention to this test that once it’s done, it takes them a few weeks to readjust to a non-test life.
I’m not that bad, but I kinda get it. Before in my free moments, or free afternoons, I had something to do. A purpose. I didn’t just go to cafe’s to sit, I went to study. If I was waiting for a few minutes at a place I’d take out my vocab list and if I watched a TV show I felt guilty for “wasting my time and not studying.” Now that I don’t have that activity in my daily life I’m not quite sure what to do. I guess it was also a convenient excuse “Can’t do that, I’ve got to study!” and now that excuse is gone.
But really, I mostly feel relived. Relieved and very exhausted. (This 106 degree weather is not helping me.) I have a few weeks left of my summer holiday so time to adjust to my test free life and have fun.
Some HSK Statistics:
Number of practice tests taken: All together about 20. I didn’t do every part of every test, but most of them.
Money spent: 1,450rmb ($223): 700rmb on my teacher, 550 on the test and about 200 on books.
Months spent thinking about the test: 6 (As proven by this blog entry)
Months spent actually studying: 2