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    I am currently going to a mandarin school on the weekend it is a 3 year GCSE course I only had been there for a month.I had done french GCSE and I was not happy with the GCSE as a measurement of language proficiency because I found it to be about memorization not about being able to speak well.So I want to change mandarin schools and do the HSK course I think it may be more suited for me.Does anyone have any experience or opinions about these two qualifications.
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    (Original post by Anonymous1502)
    I am currently going to a mandarin school on the weekend it is a 3 year GCSE course I only had been there for a month.I had done french GCSE and I was not happy with the GCSE as a measurement of language proficiency because I found it to be about memorization not about being able to speak well.So I want to change mandarin schools and do the HSK course I think it may be more suited for me.Does anyone have any experience or opinions about these two qualifications.
    The HSK exam is the official Chinese language exam, so is much more useful than a GCSE - e.g. if you want to study in China, they will only accept HSK scores as proof of language skills and if you do well in the HSK exam you can get lots of scholarships. Also, in job applications the HSK exam will be much more highly regarded.

    Whether it involves lots of memorisation or not depends on who is teaching it really. If it's an intensive class aimed at getting you to a high HSK level in a short amount of time, then it will probably just focus on memorising loads of characters and grammar points. This is useful if you just want to get a high HSK level for job/ university/ scholarship applications, but not if you actually want to do well in China.

    I did an intensive Chinese language program for a year in China and easily got to HSK 4 level in that time. The program was an all-round program covering far more words than required for HSK 4, more detailed grammar points and a focus on speaking and handwriting skills, so was a lot more useful than just aiming to pass the HSK exam (theres a guy on youtube who passed HSK 4 in just three months - but if you listen his Chinese really isn't very good, not at a particularly useful level even though he has a high HSK level). This is because the HSK exams aren't very good in my opinion - they are now computer based, so you don't need to know how to handwrite characters, and there is no speaking component to the main HSK exams (there is a separate HSKK exam for this though if you want). The independent writing section of HSK 4 was VERY small and just consisted of writing very basic short sentences, not testing your ability to write a proper essay or paragraph on a topic.

    So basically, what I'm trying to say is that you should aim to take an HSK exam at some point, but that just following the "HSK syllabus" and focusing only on passing the exam isn't really that useful in terms of actual Chinese skills. However, if you just want to use the exam as a way of getting a job/ scholarship/ uni place then the HSK course may be helpful. Otherwise, I'd recommend enrolling on a general Chinese language course which covers all areas of the language (perhaps the GCSE course, but I wouldn't focus so much on the GCSE qualification as it's pretty useless in itself) and just taking the appropriate HSK exam for the level you end up at - you'll find that the vocab will probably be pretty similar.
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    I did an FCSE (kind of like a foundation GCSE or BTEC) in Chinese waaaay back in secondary school, can't remember all that much about it but it did involve actually using the language yourself (writing paragraphs, having spoken assessments) which was pretty similar really to the intensive Chinese program I did all of last year. So I'd guess that the GCSE program would have slightly more of a focus on practical use of the language, whereas the HSK program would be more about memorising the vocab lists and grammar points for the particular HSK level you're aiming for. I could be wrong though, perhaps talk to your teachers for advice?
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    If you're really passionate about learning Chinese and have some spare time over the summer, I'd highly recommend doing an intensive Chinese language program in China. If you'd be interested, I'll have a look into scholarships for them for you - I do vaguely recall that the confucius institute and possibly also the British Council offer funding for short-term Chinese language programs in China
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    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    If you're really passionate about learning Chinese and have some spare time over the summer, I'd highly recommend doing an intensive Chinese language program in China. If you'd be interested, I'll have a look into scholarships for them for you - I do vaguely recall that the confucius institute and possibly also the British Council offer funding for short-term Chinese language programs in China
    Thank you.I think I will do the HSK instead and perhaps in the summer will go to China for a language course I wanted to do it last year but I did not manage to also it was quite expensive.If I have any questions may I message you.
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    (Original post by Anonymous1502)
    Thank you.I think I will do the HSK instead and perhaps in the summer will go to China for a language course I wanted to do it last year but I did not manage to also it was quite expensive.If I have any questions may I message you.
    Sounds good! Sure, feel free to message me with any questions

    Also, if you want advice on cheap/ good language programs let me know - some of the ones advertised are SUPER expensive :'( but I spent ages researching the best value ones (generally ones offered directly by universities, rather than through overseas agents/ travel companies/ British universities etc.). Also, I'll dig up the info I researched before on scholarships for flights/ food/ tuition
 
 
 
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