Exam season is upon us! Whether you are studying for your A-Levels, university degree or HSK Chinese exam, everyone is in the same boat together. Here’s my tips for how to prepare for a Chinese test:
Though you will likely be preparing for not only a written test but also perhaps a speaking or listening exam, here are some great tips to get you ready for all your upcoming tests.
Make vocabulary lists
A great way of organising your notes is to create separate vocabulary lists. One for the vocabulary you need to review and get fresh in your memory again, and one for vocabulary you have completely forgotten or simply don’t know.
For the vocabulary that you have already learnt and just need to bring to the front of your mind again, a fun way to revise them can be to work with your classmates to test each other. This way you can focus your self-study efforts on revising the words you are less familiar with; one way to get them to stick in your memory is to make sentences with them, either out loud or written down.
Review material in a different order to when you first learnt it
Reviewing your class material in a different order to when you first learnt it can be a good way to make your brain work harder to remember the content. Not only does it help you check to see if you actually know the course material, as opposed to just being able to recite it, but it can make it more interesting to go through old notes with a fresh perspective. You may also find you discover new material you perhaps paid less attention to previously.
Do some general language practice outside of the curriculum
Its great to get some fresh material in front of your eyes, especially when you can’t bear the idea of picking up your revision text book again. Even just reading a few articles, listening to a new passage or watching some TV. Different language media can always help to improve your language proficiency and can get you ‘in the zone’ for your exams. After all, Chinese exams are often about your general language ability, as opposed to simply remembering all your class notes, though they are important too!
If can’t remember a specific word or phrase then practice trying to find new ways to say it or write it. You can still get your meaning across even if not in the original way you intended; language is flexible and you should be too. So if during your revision you can’t remember a word or phrase you want to use, then don’t panic, practice finding a new way to say it.
Get a good night sleep
Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before the day of your test. Don’t over-fill your brain. Revising little and often is the way forward, keeping the language alive in your mind rather than cramming just before the exam. One key bit of advice is that you should relax and have faith in your language capability, you’ll be surprised to find its often a lot better than you think!
加油 and good luck to all those students who will be sitting their exams in the upcoming weeks!
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