How to prepare your HSK Listening

In HSK listening, examinees are required to understand the main theme and content of a passage reading at a rate of 130 words per minute, and distinguish the scene, relationship of characters, identity of characters, intention and meanings of the passage. In addition, listening is a comprehensive testing involving pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar and so on. Listening test is the first and most difficult part of in HSK. Therefore, having a good performance in HSK listening will decrease the examinees' pressure.

In general, there are several factors that may affect the examinee to perform well in listening test.

Distinguishing different tones: If the examinee has problems in distinguish tones, he may feel difficult to know the right meanings.

Speaking rate: According to the test outline, the passage is read at the rate of 130 words per minute. Be sure to get familiar with the speaking rate when taking exercises.

Vocabulary: Enlarge the vocabulary and do not let the new words interfere with understanding of passage.

Background knowledge: The more examinee gets familiar with the background knowledge, the better he or she answers questions. If a passage talks about taking air plane and the examinee do not have that kind of experience, examinee will have some difficulty answering the questions

Psychological quality: Do not be nervous about taking listening test, especially when you do not follow one or two questions. When you are thinking about the previous questions, you may miss the following information.

Tips: The main tips for taking listening test are how to grab the keywords, how to predict the questions, how to guess the main idea and how to use exclusive method.

1. Get familiar with "W form" questions
Most of the conversations and passages begin with "W form" questions. The conversation begins with what, why, where, when, who and whom. All these interrogative sentences limited the responses to certain aspect, such as reason, location, time and figure. Make sure to pay full attention to such interrogative sentences.

2. Judging the intention of the speakers
Most of the conversations reflect one speaker's agreement, refusal, anger or delight about certain topic.

3. Be aware of the context and main information
The context includes relationship between speakers, time, location and key words.

4. Learn how to predict questions
The four answers on the text paper will narrow the scope of questions. The examinee should first get the brief information and listen to the passage with queries. Therefore, browsing the answers in advance, predicting the theme of the passage will help a lot in answering the questions.

5. Arrange your time properly
Between each questions, it has 14 seconds to answer the question. How to use this period of time is very important. After the examinee finishes the previous question, try to leave a few seconds to browse the next question.

6. Use exclusive method to answer the questions
In case the examinee understands most of the passage, but could not directly pick the answer. He may use exclusive method. In most questions, examinee first excludes the most ridiculous answers and then picks the best answers from the left ones.

7. Take notes
In general, a passage contains large amount of information. How to remember the main content effectively is the key to answer the questions. When listening to a conversation or passage, the examinee should take notes under the condition that he or she has known the main theme. The note contents should be time, location, names and numbers referred in the conversation.

Useful Tips on preparing listening test

Reading out sentence per sentence (i.e. repeating what you hear on your mp3). It allows focus on each individual word and tones in context and also introduces another "memory" variable (speaking), which can further aid the listening skills.

If you have time, I recommend that you listen to a text sentence by sentence and then write them in hanzi. Revision also plays a key role here. Revising three to four times with a given time interval helps retain the material whether it is aural, oral or reading comprehension.