So I had my placement test at Shida last tuesday. I had four timeslots to choose from, and I chose the last one to show up there which was last tuesday from 2 to 4pm. I just thought this would be the least crowded one and I guess I was right.
Actually, this was not just the placement test but also the process for registering as a new student, paying the fees and receiving the MTC student card. But believe me, the most exciting part was of course the placement test. :) As I told you before, I had already studied Chinese, so I didn't want to start from the first course. That said, I wanted to pass the placement test with the best result possible so I could skip at least the first course. So I really studied hard for that test. How did I study? Well, as I mentioned before in my first posting, I bought the book that is used at Shida for the beginner classes and actually worked all my way through the whole book. That was a lot of work but it did pay off! Actually as I found out that was the best method to be perfectly prepared for the placement test, but more on that later on...
The placement test consisted of two parts. First was the oral interview and second a computer based multiple choice test. As you can imagine, the oral interview part was the one that made me much more nervous! Being interrogated by a Chinese teacher...in Chinese....ahhhh! Oh my god...! But let me tell you about my first impression of Shida. I found the registration procedure and the subsequent placement test to be extremely well organised and professional. You could tell that they have years and years of experience. Everything just went fine, without any moments where you ask yourself: what to do now, where to go and so on. Just fine.
Let me show you two pics of the whole oral interview setting:
Nice right? 3 teachers on a brightly illuminated stage. Well, that didn't exactly make me less nervous. ;) Anyways, I got a waiting number and had to wait until it was my turn to have some head-to-head Chinese conversation...
Hm, number 4, not really considered a lucky number in the Chinese speaking context, since "4" has nearly the same pronounciation as "death". Good thing that I don't really believe in such stuff. After a 15 minutes wait I was told that now it would be my turn. The moment I sat down on the chair in front of the female teacher was the revealing moment of truth. Yeah, my heart was beating like as if it mistook itself for the bass drum of a techno track. I really prefer written examinations. Well, let me tell you about the oral interview. In the application, you also had to indicate your previous Chinese studies. And that was also the first topic in that conversation. The teacher asked me where exactly I studied Chinese before, how many characters I was able to read, which books I had used and so on. I could understand her very well and answer all the questions in a quite fluent way. At least in my perception it was like that. :) I also told her that I had used the PAVC book to study at home. All the teachers had the PAVC book on the table, so you see, if you want to prepare for that placement test, get this book! After I told her that I had already finished the whole book, she said to me: "真的馬？我看看..." Which means like "Really? Let me see about that...". So she opened one of the last pages of the book and let me read out the text there, which was of course completely in Chinese without any Pinyin romanization...here I took a pic of that page for you:
And since I really had studied the contents of the whole book, I could flawlessly read out the whole page. After that she was obviously satisfied and asked me if I directly wanted to start with the second book. Damn was I happy! She even asked me if I wanted to skip the multiple-choice test. But since I studied so hard for everthing, I also wanted to take it. So the oral examination was a full success!
The multiple choice test was held in language lab:
I had 40 minutes to complete a couple of questions. It was listening and reading comprehension. Also there was a part just about vocabulary, where no text was spoken and you just had to read some sentence and find the right answer from 4 choices which would fill the blank. But most of the test consisted of listening to some sample sentences and then also choose from a to d and show that you understood the meaning of the sample sentence. Again, with my PAVC book I was very well prepared. The vocabulary was taken from the book and even some whole text phrases where directly taken from the exercise section of the book. (No, I do not get any money from the PAVC book series for promoting their book. Actually I should! Haha...)
Yeah, that was about my successful placement test. Next monday will be the orientation session, where they will tell us everything about the Mandarin Training Center and where I will get to know my fellow students! I am very much looking forward to that!