Which level you are planing to pass? Levels 1 and 2 are so easy that if you are living in China and hear Chinese every day you will not have any trouble passing. I got 199/200 and the only thing I studied was the list of words you need to know, all in pinyin. I doubt level 3 is much difficult, the only change is that you must learn the characters, which I had no time or motivation to spend time.
If you can pass level 6, it means your Chinese is very good and totally fluent.
Thanks for your good wishes. I think I am level 2 or maybe above that. However, it's so long since I did an exam I decided to do Level 1 now so I can feel what exams are like. If I am successful then I will do level 2 in the summer then think about 3. For me, Chinese language, history and culture (not to mention food!) is a bit of a hobby, but exam success is important for me.
Just so you know, I know that passing the HSK in and of itself does not mean I can really use the langauge
lol i agree with you. i can pass a bunch of tests but they dont mean much. neither knowledge nor intelligence is measurable. you can repeat things, it doesnt mean you understand them, either. thats why i think the world as we have it set up at this point in time is pathetic, and would be laughable if it werent so tragic.
I understand that test success is not the same as using a language. I was in China in October and learnt a lot about speaking, and listening to, Chinese for real. I also realise HSK-1 is easy but it's not a waste of time for me because I need to ease back into doing exams after decades away from language study.
I have now completed several tests from the Level 1 book and it's not true to say you can pass by just learning a list of words. Lots of the questions are quite subtle so I am glad I bought the book before trying the real exam at SOAS on 28 March.