Planning to take the TOCFL (Taiwan's Mandarin test) in May?

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Re: Planning to take the TOCFL (Taiwan's Mandarin test) in May?

Postby alecinwonderland » 14 May 2011, 20:27

Taffy wrote:Well, took the test on Saturday. It was harder than I thought it would be, mainly because of the time constraints - I definitely read Chinese too slowly (which is good to know, and something I must improve on). The online mock tests do not simulate a realistic test environment, because you can stop the audio and listen again. The actual listening test is once through only, with five seconds at the end of each recording to answer the questions. By the end of the reading portion I was guessing based on the questions alone without reading the texts, as I was running out of time. Scored 78% (64% is a pass), so I must have either done something right, or be the statistical fluke who beat the test despite not knowing anything.

I'll be back next year to do the next level up.


Which level did you take? I took the Superior level and scored 73%, but I thought that 80% was a pass? Have I missed something?
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Re: Planning to take the TOCFL (Taiwan's Mandarin test) in May?

Postby yukuefumei » 14 May 2011, 23:07

lostinasia wrote:(I used to enjoy teaching TOEFL, because I always seemed to learn something from the reading section! But my current school doesn't offer courses like that, and the students all head off to cram schools.)


That does sounds like a lot of fun! My impressions of the TOEFL are mostly gleaned from friends who complained about having to know the English terms for about twenty types of tools :neutral: To be honest, the TOCFL was pretty interesting at times. In the days after the test I kept running into bizarre situations that related to things I had read, so I guess I learned something too.

Alecinwonderland, I think you passed with that score. Although I can't remember the exact numbers, the cutoff for Superior/Master level is the lowest of all three tests, hovering somewhere in the low 60's, I want to say 62. In any case, a 73 is definitely enough for you to clear any level, so you passed!

Oh yes, for those interested in the test, another nice thing is that the computer shows you your score immediately after finishing the reading section, which I think is a really nice touch.
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Re: Planning to take the TOCFL (Taiwan's Mandarin test) in May?

Postby alecinwonderland » 27 May 2011, 22:39

Well, it turns out that I did pass (88%). I thought that the test was out of 120 because the website hasn't been updated:

http://www.sc-top.org.tw/english/LR/intermediate3.php

but if you search around a bit more, they have the new scoring:

http://www.sc-top.org.tw/download/Instr ... 0TOCFL.pdf

Anyway, I'm encouraged to go for the next level up in November. Time to get the 成語 book out!
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Re: Planning to take the TOCFL (Taiwan's Mandarin test) in May?

Postby odysseyandoracle » 17 Jun 2011, 05:55

If you're referring to the so-called Master Level test, the formal version is not being offered in November, at least not right now. You could take the pilot test however:

http://www.sc-top.org.tw/download/2011Schedule.pdf

I don't think they expected demand to be so great, so maybe that'll change. I was actually originally going to have to go to Tainan to take the test this before they opened up more spots in Taipei City.

One thing I'm curious about is the pass rates for the new test, which haven't been posted yet. This was my first time taking any level, so I have nothing to compare with, and the certificates don't include percentiles. I would say the reading section was somewhat more difficult than the mock test on their website, while the listening section was about the same or a bit easier. I'd also point out that I didn't feel there was anything trivial or culturally based on the test - there will be terms you don't know in the readings, but they can easily be skimmed over - if a text tells you that glubenfopper is bigger than muffelheimer and a question asks you which one is the biggest, it doesn't really matter if you have no idea what either glubenfopper or muffelheimer are. Hell, they even opted for 自行車 rather than 腳踏車.
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Re: Planning to take the TOCFL (Taiwan's Mandarin test) in May?

Postby archylgp » 22 Jun 2011, 22:23

Has anyone taken the HSK?
Can it be taken in Taiwan?

I'm planning on taking both.
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Re: Planning to take the TOCFL (Taiwan's Mandarin test) in May?

Postby ironlady » 23 Jun 2011, 04:40

odysseyandoracle wrote: if a text tells you that glubenfopper is bigger than muffelheimer and a question asks you which one is the biggest, it doesn't really matter if you have no idea what either glubenfopper or muffelheimer are. Hell, they even opted for 自行車 rather than 腳踏車.


You're right...which begs the question, what information are they really getting about one's proficiency? I know not all the items are like this -- but it takes a lot more to write meaningful multiple-choice questions that are integrative and reflect comprehension, not just answerable by a simple pattern drill or having read the grammar book.

At least the days of giving a three-paragraph passage and then asking, "Which of the following four chengyu best sums up the preceding three paragraphs?" seem to be over (please tell me they are?) :pray:
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Re: Planning to take the TOCFL (Taiwan's Mandarin test) in May?

Postby odysseyandoracle » 23 Jun 2011, 06:39

ironlady wrote:
odysseyandoracle wrote: if a text tells you that glubenfopper is bigger than muffelheimer and a question asks you which one is the biggest, it doesn't really matter if you have no idea what either glubenfopper or muffelheimer are. Hell, they even opted for 自行車 rather than 腳踏車.


You're right...which begs the question, what information are they really getting about one's proficiency? I know not all the items are like this -- but it takes a lot more to write meaningful multiple-choice questions that are integrative and reflect comprehension, not just answerable by a simple pattern drill or having read the grammar book.

At least the days of giving a three-paragraph passage and then asking, "Which of the following four chengyu best sums up the preceding three paragraphs?" seem to be over (please tell me they are?) :pray:


To be fair, while I haven't taken the HSK I did use (new) HSK 6 practice materials to prepare for the TOCFL, and I found that to be even more the case with both their listening and reading sections. The grammar/vocabulary would be ostensibly more difficult than the TOCFL, but the questions were very straightforward and mostly involved picking out one sentence from the text (for example, Q: "What is the most important challenge these families face?" Text: "Chengyu chengyu chengyu chengyu, the most important challenge families face is ___________.") which was often, not always, untrue when I took the TOCFL. The TOCFL questions, on the other hand, seemed to be more similar to the kinds of questions that would be asked on the reading comprehension sections of the SAT and GRE. Not that you mentioned the HSK, but I sometimes see it bandied about on the internet as being somehow more 'intense' than the TOCFL - not quite the case, if one knows how to take the test. Both tests reflect what I would consider roughly a high school reading level if in English.

No, there weren't any questions like that! I'm pretty good at chengyu and I spent a lot of time learning as many as I could before I took the test, but there weren't as many as I expected on the reading section. They are more important to the listening section, I'd say.

The thing that annoyed me most about the test was the pencils they gave us to take notes with. The point was almost as thick as a crayon! I had to resort to writing pinyin because I simply couldn't write characters quickly enough without having it come out completely illegible.

archy: I have heard that TLI gives the HSK but I can't confirm that that's true. A quick scan of their website doesn't reveal anything.
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Re: Planning to take the TOCFL (Taiwan's Mandarin test) in May?

Postby ironlady » 23 Jun 2011, 07:03

odysseyandoracle wrote:Q: "What is the most important challenge these families face?" Text: "Chengyu chengyu chengyu chengyu, the most important challenge families face is ___________."


:roflmao: :roflmao: I think you were Chinese in a previous life. :D That's spot-on.
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Re: Planning to take the TOCFL (Taiwan's Mandarin test) in May?

Postby alecinwonderland » 30 Jul 2011, 23:35

I took the pilot of the Master level at Shi-Da this afternoon. Thought the listening wasn't as hard as expected, but the reading was bloody awful. My brain actually got completely frazzled and I gave up on the last 10 questions and just guessed at random (multiple choice). My score: Listening 36 / 50, Reading 24 / 50, so a combined score of 60% with 62% being a pass. This kinda left me with mixed emotions about the whole thing. I'm confident that I can definitely pass this test next time round, but I'm also a bit upset at how easy the test was to pass. I wouldn't say that I was "reading" by any stretch of the imagination, just searching for specific information, often with a feeling of not understanding the article as a whole. For someone of my ability to be able to pass the highest "Master" level seems a bit of a joke.

Anyway, I want to improve my reading ability regardless of tests. I have a read of the Apple Daily most days and find that I have a fairly good comprehension of most topics apart from politics. Many parts of the reading section of the test today seemed much harder than the type of newspaper articles I've been reading. I guess I should be switching newspapers or something. Any advice?
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Re: Planning to take the TOCFL (Taiwan's Mandarin test) in May?

Postby odysseyandoracle » 30 Jul 2011, 23:56

alecinwonderland wrote:Anyway, I want to improve my reading ability regardless of tests. I have a read of the Apple Daily most days and find that I have a fairly good comprehension of most topics apart from politics. Many parts of the reading section of the test today seemed much harder than the type of newspaper articles I've been reading. I guess I should be switching newspapers or something. Any advice?


Try reading Chinese Wikipedia. You'll be able to choose topics that are closer to what appears on the TOCFL (or at least what did when I took it). I didn't feel that much of what was on there was very newspaper-y, more like a relatively classy magazine.
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