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Self-studying AP Chinese?

HypocratesHypocrates 69 replies36 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
edited November 2011 in World Languages
Hi, I'm a freshman right now (well, the year's almost over), and I'd really like to become fluent in Chinese. I've already started to learn some characters and sounds, and I love the language, but currently I'm at a very basic level.

If I committed myself to fluency, is there any way I could self study the AP Chinese Language & Culture exam and take it by my senior year?
Thanks.


Note: I'm really good with languages.
edited November 2011
15 replies
Post edited by Hypocrates on
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Replies to: Self-studying AP Chinese?

  • immadinosaurimmadinosaur 110 replies6 threads- Junior Member
    are you native speaker? or are just starting to learn chinese? because chinese is a really difficult language. and the ap test requires you to hold conversations and give presentations about chinese culture.

    lol gg. good luck with that.
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  • kyoakyoakyoakyoa 36 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    It's definitely possible, providing you don't approach this like a traditional academic class. Learn the characters using the book "Remembering the Hanzi." I used the Japanese equivalent, and I already know literally hundreds characters (including all the ones on the AP Japanese test), and I've only been studying for four months.
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  • HypocratesHypocrates 69 replies36 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks. I'll look into it.
    If anyone can recommend any other resources, that would be appreciated!
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  • xrCalico23xrCalico23 4661 replies12 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Hypocrates, good for you! Depending on where you live, have you thought about the possibility of teaching English to a new immigrant from China, in return learning Chinese from that person? That would a great way to practice speaking Chinese and learn about the culture.
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  • AimHigh2AimHigh2 553 replies47 threadsRegistered User Member
    I would also like to self-study Chinese so I can take the AP Exam by junior/senior year. What other materials are recommended?
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  • TERMStudentTERMStudent 24 replies6 threads. New Member
    I self studied AP French and German (German didn't go so well because I started about 4 months before the test, but I ended up doing alright) so I can tell you what I did. I'm hoping to self study Chinese as well, so here's what I have.

    I bought Rapid Literacy Chinese and Intensive Spoken Chinese (spoken is a related item if you scroll down): Amazon.com: Rapid Literacy in Chinese (Mandarin Chinese and English Edition) (English and Chinese Edition) (9787800526954): Zhang Pengpeng: Books

    Pick up the Assimil course in Mandarin Chinese: Amazon.com: Chinese with Ease: Volume 1 Book and Audio CD Pack (v. 1) (9782700520507): Phillip Kantor: Books

    If you only get one of those, I'd go with the Assimil course. Assimil makes some of the best courses I have ever seen and they helped me reach a very high level in French and German. I have Assimil courses in French, Spanish, German, Japanese, and Chinese, and all are top notch.

    Make sure you listen to Chinese radio or watch Chinese TV everyday. You should strive for at least 10 minutes of pure focused attention to the audio, and then try and leave the radio on in the background while you do other things - this will subconsciously help you with pronunciation and the sentence structure of the language.

    I suppose this won't work in Chinese since it's another writing system, but in my other languages I tried to read one newspaper article each day and pick up new words.

    You might want to look at how-to-learn-any-language.com, which has a very helpful forum with good tips and knowledgeable members who can help you if you have any questions.

    EDIT: Also, do you know what type of a language learner you are? As in, do you know if you learn best through audio only methods or grammar based books, etc? Or is this your first language you're studying on your own?
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  • zMatrixzMatrix 115 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'd be amazed by the dedication required to self study any language from scratch to the AP level, not to mention Chinese. While I've spoken Chinese conversationally all my life, I didn't find the exam that easy (though the curve is fairly generous I must say). Good luck!
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  • TERMStudentTERMStudent 24 replies6 threads. New Member
    I don't think you have to be particularly dedicated - at least it's not a conscious dedication. You really just have to love the languages and the process, otherwise it's useless. Same thing with any other endeavor really.
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  • funkeicoolfunkeicool 36 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I have to say it would be extremely difficult. I've learned Chinese my whole life, both my parents are from Beijing, and I visit China every other summer. I took the AP Chinese test this year and got a 5. Since each word in Chinese is unique and different, it's hard to memorize all the characters because there is no set alphabet.

    The speaking portion in the test speaks relatively slowly, so if you work hard to listen to all the conversations, you should be able to understand all of that. There are oral portions were you have to reply, so it may be difficult to think of a reply.

    Overall, depending on how dedicated you are, it is possible. It would still be an extremely daunting task though =/
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  • MsGoldyMsGoldy 6 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Like some of the others have said, I spoke colloquial Chinese and took the test and got a 5. I thought I did horrible, but I guess for non-native speakers the experience must be so much more difficult. If you could practice with someone who spoke Chinese, that would definitely help.
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  • thechor346thechor346 88 replies9 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Becoming extremely fluent in any language is a challenge.

    But you knew that. Everyone above me has said that already.

    What I can tell you, is that the AP Chinese test is a pain in the buttocks. I am a fluent Chinese speaker, but I dont write or read. My main language is Chinglish (Random mix of Chinese and English).

    The LISTENING and READING are easily studied for. Not a BIG issue.

    The main sections you should watch out for are the writing and speaking.

    Its hard to piece together a story for the WRITING section and then find the right Chinese words while using the right sentence structure and the right grammar and choose the right word. For all you know, you meant to say "yes" but ended up saying something related to "time".

    The SPEAKING is nerve racking. You have to avoid stuttering and repeating yourself but still fill up most of the 20 seconds. The culture speaking is hard if you've never lived in China. (I had trouble because I havent been to China in 8 years.)

    Overall, I personally wouldnt have attempted it if I wasnt relatively fluent. Maybe your goal should be SAT II Chinese. That doesnt have the writing or the speaking and is A LOT easier.

    And now I end my post with a resource. I suggest the culture part of this. Its long, but if you can shorten it, its rather helpful if you have no idea what China's like. Pick ONE thing from each section. Good luck!

    Amazon.com: Barron's AP Chinese Language and Culture: with Audio CDs (Barron's: the Leader in Test Preparation) (9780764194009): Yan Shen: Books
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  • deathblade127deathblade127 419 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    I'm an international student studying in Hong Kong. If you're interested in learning chinese, send me an email at [email protected] and we can work from there!
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  • Alexander255110Alexander255110 24 replies3 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Hey guys, so, I am semi-fluent Chinese speaker. I used to know how to write but I forgot most of them. I know how to say it though (the basic words) Ive lived in Hong Kong for like 3 years. When I watch Chinese TV, most of the time, I understand what they're saying and whats going on. I speak Cantonese at home with my mom.

    What do you think I need to study on? I heard the Chinese writing part is all pinyin typed so no character writing (YAY!) is that true? I'm pretty good at pinyin. It'll probably take two guesses for some words.
    I got the Barron's book and so far, I did the speaking part. It looked REALLY EASY. (Its like doing Algebra II all over again)

    In all, can someone just highlight the main parts of the AP Exam for me? How is the speaking like?

    Thanks
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  • ViTong4ViTong4 181 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Alexander: the AP chinese test does use pinyin :] [which caused a bit of trouble for me because I learned cantonese first...]
    Anyhow.. to the point!

    Here's how the exam goes :

    Part A [listening multiple choice] :

    10 min of "rejoinders" They give you the beginning of a sentence or conversation and you choose the "culturally appropriate and correct response"

    10 min of listening comprehension .. they play a story or conversation and you answer questions

    Part B [reading multiple choice]

    1 hour of reading passages .... from sign-reading to letter reading....


    Free response questions [pinyin typing] :

    Writing:
    15 mins story narration : they give you a comic-style 4 panel illustration and you write a story to go with the pictures

    15 mins email response : they give you an email and you respond to it. sounds simple enough :]

    Speaking:
    4 Mins conversation : you are asked questions and are given 20 seconds to answer them verbally.

    7 mins cultural presentation : you are given a prompt and have 4 mins to prepare a 2 min speech on it.

    The cultural presentation was the hardest for me. And, I'm not exactly that fluent in mandarin. I can understand a lot through listening... but I'm a slow reader and my BSed answers often used cantonese grammar instead of mandarin grammar. I still got a 5 though o_o

    somehow.
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  • ViTong4ViTong4 181 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
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