I took my end of semester test today, and scored high enough that I’ll be able to skip part of the next level! That’s pretty exciting news. Not surprisingly, my reading score was a good bit higher (nearly 20% higher) than my listening score since I’ve spent so much time focusing on reading. I’m OK with that for now, but I would like to take a class that will bring my listening up to par, so I went to talk to my teacher about what to do for next term.

Up through the end of Practical Audio-Visual Chinese Book 4, it’s a pretty clear choice every term. After book IV, your options open a bit. The standard route, as I’ve written before, is to take Far East Everyday Chinese Book 3, then PAVC 5. Some people (maybe one in four) choose to take Mini Radio Plays instead of Far East 3. Mini Radio Plays is just what it sounds like, 12 lessons in the form of short radio dramas (7-14 minutes).

I’ve heard nothing but good about it from other students who have taken it. One said that after finishing the book he was really able to listen to the radio here and understand pretty much everything. Another person said he was now able to attend university lectures and follow with no problems. I’m a little skeptical about these results, but the book really does seem quite good.

Now, here’s the problem. My score on the test the other day will allow me to skip to chapter 10 (or maybe it was 11?) of PAVC 4. So next term, after a few weeks once we’ve finished Book 4, we’ll take a vote on which book to do next. Which statistically pretty much means it will be Far East 3. Depending on the teacher, the vote may take place either in the first week of the term (which is OK) or once Book 4 is done, at which point it’s too late to switch classes. So all in all, it doesn’t look very good.

My teacher thinks there’s no point in me doing Far East 3, since there’s so much overlap between that book and what I’ve already studied (she is familiar with my study outside of class and is really cool about working with me when I don’t turn in my homework because I’m studying other stuff). She actually said she thinks I could skip straight to PAVC 5, which is more 書面, but I don’t want to jump that far because my listening and speaking still need some work, and I can keep working on my reading on the side like I’ve been doing.

So she recommended that I go to the office and request to skip straight to Mini Radio Plays. It’s only a few extra chapters to skip, and I have no problem understanding the first few lessons of the book. So I’ll be asking tomorrow. I’m sure it will take some pushing, and I may need to get my teacher to tell them that she thinks it’s a good idea, but she told me it’s our right as students to take the classes we want to take if our Chinese is up to the task, and she said I should be able to get them to let me take what I want to take, provided there are other students who also want to take the class (which in this case, there are).

So, wish me luck!

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