Well, I took the end-of-term test yesterday, and did terribly. It’s the same level I took last term to test into Mini Radio Plays, and my score was 4 points lower than before.
I could chalk this up to a lot of things. I was sleepy to the point of not being to keep my eyes open at times. The test was a good bit harder than usual (this is corroborated by other students, and even my teacher). And other excuses.
The real reason is that I’ve been lazy about doing SRS stuff. There were a ton of words, particularly on the written portion of the test, that I knew at one point but couldn’t remember yesterday. I’ve been wondering about the efficacy of SRSing lately, and now I’ve answered that. Time to hit the flash cards again.
Now this isn’t to say that my Chinese has regressed. Not by any means. My listening score went way up, and that was one of my big reasons for taking Mini Radio Plays. So that’s a success. And this isn’t to say my reading ability has slipped either. I’m reading more than ever, actually. There’s a specific set of vocabulary used on this test though. Vocabulary which I haven’t been reviewing in Pleco for most of this term, so it has gotten rusty. No big deal, really.
The one bad thing is that I won’t be able to take Thought and Society this summer. Again, no big deal. I was beginning to wonder if I was ready for it anyway. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable discussing the topics in that book yet. So now I have 3 more months to prepare, and you’d better believe I’ll be working hard this summer.
Once I finish TOCC I’ll be studying Thought and Society, learning the vocabulary passively in preparation for learning to use it actively once I take the class this fall. I’ll probably take Newspaper I as my class this summer (regular, not intensive), and I’ll also be continuing with Shadick (should finish sometime in June fairly easily I think). After Shadick it will be either back to LCFAB (進階文言文讀本) or using the 2 國中文言文讀本 that my English student gave me.
So that’s (“only”) three textbooks at a time. And an extra hour per day of free time since I’ll be taking the regular course. I’m trying to streamline, instead of studying every textbook I can get my hands on.
I want to study the few most important things only. The rest of my time I plan to just live in Chinese, aside from when I’m with my wife or teaching English. A sort of All Chinese All The Time, which I’ve been wanting to do forever, and have tried but failed mightily at. It will finally work this time around. Really, I should have been doing this already. My life in Taipei is still about 60% English if I had to guess.
I have trouble maintaining interest when my comprehension is low, but I’m at a level now that I can understand most things I hear or read if they aren’t too specialized. I turned on the TV today and watched a few variety shows with no real problems. Watched a few episodes of random dramas on sugoideas and got most of it. I can also read well enough to make use of the 漫畫 rental stores around Taipei. I burned through the first book of Death Note (死亡筆記本) in two days this past weekend, for example.
So this summer will be some studying (Newspaper I in class, self-studying Thought and Society, and doing some 文言文) and a LOT of using. I have some local friends I’m going to hang out with as much as possible so I can speak Chinese as much as possible. I’m getting some new headphones because there’s no way I can listen to as much audio as I plan on listening to if I’m using the stock iPhone headphones (yeah…I know). I hear I can pick up the Grado SR-60 or SR-80 near Ximen, so that’s probably what I’ll go for.
Anyway, like I said, I’m not too fussed that I’m not able to skip a level next term. After all, I skipped two this term. The material in Newspaper I won’t be too difficult, and I’ll have time to study the other stuff I want to study, and just use Chinese as much as I can.
I also have a new thing I’m going to try with Thought and Society, and maybe with Newspaper I. Using Pleco’s OCR function, it’s easy to get a copy of any article or textbook lesson into a text file. It takes some editing, but it really isn’t bad. From there, I’m making MCD cards in Anki (google “MCD ajatt” for more info). This is an experiment, but I’m hoping it will work well.
So, three textbooks, MCDs, and as much reading, listening, and speaking as I can fit into my life. Here goes…