I’ve been studying Mandarin as a hobby for a few years now, but I’ve decided to step it up a bit this year. As part of one of my goals for 2010, I am going to take the HSK Basic test.

While passing the HSK Basic would be a big boost for me, in the grand scheme of things passing the basic test means one simply has a solid base to really begin learning Mandarin. For example, to pass the Basic test you only have to know somewhere between 800 to 1000 characters - for perspective you need to know about 3,500 to read a newspaper. So passing the basic tests really means “you are ready to begin learning”.

Since my personal Mandarin focus for this year is going to be on the test, I’ve updated my Mandarin word of the day service to only send out HSK level 1 words. My apologies to any (of the many) subscribers that are past that level, but I don’t currently have the resources to make multiple feeds for separate levels.

I’ve also put together a few PagePacker books for studying on the go. If you are going to take the HSK Basic (Elementary), you might find them useful:

They are great to keep in your pocket, and then whip out whenever you have some free time to study.

If you’ve never used PagePacker before this is how you fold the printed pages to make them into little books:

PagePacker Folding