The listening portion of this year’s HKDSE Chinese Language Paper 3 was difficult, while the integrated skills (IS) section was of average difficulty, said students.
The listening portion of the exam covered subjects such as what makes an ideal society, with mentions of books like Utopia by Thomas More, the Li Yun chapter of the Chinese classic Book of Rites, and The Peach Blossom Spring by Tao Yuanming.
The integrated skills portion asked students to analyse what makes a city liveable based on the provided material, and to write about a themed activity.
Tim Chan, 17, of Munsang College thought the listening section tried to throw off students by putting details of names and dates at the end, and including new types of questions. “Some questions would ask you about the tone and rhetoric of the recordings rather than just asking about the content,” he said. “The questions were less direct and took some improvisation [to answer].”
Queen’s College student, Bill Sham, 17, also found this year’s listening to be harder than he thought it would be, while the integrated skills paper was as he expected. “The listening had more multiple choice questions worth fewer points each,” he noticed.
However, Vincent Tsui, a Chinese Tutor at King’s Glory Education, thought both the listening and IS papers were harder than last year’s, saying the listening recordings were spoken faster and students had less time to complete the questions.
“The portion where students had to develop their own points was the most difficult part. There was very little information provided, only the topic plus one sentence.” he added. “The students not only had to write about the merits of green living and art, but also explain how they would make the community better. It’s the most difficult in the HKDSE so far. I expect a low average mark.”
He notes that as well as the theme being new – about the city and society instead of campus life like most years – the students also had to come up with their own title for their written article and create their own examples instead of being able to draw from the exam materials, which added another layer of difficulty.
Winter Lau, a member of star tutor Lam Yat-yan’s Chinese Language tutorial team at Beacon College, said this year’s IS paper was of average difficulty.
“There was less information given for students to analyse this year, which meant students had to develop ideas themselves,” she said, pointing out in the past, there would be specific examples of data for candidates to use. “But the general theme of activity planning should have been familiar to students.”