So I totally bombed the Huayu Test of Proficiency today. Well, maybe bomb is a little bit inaccurate, but I didn’t finish the test. I’m upset I didn’t budget my time more wisely because what happened was that I spent a lot of time on the grammar section, my weak point, and as a result did not have enough time to finish the reading comprehension section, which I did quite well in when I pre-tested myself. DAMMIT! Anyway, this means that I won’t get a certificate of proficiency this time, but at least I will still be able to use the results as a diagnostic tool when I get them back.

The TOP tests your listening comprehension skills, ability to use grammar correctly and reading comprehension. What it does not test is your ability to write (the test is multiple choice) or speak. I think I did fine on the listening comprehension section, except for the few questions where I either did not listen closely enough, or zoned out because I was worried about not having listened closely enough to the previous problem. My grasp of literary Mandarin grammar is still a little bit shaky, so I probably did not do that well. I did quite well on the reading comprehension section when I tested myself using TOP’s study book and mock test, but of course that’s the section I didn’t finish. I’ve heard from others that the test is quite hard, and very few people actually past on their first try. I took the intermediate test, since I am considered intermediate level by the Mandarin Training Center, but there were still many characters and sentence structures I did not recognize.

Since I have a habit of getting worked up and being tightly wound, Ron was worried I was going to be too nervous about the TOP. To be honest, I wasn’t. There isn’t much you can do to study for it besides do the mock test and review the Mandarin you have learned already. It is a proficiency test, after all, and the best way to prepare for it is to incorporate Mandarin into your day-to-day life.

I’d like to earn a certificate at some point, just so I can have it on my wall when I’m senile and would like souvenirs of the good old days when I could (sort of) read Mandarin (or any other language for that matter), so I might take the test again in the winter.

In other news, I’ve started researching locations for my wedding (I can’t make my parents do all the hard work). I had no idea I could have my wedding on a boat. Wow. It looks like Commodore pretty much plans the whole thing for you. There are some positives and some drawbacks to this particular option:


1) Relatively easy wedding planning
2) Unruly guests/members of the wedding party/officiants/brides/grooms can be easily thrown overboard
3) Stunning views of the San Francisco Bay are sure to be a crowd-pleaser
4) I can incorporate one of our cats into the ceremony


1) Seasickness and mass projectile vomiting
2) We have to be on and off the boat within five hours
3) Will the rocking of the boat affect my chocolate fountain?
4) I have a haunting feeling that my senior prom was on a Commodore ship, leading me to believe that I might experience overwhelming feelings of deja vu during my nuptials

Hmmm. Decisions, decisions, decisions.