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Chula Intensive Thai - Questions


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Hi,

I'm going to take the Chula placement test next month, and intend on signing up for the course then. I've asked a few questions about the course previously, but have a few more (And a few repeats where I can't remember the answers).

As they're not offering level 1 in July, I want to ensure that I do well in it. I had a brief look at the textbook for level 1, and am reasonably sure that I'll be placed above level 1, but to ensure I don't get caught out on something silly, figured I should ask about the placement test.

What is the general format of the test? e.g. Does it involve reading/writing/listening/speaking? Is it on paper or on a computer? Does it ask for the proper names of letters/vowels etc, or just that you know it's function? does the test have questions in English and answers in Thai? or full Thai? or is it just an interview with someone from the school?

I'm just a bit concerned, as I can listen, read and speak well/ok, but I don't know the tones for most words, have difficuility spelling even basic words correctly and often get the names of the seldom used characters mixed up (e.g. ษ&ศ), also I type Thai extremely slowly.

In saying all that, I am reasonably confident that my Thai should be sufficient to be placed in level 2 or possibly 3. However would simply hate to get caught out on a single weakness and have to wait until level 1 resumes in September.

At the university, do we have access to rooms where we can do our homework/study after class? As I was thinking that'd be really handy, and would help to keep me focused.

And from what I gather, the dress code is smart casual? (long pants/jeans and a collared shirt)

How many students are in the classes? And are there usually many farang students? (Or are they primarily from other Asian countries?).

Is it easy to get involved in activities with the Thai students at the university? As if possible I want to try and immerse myself in Thai while I'm there, and play some sports/activities with Thai students during my free time.

And what sort of level do people come out with after level 3/6/9? I've heard it's equivalent to P6/M3/M6, but would like to know if people "sound" natural when they speak (e.g. actually speak like Thai people, rather than sounding like Farang speaking in Thai).

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  • 2 months later...

"What is the general format of the test? e.g. Does it involve reading/writing/listening/speaking? Is it on paper or on a computer? Does it ask for the proper names of letters/vowels etc, or just that you know it's function? does the test have questions in English and answers in Thai? or full Thai? or is it just an interview with someone from the school?"

There is a ten minute interview with someomne from the school. the other 2hrs 50 mins of the placement test is basically comprehension. You have several passages to read and answer questions about. The passages are not simple but not unrealistically difficult.

After the placement test I got assigned to Th 3.

"And from what I gather, the dress code is smart casual? (long pants/jeans and a collared shirt)"

Well, one lad from Japan insisted on shorts throughout the course but it didn't seem to raise eyebrows.

"How many students are in the classes? And are there usually many farang students? (Or are they primarily from other Asian countries?)."

This is really the major failing of the course, its geared to Asian studends rather than falangs. After just a couple of days it was obvious that the Asians benefited from the structures of their respective languages, which appeared to be similar to Thai language structures. Very soon the group was being lead at the pace set by the Asians. We had six Asians and three falangs. One falang dropped out about 2/3rds of the way through, one disappeared for a bit and I stuck it out without missing a day. Completed most of the homeworks, probably studied an extra 30 hours per week in addition to the course time. Still failed Th3.

Really would not recommend the Chula courses to falangs, its only really for Asians.

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When did you study there?

As I did my placement test in July and was also assigned to Thai 3, which I've just finished.

Some of the Burmese guys in my class also found it really difficult, so it's not just us Farang. Although for them it was mainly the speaking which was difficult, same with the Japanese guys, where they find it difficult to pronounce the final consonants (but find using tones/classifieds and the general sentence structure easier than English speakers).

For me it was mainly the writing/spelling which was hard (since I've been here for 4 years already so am already pretty confident at speaking) and trying to stop some bad habits which I'd picked up from speaking but never been corrected on (e.g. I'd always say ผมมี.... For things like a cold or sore body etc since that's how we say it in English but for years ppl never corrected me lol).

The test for new students is tomorrow I think. When I did the test in July it was freakishly difficult and I ended up just giving up on it (especially when I saw the 1pg essay in the last page for which I didn't even understand the question lol). But because my listening/speaking was good during the interview, and I can read/write, but was just missing vocab + had terrible spelling, they put me into lvl 3 (which was where I wanted to be anyway).

To anyone doing the placement test tomorrow, good luck. I personally found the course to be difficult but really good, and am amazed at how much additional vocabulary I've learnt over the past 2 months. So if you're doing the course, maybe I'll see you around on campus :)

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As a bit of an extra here, for anyone who is thinking about starting at Chula, and doing the placement tests tomorrow.

You need to make sure that you're at the right level before you start your course.

As xkkpafi is correct when he says that it's difficult, particularly if you're sorta "inbetween" levels 2 and 3.

As although I didn't study in lvl 1 / 2, from what I gather they speak some English at these levels, and they give you English phonetics + the little lines above words to indicate the tones. They also have a lot more of a focus on helping you with your tones and with teaching you how to read/write/pronounce Thai sounds than what they do later on.

From what I've been told, level 2 has massive amounts of homework, as they are teaching you how to read/write. So if you can already read/write this level would be extremely boring.

However at level 3 EVERYTHING is in Thai (Although the coursebooks do have lists of vocabulary + English translations), and all of the written Thai, is in Thai characters. They don't teach you anything about writing in lvl 3, they simply expect that you learnt everything in lvl 2, so you need to be quite proficient at reading/writing before you start Thai 3.

When you're reading in class, you're expected to be able to read words with the correct tone. If you make a mistake, the teacher will correct you, and you'll feel like a bit of a dick if you have to be constantly corrected. So learn your consonant classes + tone rules before starting Thai 3 (I only learnt them the week before I started Thai 3, so you've got plenty of time).

Likewise, the words are explained by the teacher, in Thai. So if you're not good at listening to Thai, you need to learn really quickly. Also if you want to ask a question, it's expected that you will at least try to ask the question in Thai, rather than English (Of course sometimes you don't have the vocab to ask in Thai though, and all of the teachers speak excellent English, although most try to only speak Thai in class).

So basically, if you can already read/write, you might find lvl 2 too boring and lack the motivation to complete the massive amounts of homework which are required to pass the course. However if your speaking/listening/reading/writing/tones aren't at a high enough level, you might feel like you're really behind the rest of your class in lvl 3, since they practiced all of that in lvl 2. This might demotivate you, or simply mean that you have to do a lot more work than what would be needed prior to starting lvl 3.

For myself, when I started lvl 3, I always felt like the others, who did lvl 1/2 were miles ahead of me, since they were so much better at reading/writing than I am, in our spelling tests I'd be getting about 50-60% (Pass mark is 60%) whereas many of the others were getting 80%+ because they're more familar with the written language than me (And probably studied more, I'm more of a crammer, so would come in 1 or 2h early each day to eat breakfast + do some study, which I think is probably less than most of the students there were doing). I was just sorta lucky that because of the 4 years I've spent in Thailand already, my speaking/listening was good enough to keep up, and my presentations/listening tests also pulled my grade up (As part of lvl 3, we had to do 4x 5 minute presentations in Thai (and visual aides like powerpoint were expected), as well as 4x listening tests, 8x spelling tests and a 3h exam during the 6 week course).

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When did you study there?

As I did my placement test in July and was also assigned to Thai 3, which I've just finished.

Some of the Burmese guys in my class also found it really difficult, so it's not just us Farang. Although for them it was mainly the speaking which was difficult, same with the Japanese guys, where they find it difficult to pronounce the final consonants (but find using tones/classifieds and the general sentence structure easier than English speakers).

For me it was mainly the writing/spelling which was hard (since I've been here for 4 years already so am already pretty confident at speaking) and trying to stop some bad habits which I'd picked up from speaking but never been corrected on (e.g. I'd always say ผมมี.... For things like a cold or sore body etc since that's how we say it in English but for years ppl never corrected me lol).

The test for new students is tomorrow I think. When I did the test in July it was freakishly difficult and I ended up just giving up on it (especially when I saw the 1pg essay in the last page for which I didn't even understand the question lol). But because my listening/speaking was good during the interview, and I can read/write, but was just missing vocab + had terrible spelling, they put me into lvl 3 (which was where I wanted to be anyway).

To anyone doing the placement test tomorrow, good luck. I personally found the course to be difficult but really good, and am amazed at how much additional vocabulary I've learnt over the past 2 months. So if you're doing the course, maybe I'll see you around on campus smile.png

July 1 to Aug 14.

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