The Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK; Chinese: 汉语水平考试; pinyin: Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì), translated as the Chinese Proficiency Test, is the standardized test of Standard Chinese (a type of Mandarin Chinese) language proficiency of Mainland China for non-native speakers such as foreign students and overseas Chinese. The test is administered by Hanban, an agency of the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China.
|Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi|
Development of the HSK test began in 1984 at Beijing Language and Culture University, and was officially made a national standardized test in 1992. By 2005, over 120 countries had participated as regular host sites and the tests had been taken around 100 million times (domestic ethnic minority candidates included). The general count of candidates from outside of China is stated as being around 1.9 million. In 2011, Beijing International Chinese College became the first HSK testing center to conduct the HSK test online.
The HSK test is analogous to the English TOEFL, and an HSK certificate is valid without any limitation in China. The test aims to be a certificate of language proficiency for higher educational and professional purposes. It is not uncommon to refer to a standard or level of proficiency by the HSK level number, or score. For example, a job description might ask for foreign applicants with "HSK5 or better."
The HSK is administered solely in Mandarin and in simplified Chinese characters; however, if the exam is paper-based, the test-taker can choose to write the writing assignments in simplified or in traditional characters, at their discretion. The test can be either paper-based or Internet-based, depending on what the specific test center offers. With an Internet-based test, the writing part with characters (from HSK 3 on) is subjectively and slightly easier, as one types the pinyin and selects the right character from the list, while with a paper-based test, one must remember the characters, their strokes and their order, and write them out.
Test takers with outstanding results can win a scholarship for short-term language study in China.
In 2020, an internal Chinese academic paper discussed that the Chinese Proficiency Standards would undergo a change: a hybrid paradigm of "Three Stages and Nine Levels" characterized by all-in-one integration. The Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China announced further details regarding HSK 3.0 on April 1, 2021. Among the information shared was a wordlist for each individual stage, and a date for the introduction of the new test—July 1, 2021. As of April 2022 no HSK 3.0 tests have been rolled out and only a single preparation book for the basic levels has been published, additionally the HSK 2.0 test format is still in use. An update on the official HSK website suggests, that the April 2021 date only signified the start date for the conception of the new HSK 3.0. New practice materials for the intermediate and advanced levels are expected to be released in the third or fourth quarter of 2022.
The new test is meant to follow the latest research in the field of language studies and testing. The basic levels (roughly corresponding to CEFR A1/A2) should test from 500 to 2245 words, the intermediate levels (roughly corresponding to CEFR B1/B2) from 3245 to 5456 words, the advanced levels (roughly corresponding to CEFR C1/C2) from about 6000 to 11000 words.
The intermediate levels should test the ability to understand slightly modified authentic materials or authentic materials written/spoken in a clear manner and intended for educated mother tongue speakers: materials concerning everyday topics, simple articles, simple commentaries and critiques found in newspapers and magazines.
The advanced levels should test the ability to understand longer, more complicated and abstract materials: extracts from authentic sources such as textbooks for Chinese university students, Chinese magazine and essays, extracts from modern Chinese literature, interviews and extracts from Chinese media. Moreover, Classical Chinese expressions and grammatical structures used in modern formal Chinese should be included too.
The previous format was introduced in 2010, with a philosophy of testing "comprehensive language and communication ability". Most notable are the inclusion of written segments at all levels (not just in the Advanced levels as in the pre-2010 test), a reform of the ranking system, and the use of new question structures. Complete vocabulary lists, previous tests, and simulated tests are available as preparation materials. A minor update of the vocabulary lists was made in 2012.
(cumulative / new)
(cumulative / new)
|1||150||150||174||174||20 questions, 15 min||20 questions, 17 min||Not tested||Designed for learners who can understand and use some simple Chinese characters and sentences to communicate, and prepares them for continuing their Chinese studies. In HSK 1 all characters are provided along with pinyin.|
|2||300||150||347||173||35 questions, 25 min||25 questions, 22 min||Designed for learners who can use Chinese in a simple and direct manner, applying it in a basic fashion to their daily lives. In HSK 2 all characters are provided along with pinyin.|
|3||600||300||617||270||40 questions||30 questions||10 items||Designed for learners who can use Chinese to serve the demands of their personal lives, studies and work, and are capable of completing most of the communicative tasks they experience during their Chinese tour.|
|4||1200||600||1064||447||45 questions||40 questions||15 items||Designed for learners who can discuss a relatively wide range of topics in Chinese and are capable of communicating with Chinese speakers at a high standard.|
|5||2500||1300||1685||621||45 questions||45 questions||10 items||Designed for learners who can read Chinese newspapers and magazines, watch Chinese films and are capable of writing and delivering a lengthy speech in Chinese.|
|6||5000||2500||2663||978||50 questions||50 questions||1 composition||Designed for learners who can easily understand any information communicated in Chinese and are capable of smoothly expressing themselves in written or oral form.|
The Listening, Reading and Writing tests each have a maximum score of 100. HSK 1 and 2 therefore have a maximum score of 200 with 120 points required to pass. HSK 3 and 4 have a maximum of 300 points with 180 points required to pass. There is no minimum number of points required for each of the sections as long as the sum is over 120 or 180 points respectively.
HSK 5 and 6 also have a maximum of 300 points and originally required a score of 180 points to pass. However, since a decision made in February 2013, there has been no official passing score for either HSK 5 or 6.
Hanban provides examples of the exam for the different levels together with a list of words that need to be known for each level. These examples are also available (together with the audio for the Listening Test) on the websites of the Confucius Institute at QUT and HSK Academy.
The written version is now available in two forms, a computer and a paper based test. Both tests are still held at test centers, the differences between the two are as follows:
- Not every test center has the facilities for conducting computer-based tests
- Computer-based tests allow you to input characters using the keyboard
- Results of computer-based tests are published two weeks after the exam, paper-based test results take one month
The HSKK test is a separate test. However, the three HSKK levels correspond with the six HSK levels of the written test.
|HSK level||HSKK level||CEFR||Words||Questions||Minutes|
Comparison with CEFR levelsEdit
In 2010, Hanban asserted that the HSK's six levels corresponded to the six levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) However, the German: 1, 3, 5 and French associations of Chinese language teachers reject this equivalency, arguing that HSK Level 6 is only equivalent to CEFR Level B2 or C1.
|HSK||Estimated CEFR level according to...|
|Level||Words (sum)||Characters (sum)||Hanban||France||Germany||Italy||TOCFL|
|6||5000||2663||C2||B2-C1||B2||B1+ to B2||B2|
|5||2500||1685||C1||B1-B2||B1||A2+ to B1||B1|
|4||1200||1064||B2||A2||A2||A1+ to A2||A2|
|3||600||617||B1||A1-A2||A1||A1.1 to A1.2||A1|
|2||300||347||A2||A1.1||A1.1 (without writing)||A1.1||Below A1|
|1||150||174||A1||Below A1||none||A1.1||Below A1|
|Test Rank (等第)||Vocabulary
|*Generally signifies a professional level.|
**Generally required for non-language academic programs.
Formerly, there were 11 possible ranks (1-11) and 3 test formats (Basic, Elementary/Intermediate, and Advanced). A rank of between 3 and 8 was needed to enroll in a Chinese university, depending on the subject being studied. A score of 9 or higher was a common business standard.
A student taking the Basic test (基础HSK) could attain a rank of 1 through 3 (1级-3级), or fail to meet requirements and thus not receive a rank. The Elementary/Intermediate test (初中等HSK) covered ranks 3-8 (3级-8级), with ranks below 3 not considered. Likewise, the Advanced test (高等HSK) covered ranks 9-11 (9级-11级), with scores below 9 not considered.
The previous format for both Basic and Elementary/Intermediate HSK included four sections: listening comprehension, grammar structures, reading comprehension, and written expressions. Aside from the written expressions portion (which requires writing of Chinese characters), these two tests were completely multiple-choice. The Advanced HSK however, added an additional two portions: spoken and written.
Test dates and locationsEdit
The HSK is held at designated test centers in China and abroad. A list of test centers can be found at the HSK website. Test dates are published annually and written tests are more frequently held than spoken ones, generally around once a month, depending on the test center. Test registration is usually open until 30 days prior to the actual test date for the paper-based test or around 10 days prior the actual test date for the computer-based test. Results are generally available around 30 days after completion (but no definite date is given for results).
- Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language – the Chinese language test used in Taiwan
- ZHC – a Chinese language written test intended for native speakers in China
- Putonghua Proficiency Test – a Chinese language oral test intended for native speakers in China
- CTCSOL - Certificate for Teachers of Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages
- List of language proficiency tests
- 汉语水平考试2007年起将增加口语写作, 2006-12-26 www.eol.cn, "The 2007 HSK Revision Will Add Spoken and Writing Portions."
- Official HSK Center Introduction, HSK Center
- "HSK Test - Vocabulary List and Information". chinaeducenter.com. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
- "HSK and FAQ". confucius.emory.edu. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
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- "《国际中文教育中文水平等级标准·语法学习手册（初等）》". www.mp.weixin.qq.com/. Retrieved 2022-04-03.
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- "Il nuovo HSK a 9 livelli - ABCina". Archived from the original on 2020-07-09.
- "China's HSK Language Test to be Overhauled for the First Time in 11 Years". 3 April 2021.
- VibeThemes. "《汉语国际教育汉语水平等级标准》 | HSK 7-9级 | 马来西亚汉语考试服务中心" (in Chinese (China)). Retrieved 2022-05-30.
- "汉语水平口语考试(HSKK) - Confucius Institute at Western Michigan University - 西密歇根大学孔子学院". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "Chinese Character Lists by New HSK Level". Archived from the original on 12 May 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "Introduction on New HSK Test". Archived from the original on 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
- "Chinese Tests_HSK". Archived from the original on 11 June 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "资源中心--汉语考试服务网". Chinesetest.cn. Retrieved 2 May 2015. Link "新汉语水平考试（HSK）词汇（2012年修订版）" https://chinesetest.cn/userfiles/file/HSK/HSK-2012.xls
- Character lists are not published separately, but can be derived from the published word lists.
- "HSK Test - HSK 1 (English)". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "HSK Test - HSK 2 (English)". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "HSK Test - HSK 3 (English)". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "HSK Test - HSK 4 (English)". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "HSK Test - HSK 5 (English)". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "HSK Test - HSK 6 (English)". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- 新HSK为什么要取消合格线 (in Simplified Chinese). 18 December 2013.
从2013年2月起，HSK（五级）、HSK（六级）取消了合格线，参加这两个等级考试的考生，获得的成绩报告中删除了“总分180分为合格（Passing Score: 180）”的字样。
- "HSK Test - Vocabulary List and Information". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "QUT - The Confucius Institute - New Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK and YCT)". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- Official HSK Vocabulary Lists translated in English, by HSK Academy
- HSK Test Frequently Asked Questions
- Introduction on New HSK Test, 2010, archived from the original on 26 October 2012, retrieved 26 July 2010
- Association of Chinese Teachers in German Speaking Countries (1 June 2010). "Erklärung des Fachverbands Chinesisch e.V. zur neuen Chinesischprüfung HSK" [Statement of the Fachverband Chinesisch e.V. (Association of Chinese Teachers in German Speaking Countries) on the new HSK Chinese Proficiency Test] (PDF). Fachverband Chinesisch (in German, Chinese, and English). Fachverband Chinesisch e.V. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
- Bellassen, Joël (2011). "Is Chinese Europcompatible? Is the Common European Framework Common?: The Common European Framework of References for Languages Facing Distant Language". New Prospect for Foreign Language Teaching in Higher Education —Exploring the Possibilities of Application of CECR—. Tokyo: World Language and Society Education Center (WoLSEC). pp. 23–31. ISBN 978-4-925243-85-8.
- 華語文等級對照 (in Chinese (Taiwan)). 國家華語測驗推動工作委員會 Steering Committee for the Test Of Proficiency - Huayu. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
CEFR 華語文能力測驗 TOCFL 新漢語水平考試 HSK 通過等級 詞彙量 通過等級 詞彙量 under A1 - - 一級 150 二級 300 A1 Level 1 入門級 500 三級 600 A2 Level 2 基礎級 1000 四級 1200 B1 Level 3 進階級 2500 五級 2500 B2 Level 4 高階級 5000 六級 5000及以上 C1 Level 5 流利級 8000 - - C2 Level 6 精通級 8000以上
- "HSK Level VI", chinesetest.cn, Hanban, archived from the original on 12 January 2019, retrieved 12 October 2017
- "HSK Level V", chinesetest.cn, Hanban, archived from the original on 12 January 2019, retrieved 12 October 2017
- "HSK Level IV", chinesetest.cn, Hanban, archived from the original on 12 January 2019, retrieved 12 October 2017
- "HSK Level III", chinesetest.cn, Hanban, archived from the original on 12 January 2019, retrieved 12 October 2017
- "HSK Level II", chinesetest.cn, Hanban, archived from the original on 13 January 2019, retrieved 12 October 2017
- ohne Schriftzeichenkenntnisse
- "HSK Level I", chinesetest.cn, Hanban, archived from the original on 13 January 2019, retrieved 12 October 2017,
It is the counterpart of the Level I of the Chinese Language Proficiency Scales for Speakers of Other Languages and the A1 Level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEF).
- "HSK Test Preparation & Practice - Free Trial - HSK Practice Tests - HSK Practice Questions - HSK Score Improvement". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "考试计划--汉语考试服务网". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "HSK Test Regulations". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- Official HSK Website
- (in Chinese) News on publishing the word list for the 2021 version of HSK (March 31, 2021)
- 2021 HSK word list (plain text file that can be imported into Pleco)
- Comprehensive guide with complete list of characters, words and sounds for all 6 HSK levels
- Official HSK Website at Hanban
- List of Chinese characters needed to be known to pass HSK
- List of HSK words by level on Wiktionary
- Exam Centre: Yale-China Chinese Language Centre, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
- Passing the HSK Exam
- HSK Anti mix-up tool
- The Ultimate HSK Guide including all 5000 vocabularies with Pinyin and translation