Chinese HSK Test

Do you want to evaluate yourself on how good you are in Mandarin? Then take the Chinese HSK test. Here you will find all the details including the Chinese proficiency test such as the test structure, test levels, and associated benefits. 

In the past few years, there has been a huge demand for the Chinese language, this increased the popularity of the most popular Mandarin exam. This is ideal for measuring your knowledge and identifying your level besides helping you improve before stepping to the next level.

What is the HSK Test?

The Chinese HSK test is an official exam designed to assess the Chinese language proficiency of non-native speakers. It is conducted for beginners to advanced Levels. This internationally recognized standard test helps to assess your Chinese language level.

The result obtained can be used to apply for international Chinese language teacher scholarships and is also accepted by universities in China as proof of language proficiency. 

The CLEC (Center for Language Education and Cooperation) administrates the Chinese language proficiency test worldwide. It operates under the Ministry of Education (MOE) of the Chinese Republic and manages Confucius Institutes in several countries besides running flagship programs.

The HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) test is a standardized Chinese language proficiency exam. Administered by Hanban, it assesses non-native speakers on their Chinese language abilities. With six levels, it evaluates listening, reading, and writing skills, providing a widely recognized measure of proficiency for academic and professional purposes.

Read Also CEFR Exam.

What are the HSK Levels?

The current Chinese HSK test comprises six independent levels namely levels I, II, III, IV, V, and VI. The HSK 1 and 2 include reading and writing skills. In comparison, HSK 4, 5, and 6 have reading, writing, and listening. There is no speaking module but to check your speaking skills, you can take HSKK (Hànyǔ shuǐpíng kǒuyǔ kǎoshì). There are three sublevels in  HSK oral test:

  • HSK (Elementary),
  • HSK (Intermediate)
  • HSK (Advanced).

The new HSK levels of the Chinese language proficiency test have 3 stages and 9 sublevels. Here the existing HSK test structure is changed making it closer to par with CEFR. The new format looks pretty much like the below:

  • HSK 1, 2, and 3 — Beginners (A1 and A2)
  • HSK 4, 5, and 6 — Intermediate (B1 and B2) 
  • HSK 7, 8, and 9 — Advanced (C1 and C2)

The beginners’ level comprises 3 levels: beginners, elementary, and pre-intermediate. HSK 3 is close to A2. Similarly, HSK 6 and HSK 9 pars with B2 and C2. The cumulative vocabulary, composition, difficulty level, and passing mark, will also change. One major difference would be the word count. For example, the highest level may cover over 10,000 vocabularies instead of the existing 5,000. This is essential to keep it at par with CERF or near-native level C2.

Chinese HSK Test

Here is the comparison of the Chinese HSK test between the old and the new version. 

S.NoLevelsVocabulary Required
 Old HSK/ New HSKOld HSK/New HSK
1HSK 1/ Level 1150/500
2HSK 2/ Level 2150 – 300/772 – 1272
3HSK 3/ Level 3300 – 600/ 973 – 2245
4HSK 4/ Level 4600 – 1200/1000 – 3245
5HSK 5/ Level 51300 – 2500/ 1071 – 4216
6HSK 6/ Level 62500 – 5000/ 1140 – 5456
7N/a/ Levels 7 – 9n/a/ 5636 – 11092

Chinese HSK Test Structure and Syllabus

HSK LevelsDescriptionTest Duration (Minutes)Total Words Required
HSK1HSK level 1 is 1st and easiest level. You will understand simple Chinese greetings, phrases,
vocabulary, grammar, and straightforward
sentence formation.
HSK 2Here, candidates can write and read about day-to-day activities some difficulties and frequently
used situations. You can get a common idea of
basic conversations, familiar subjects, but with some difficulties. 
HSK 3This level is the midway to Mandarin proficiency and beyond basic things. You can make sentences  at intermediate-level and communicate
for different purposes, like personal and
HSK 4If you have a plan to study /work in China, you can take this Chinese HSK test. Here you can write
long essays and discuss about an extensive 
range of topics with native speakers. You can use upper-intermediate words, grammar and tricky tones.
HSK 5It helps you read Chinese newspapers, documents, magazines, and web content in the Chinese
language. You can read, speak, and listen to nearly
all topics. Also, you can watch movies, tv-series and listen to music with little trouble.
HSK 6This is the highest and most challenging where you can write and speak Mandarin comfortably. You
can use several idiomatic expressions, complicated
tones and use complex sentences almost spontaneously. 


To conclude, the benefits of the Chinese HSK test are numerous. The added advantages are you can know your precise proficiency level, work or study in China, enhance your career as well as get an opportunity to get scholarships.

Read also TOCFL Exam.


What does the HSK test consist of?

The Chinese HSK Test is the official test of Chinese language proficiency. This test is conducted for non-native speakers. It comprises both a written test and an oral test where a candidate can take each test separately. Moreover, there are three sections of the test that include listening, writing, and reading.

Can you reach HSK 4 in a year?

Generally, students who study the Chinese language after a year can take the Chinese HSK Test and reach HSK 4 level certificate. On the other hand, students who are willing to take Chinese classes every day should spend about 4 to 5 hours of study, to reach HSK 5 level certificate.

Can I take HSK test at home?

In order to meet the requirements of Chinese learners, the (CTI) Chinese Testing International Co., Ltd. has decided to launch the Online Chinese HSK Test (Home Edition). This can help the students complete HSK exams in the comfort of their homes but remote monitoring will be done from test centers.