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Chinese Proficiency Tests

The Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) is China's national standardized test designed and prepared by the HSK Center of Beijing Language and Culture University to measure the Chinese language proficiency of non-native speakers including foreigners, overseas Chinese and international students from Chinese national minorities. The test is managed and supervised by Hanban, a non-government organization affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China.

The Chinese proficiency test certificate helps students to gain admittance to a higher education institution in China.

Structure of HSK

The HSK consists of six levels of a written test and an oral test each, which are taken separately.

Level 1
The level 1 comprises of a writing test and an oral test. The level 1 of writing section comprises of the listening and reading comprehension questions. It is designed for individuals who can understand and use basic Chinese words and sentences to communicate.  This level applies to those who have mastery of 150 Chinese words and 174 Chinese characters.

Duration:
  • Listening- 15 minutes
  • Reading- 17minutes
No. of questions:
  • Listening- 20
  • Reading-20
Oral Test: This test assesses the oral proficiency of the Chinese language.
  • Duration: 17 minutes

Level 2
The level 2 comprises of writing and an oral tests. This level is designed for individuals who can use Chinese language in an easy manner and in day-to-day lives. This level applies to those who have mastery of 150-300 Chinese words and 173-347 Chinese characters.

Writing Test: listening and reading are tested. The listening part consists of 35 questions and the reading comprehension part consists of 25 questions.
  • Duration:
    - Listening- 25 minutes
    - Reading- 22 minutes
Oral Test: This test is an oral proficiency test.
  • Duration: 17 minutes

Level 3
The level 3 encompasses writing and an oral test. The writing test comprises of the listening, reading and writing sections. The listening section has 40 questions, reading has 30 questions and writing includes 10 items. This level is designed for individuals who can use Chinese language for study and work purposes, or perform various activities and tasks of everyday lives. This level applies to those who have mastery of 300-600 Chinese words and 270-617 Chinese characters.
  • Duration of Oral test: 21 minutes

Level 4
The level 4 encompasses writing and an oral test. The writing test comprises of the listening, reading and writing sections. The listening section has 45 questions, reading has 40 questions and writing includes 15 items. This level is designed for individuals who can talk about a broad range of topics in Chinese and are able to communicate with Chinese speakers at a high level. This level applies to those who have mastery of 600-1200 Chinese words and 447-1064 Chinese characters.
  • Duration of Oral test: 21 minutes

Level 5
The level 5 encompasses writing and an oral test. The writing test comprises of the listening, reading and writing subtests. The listening section has 45 questions, reading has 45 questions and writing includes 10 items. This level is designed for individuals who can read Chinese newspapers, books and magazines, watch Chinese films and are capable of writing and delivering a speech of considerable length in Chinese. This level applies to those who have mastery of 1300-2500 Chinese words and 621-1685 Chinese characters.
  • Duration of Oral test: 24 minutes

Level 6
The level 6 encompasses writing and an oral test. The writing test comprises of the listening, reading and writing sections. The listening section has 50 questions, reading has 50 questions and writing includes 1 composition. This level is designed for individuals who can easily and fluently read, compose and communicate or express themselves in the Chinese language. This level applies to those who have mastery of 2500-5000 Chinese words and 978-2663 Chinese characters.
  • Duration of Oral test: 24 minutes

HSK Registration and Fees

You can apply for the test at your nearby HSK center. If there is no HSK centre near you, then you can register for it by correspondence.

If registering by “correspondence”, you need to send a copy of your passport along with 2 photographs, and your CV including your personal details, such as English and Chinese names, nationality, and postal address and so on, to the centre.  You also need to pay the registration fees to the centre by postal money order. After your application has been accepted, the centre will issue the HSK permit.

Dates and Deadlines

The HSK is held in China and abroad every year. The HSK is held once a year in abroad. Test dates are published each year and written tests are held more often than oral test, generally about once a month, depending upon the test center.

HSK Results and Scoring

Listening, Reading and Writing subtests each have a maximum score of 100. The test level 1 and 2 have a maximum score of 200 with 120 points needed to pass. The higher levels have a maximum of 300 points with 180 points needed to pass. There is no minimum amount of points required for each of the sections as long as the sum is above 120 or 180 points respectively.

Results are available about 30 days after the test date.

Chinese Proficiency Certificate

Upon passing the test, applicants are issued a Chinese Proficiency Certificate. Within two months of the test, the HSK sponsor sends the Chinese proficiency certificates and score reports via mail to the HSK organizers. These organizers then forward the certificates and score reports to the applicants.

Chinese proficiency certificates are valid for a period of two years from the test date and are used by the international students to demonstrate their Chinese language proficiency.

Test Day Essentials

On the test day, you need to get the following essentials:
  • HSK Permit.
  • Valid identification card.
  • Pencil and eraser.

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