Are you interested in studying or working in China? Or do you just want to test your Chinese abilities after learning it for a while? If so, you should try taking the HSK test.
“What is HSK, and how do I prepare for it?” you may ask. Don’t worry. We’re here to give you some valuable tips and tricks. Read on to find out more!
What is the HSK Test?
The Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK, 汉语水平考试 hàn yǔ shuǐ píng kǎo shì) is an international standardized exam that evaluates the proficiency with which non-native Chinese speakers can use Chinese in their daily, academic, and professional lives.
The test results can be used for a variety of situations:
- A guide used by educational institutions when making decisions about enrolling students, class placement, allowing students to bypass particular courses, and awarding academic credits.
- Businesses can make decisions about hiring, promoting, and training test takers.
- A system for measuring and enhancing the proficiency of Chinese language students.
- A system for assessing the effectiveness of training programs in Chinese.
The HSK test is a written test that includes listening, reading, and writing. It is divided into six levels of proficiency, namely:
- Level I
Capable of meeting basic communication needs, understanding and using very basic phrases.
- Level II
Has a solid grasp of the fundamentals. Able to communicate in easy jobs that require a straightforward exchange of information on familiar issues.
- Level III
Capable of basic communication in daily, academic, and professional contexts. When traveling in China, they can manage most communication in Chinese.
- Level IV
Capable of having in-depth conversations with native speakers about a variety of subjects.
- Level V
Capable of giving lengthy speeches and consuming Chinese newspapers, magazines, dramas, and films.
- Level VI
Capable of understanding written and spoken information easily and expressing themselves clearly both verbally and in writing.
HSK Speaking Test
As for the HSK Speaking Test (HSKK, 汉语水平口语考试 hàn yǔ shuǐ píng kǒu yǔ kǎo shì) it’s divided into three levels:
- Beginner Level
Has the fundamental communication skills necessary to understand and employ oral expressions on common and everyday topics. Equivalent to HSK Level I and II.
- Intermediate Level
Capable of understanding and communicating with native speakers easily. Equivalent to HSK Level III and IV.
- Advanced Level
Able to understand and express themselves fully, naturally, and with ease. Equivalent to HSK Level V and VI.
You may ask, “Which level should I register for?” Well, it depends on what you’re taking the HSK test for.
If you’re planning to study at a Chinese university, you must ensure which level of HSK your school requires. You can usually find it in their application requirements or contact the admissions office for more details. For reference, Peking University requires Level VI, Tsinghua University requires Level V, and Shanghai Jiaotong University requires Level IV.
If you’re looking to work in China, it’s advisable to at least opt for Level IV and above. Level V-VI is needed to acquire a work certificate.
But if you’re just trying to test your Chinese proficiency for personal purposes, you can choose whichever level you think you’re capable of. If you’re unsure which level of proficiency you’re at, plenty of sample tests are available online to test your abilities.
You could choose to take a paper-based test or an iBT test. The iBT test is taken using a computer, and you can prefer to do it at a test center or home.
Within three weeks of the test, test-takers will get their HSK results from the Center for Language Education and Cooperation.
Is the HSK Test Free?
Unfortunately, no. You must pay a registration fee if you wish to register for the HSK test. The exact value differs based on the country or region you are taking your test. Besides, the fees are more expensive if you register for a higher-level test and vice versa.
If you want to know more, you can contact the testing center in your country or region.
How Can I Download the HSK Test for Free?
The official website of Chinese Testing International provides two mock test papers that you can download for free. There are also answers, the exam outline, grading system, and vocabulary list. However, for the speaking test, there’s only one sample available.
Besides, you can also search for other websites or apps that provide more free sample tests to try out your Chinese proficiency and prepare for HSK.
Where can I Download HSK Test?
Here are some other websites where you can find more free preparation resources for HSK. Not only are there more mock and past-year test papers available, but they also provide other learning materials, such as preparation guides, storybook audio files, and more.
- HSK 1 – 6 Test Papers – Free Download – All Musing
- HSK Test Practice Materials
- 70+ Free Official HSK Practice Tests for All Levels (Real Questions and Answers) – ImproveMandarin
There is also an app called HSK Study and Exam – SuperTest. You can download it free on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. They also have an official website where you can access the study materials by logging into your account.
They will provide you with some sample tests, past-year papers, a vocabulary list, and important notes. However, if you want to unlock more materials, personalized exercises, and online lessons, you will need to pay for an upgrade.
All in all, prepping for the HSK test is very convenient nowadays due to plenty of online resources. However, you still need to put in some hard work and dedication because no one can learn a language in one day.
Keep practicing using these sample tests, and you’ll eventually get used to the exam format. We wish you the best of luck in your HSK test!
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