HANYU SHUIPING KAOSHI (HSK)

China's Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, known as HSK or the Chinese Proficiency Test is a standardized test at the state level designed and developed by the HSK Center of Beijing Language and Culture University to assess the Chinese proficiency of non-native speakers (foreigners, overseas Chinese and students of Chinese national minorities).

HSK consists of the basic Chinese proficiency test (HSK Basic), the elementary and intermediate Chinese proficiency test (HSK Elementary-Intermediate) and the advanced Chinese proficiency test (HSK Advanced). The test uses only simplified characters.

Duration for HSK (Basic) is about 135 minutes; HSK (Elementary-Intermediate) about 145 minutes without break; and HSK (Advanced) about 180 minutes with a break after the written test. In principle candidates shall not leave the test room during the course of the test.

While filling in the information, candidates should write the numbers first in the blanks on the left and then draw a bar on the corresponding numbers on the right. Choose several letters to the same question is invalid. No point is deducted for a wrong answer.

HSK has eleven score levels, amongst which levels 1-3 are the beginning level, levels 3-5 are the elementary level, levels 6-8 are the intermediate level, and levels 9-11 are the advanced level.


HSK FUNCTIONS

HSK (Basic) applies to those learners with the basic Chinese proficiencies, namely, those who have taken 100 to 800 hours of regular modern Chinese learning (including those with the equivalent learning experiences).

HSK (Elementary-Intermediate) is for those who are at the elementary and intermediate level in Chinese proficiency, i.e. those who have taken 400-2000 regular hours of modern Chinese courses (including those whose proficiency in Chinese is similar to that standard).

The HSK (Advanced) is designed to measure the Chinese proficiency of those who are proficient in Chinese, i.e. who have taken 3000 regular hours or more modern Chinese learning (including those whose proficiency in Chinese is similar to that standard).

The Chinese Ministry of Education has established China National Committee for Chinese Proficiency Test HSK (CNCCPT). The Committee is the supervisor of HSK and the issuer of the Chinese proficiency certificates.

The functions of HSK Certificates:

  1. to certify that the holder has acquired the required Chinese Proficiency to enter a college or university as an undergraduate or graduate student.
  2. to certify that the holder can be exempt from taking the Chinese language course depending on the level of certification.
  3. as a basis for the employers to evaluate the Chinese proficiency of the job applicants.

Chinese Ministry of Education regulations explains that any student who wishes to be admitted to an undergraduate program in a Chinese university is subject to HSK and must obtain:

  • HSK Elementary Grade B (level 4) for undergraduate programs in literature, history, philosophy and Chinese medicine,
  • HSK Elementary Grade C (level 3) for undergraduate programs in sciences or technologies.



BEIJING HSK DATES 2011

HSK Basic : April 16th, 2011 (2011年4月16日) - November 26th, 2011 (2011年11月26日)

HSK Elementary-Intermediate : April 17th, 2011 (2011年4月17日) - June 19th, 2011 (2011年6月19日) - October 16th, 2011 (2011年10月16日) - November 27th, 2011 (2011年11月27日)

HSK Advanced : April 16th, 2011 (2011年4月16日) - October 15th, 2011 (2011年10月15日)



HSK BASIC

HSK Basic is a standardized test designed for beginners. It is most appropriate for those who have acquired 400-3000 basic Chinese words (referring to level A and B in the Outline of HSK Grammar).

The certificate of HSK Basic serves as a requirement to enter a college or university in China as an undergraduate student in the field of science, engineering, agriculture or Western medicine (Level A only); to exempt students from taking certain language courses in China; as an exemption of language testing for hiring decisions for positions requiring basic competence in Chinese.

HSK Basic is a 140 items, 135 minutes test. HSK Basic is divided into three subtests: Listening (50 items, 35 minutes), Sentence Structure (40 items, 40 minutes), and Reading (50 items, 60 minutes). All item are multiple-choice. During the time allowed for each section, examinees must work on that section only and are not permitted to work beyond the time limit for the section. Examinees are also not permitted to turn to a section that has not been announced or go back to an earlier section.

  1. Grade C, level 1 (Low), Score Range 100-154 : has basic competence in Chinese. Able to handle simple, elementary needs in very familiar situations. Any person having mastery of 600 Chinese words and certain rules of grammar can reach this standard which is also the standard for obtaining the certificate of HSK Basic Grade C.
  2. Grade B, level 2 (Mid), Score Range 155-209 : has basic in Chinese. Able to partially satisfy the requirements of basic communicative exchanges. Level 2 is the standard for obtaining the certificate of HSK Basic Grade B.
  3. Grade A, level 3 (High), Score Range 210-300 : has basic competence in Chinese. Level 3 is the minimum level in Chinese proficiency for a candidate to be admitted to a college or university in China as an undergraduate student in the field of science, engineering, agriculture, or Western medicine as well as the standard for obtaining the certificate of HSK Basic Grade A, which is equivalent to Grade C of HSK Elementary.


HSK ELEMENTARY INTERMEDIATE

HSK Elementary-Intermediate is suitable for persons who have mastery of 2000-5000 Chinese words (referring to levels A, B and C in the outline of HSK Vocabulary) and certain rules of grammar (referring to levels A, B and C in the outline of HSK Grammar).

The certificate of HSK Elementary-Intermediate serves as a basis for employers to evaluate job applicants' Chinese language proficiency; to exempt the holder from taking certain language courses in China; to be a requirement to enter a college or university in China as an undergraduate student.

HSK Elementary-Intermediate is a 170-item, 145 minutes test which is divided into four subtests; Listening (50 items, 35 minutes),Sentence Structure (30 items, 20 minutes), Reading (50 items, 60 minutes), Cloze (40 items, 30 minutes). Items from 1-154 are multiple-choice. Items 155-170 are a test of comprehension in which blank spaces at regular intervals in a text must be filled in with appropriate Chinese characters. During the time allowed for each section, examinees must work on that section only and are not permitted to work beyond the time limit for the section. Examinees are also not permitted to turn to a section that has not been announced or turn to a previous section.

Requirements for obtaining the certificate of Elementary-Intermediate HSK: the candidate must secure the total scores required for the corresponding grade and three of the four required subscores for the corresponding grade (only one of the four subscores is allowed to be lower than the required minimum grade, but not lower than the minimum scores of the next lower grade. In such case, the candidate can only be awarded the certificate of a lower grade).

3. Level 3, Score Range: has basic (low) competence in Chinese. Level 3 is the minimum level in Chinese proficiency for a candidate to be admitted to a college or university in China as an undergraduate student in the field of science, engineering, agriculture or western medicine.
4. Level 4, Score Range: has basic (mid) competence in Chinese.
5. Level 5, Score Range: has basic (high) competence in Chinese.
6. Level 6, Score Range: is proficient in Chinese at the intermediate (low) level. Level 6 is the minimum level required by the Ministry of Education for a candidate to enter college or university in China as an undergraduate student in the field of literature, history and traditional Chinese medicine.
7. Level 7, Score Range: is proficient in Chinese at the intermediate (mid) level.
8. Level 8, Score Range: is proficient in Chinese at the intermediate (high) level.


 HSK Elementary-Intermediate test

  Format Adobe .pdf  (540 ko) 



HSK ADVANCED

HSK Advanced applies to those who have mastery of 5000-8000 Chinese words (referring to level A, B, C and D in the Outline of HSK Vocabulary) and the corresponding rules of grammar (referring to level A, B, C and D in the Outline of HSK Grammar).

The content of advanced HSK includes listening comprehension, reading comprehension, comprehensive expression, composition, and an oral examination. The test lasts 155 minutes.

The certificate of HSK Advanced serves to be a requirement in Chinese proficiency for a candidate to enter a university in China as a graduate student; to exempt the holder from taking certain Chinese courses; to certify the holder as being qualified to undertake ordinary work by using Chinese as a communicative tool.

Requirement for obtaining the certificate of HSK Advanced: the candidate must secure the total score required for the corresponding grade of the certificate; in the five subtests, the candidate must secure three of the four subscores for listening, reading, composition and oral tests required for the corresponding grade; two of the five subscores may be lower than the required minimum, (for the four subtests of listening, reading, composition and oral, only one subscore may be lower than the required minimum for the corresponding grade), but not lower than the required minimum scores for the next lower grade. In such case, the candidate can only be awarded a certificate of a lower grade; none of the five subscores are allowed to be lower than the bottom line under Grade C.

The total test length is 2 hours and 35 minutes. HSK Advanced consists of three separately-timed subtests: 120-item written test (objective), composition and oral test. The 120-item test is organized into three subtests: listening, reading and cloze. A variety of objective question types will be used including multiple-choice, matching, gap-filling and writing Chinese characters. The oral test takes the form of an interview. During the time allowed for each section, examinees must work on that section only, and are nor permitted to work beyond the time limit for the section. Examinees are also not permitted to turn to a section that has not been announced or go back to a previous section.

The test is taken in this order and timed as follows: Written test (120 items, 105 minutes), 10 minute test break, Composition (30 minutes), Oral test (20 minutes, first stage preparation 10 minutes and second stage talk (recorded) 10 minutes). Written test: (a) Listening (40 items approximately 25 minutes), (b) Reading (first section 15 items 15 minutes, second section 25 items 25 minutes), (c) Cloze (40 items 40 minutes).

9. Level 9, Score Range 280-339 (Listening 58-69, Reading 54-65, Cloze 54-65, Composition 58-69, Oral 58-67): is proficient in Chinese at the advanced (low) level. Level 9 is the requirement for a candidate to use Chinese as a communicative tool in ordinary work.
10. Level 10, Score Range 340-399 (Listening 70-81, Reading 66-77, Cloze 66-77, Composition 70-81, Oral 68-79): is proficient in Chinese at the advanced (mid) level. Level 10 is the requirement for a candidate to use Chinese as a communicative tool in ordinary work.
11. Level 11, Score Range 400-500 (Listening 82-100, Reading 78-100, Cloze 78-100, Composition 82-100, Oral 80-100): is proficient in Chinese at the advanced (high) level. Examinees reaching level 11 can be regarded as qualified as an intermediate-level translator.