Introduction on new HSK test

In order to better satisfy the demand for adequate Chinese language tests in foreign countries, Hanban has consulted a large number of both foreign and national experts in language teaching, linguistics, educational evaluation and psychology to assess the standard of Chinese language testing abroad. Based on their investigations and some new understandings regarding the shortcomings of Chinese language testing today, Hanban has applied the latest research methodology in foreign-language testing to develop a new HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) test, which was launched in November 2009. The test is designed for Chinese language learners who are based overseas.

For further information about the HSK test and centre, please contact Xiaowen Fan at

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Test structure

The new HSK is a standardized international Chinese proficiency test, taking non-native speakers as its object, and directed at examining students’ capability in applying Chinese language in their studies, personal life and work. The new type of examination consists of two independent parts; a written test and an oral test. The written test is comprised of HSK-Level 1, HSK-Level 2, HSK- Level 3, HSK- Level 4, HSK- Level 5 and HSK- Level 6, while the oral test is comprised of HSK (Elementary), HSK (Intermediate) and HSK (Advanced). During the oral test, sound-recording devices are used.

Written Test

Oral Test

HSK – Level 6

HSK (Advanced)

HSK – Level 5

HSK (Advanced)

HSK – Level 4

HSK (Intermediate)

HSK – Level 3

HSK (Intermediate)

HSK – Level 2

HSK (Elementary)

HSK – Level 1

Test grades

The comparison between the written test of new HSK, Chinese Language Proficiency Scales for Speakers of Other Languages and the Common European Framework Reference for Language (CEF) is as follows:



Chinese Language Proficiency Scales for Speakers of Other Languages

The Common European Framework Reference for Language, CEF

HSK- Level 6

Over 5000

Grade Five


HSK- Level 5


Grade Five


HSK- Level 4


Grade Four


HSK- Level 3


Grade Three


HSK- Level 2


Grade Two


HSK- Level 1


Grade One


HSK- Level 1

Designed for learners who can understand and use some simple Chinese characters and sentences to communicate, and prepares them for continuing their Chinese studies;

HSK- Level 2

Designed for elementary learners who can use Chinese in a simple and direct manner, applying it in a basic fashion in their daily lives;

HSK- Level 3

Designed for elementary-intermediate 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;

HSK- Level 4

Designed for intermediate learners who can discuss a relatively wide range of topics in Chinese and are capable of communicating with Chinese speakers at a high standard;

HSK- Level 5

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;

HSK- Level 6

Designed for learners who can easily understand any information communicated in Chinese and are capable of smoothly expressing themselves in written or oral form.

Test principles

Following the principle of “combing testing and teaching”, the new test is designed in line with the present situation of international Chinese-language teaching and the teaching materials that are commonly available, with the aim of “promoting teaching and learning through examinations”.

The new HSK test stresses objectivity and accuracy, and also focuses on developing and testing an examinees’ ability to apply Chinese in practical, real-life situations.

The new HSK test also sets explicit study objectives, allowing examinees to more effectively improve their Chinese proficiency with defined study plans and goals.

Test functions

Taking its orientation from the old HSK test, the new HSK test is aimed primarily at adult Chinese learners. The test scores meet the various demands of different organizations or groups of people as follows:

  • Offers a reference for educational institutions to recruit students, classify students, exempt students from some courses and grant credits;
  • Offers a reference for employers to employ, train and promote employees;
  • Offers a reference for Chinese learners to understand and improve their ability to apply Chinese;
  • Offers a reference for related Chinese teaching institutions or training organizations to evaluate teaching standards and the effectiveness of different training.

Test score report

All examination candidates will receive their examination score reports issued by Hanban.

Chinese Test Summer Camp

All examination candidates of HSK Tests are eligible to apply for the Chinese Test Summer Camp. In addition, candidates who are non-Chinese citizens with outstanding scores may be awarded with the Confucius Institute Scholarships. For details, please contact Xiaowen Fan.

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