Introduction to 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 test, which will be launched in November 2009. The test is designed for Chinese language learners who are based overseas.

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 Advanced
HSK Level 5
HSK Level 4 Intermediate
HSK Level 3
HSK Level 2 Elementary
HSK Level 1

Test Grades

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

New HSK Vocabulary CLPS CEF
HSK Level 6 Over 5000 Grade Five C2
HSK Level 5 2500 C1
HSK Level 4 1200 Grade Four B2
HSK Level 3 600 Grade Three B1
HSK Level 2 300 Grade Two A2
HSK Level 1 150 Grade One A1

* CLPS: Chinese Language Proficiency Scales for Speakers of Other Languages
** CEF: The Common European Framework Reference for Language

a. 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;

b. 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;

c. 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;

d. 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;

e. 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;

f. 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

Within three weeks after the test, examinees can access their test scores on the internet and have their 'Score Report' issued by Hanban.