The HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) or Chinese Proficiency Test is the national standardized test developed by the HSK Center to assess Chinese language proficiency of non-native speakers (including foreigners, overseas Chinese and students from Chinese national minorities). The HSK is divided into three categories: beginning level (HSK Basic), elementary to intermediate level (HSK Elementary-Intermediate), and advanced level (HSK Advanced). Three categories form a comprehensive testing system. As a test of general language proficiency, HSK is not based on any particular textbook or course of study. Candidates may refer to any textbook to prepare for the test.
HSK is held regularly in China and other countries each year. Certificates of HSK will be issued to those who have earned the required scores. The State Commission of Chinese Proficiency Test under the Ministry of Education supervises the issuance of certificates.
General Introduction of HSK
China's Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, known as HSK or Chinese Proficiency Test, is a standardized test at the state level designed by the HSK Center of Beijing Language and Culture University to assess 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 advanced Chinese proficiency test (HSK Advanced). HSK is held regularly in China and other countries each year. Certificates of HSK will be issued to those who have secured the required scores.
The Chinese Ministry of Education has established the China National Committee for Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK)(CNCCPT). The Committee supervises the HSK and issues Chinese proficiency certificates. CNCCPT has an office called the Office of China National Committee for Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK), which takes care of HSK affairs, along with the HSK Center of BLCU.
About Applicants of HSK
HSK (Basic) applies to learners with basic Chinese proficiencies, namely, those who have taken 100 to 800 hours of regular modern Chinese learning (including those with equivalent learning experiences). HSK (Elementary-Intermediate) is for those who are at the elementary and intermediate level in Chinese proficiency, those who have taken 400-2,000 regular hours of modern Chinese courses (including those with proficiency in Chinese similar to that standard). The HSK (Advanced) is designed to measure Chinese proficiency of those who are proficient in Chinese, who have taken 3,000 regular hours or more of modern Chinese learning (including those whose proficiency in Chinese is similar to that standard).
Functions of HSK Certificates
(1) To certify the holder has acquired required Chinese Proficiency to enter a college or university as an undergraduate or graduate student.
(2) To certify the holder can be exempt from taking the Chinese language course depending on the level of certification.
(3) Basis for employers to evaluate Chinese proficiency of job applicants.
HSK organizer and certificate issuer
CNCCPT is organizer of the HSK.
CNCCPT Office and HSK Center of BLCU are in charge of HSK affairs.
Test Dates and Venues
HSK is held regularly in Mainland China. The following is the schedule of 2008 HSK tests.
(1) HSK (Basic): 2 tests
The 1st test
The 2nd test
(2) HSK (Elementary-Intermediate): 3 tests
The 1st test
The 2nd test
The 3rd test
(3) HSK (Advanced): 2 tests
The 1st test
The 2nd test
HSK tests will be arranged in light of local circumstances in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and other regions and countries. For details about the schedule please enquire at the local test center.
(1) Candidates shall bring two recent 30 x 40 mm photos without headwear when registering and present a photo-bearing identification, such as a passport or residence permit.
(2) Candidates must pay fees for the test and registration. In China, it is 200 yuan for HSK Basic (including 70 yuan for registration); 250 yuan for HSK Elementary-Intermediate (including 70 yuan for registration) and 400 yuan for HSK Advanced (including 70 yuan for registration) (as fees to be paid in other countries or by students of ethnic minorities, please contact local test centers). Fees for the test and registration are non-refundable. And postage is included. When a candidate cannot take the test in time due to insurmountable reasons and notifies in advance the test center at which he registered before the test date, with approval of the center (with the signature and stamp of the center), one test opportunity will be retained for the candidate and he or she will only pay the registration fee if they take the next test in the future.
(3) Candidates living where there are no local test centers may register by mail. Applications must be sent to the test center by registered mail and at least one week before the final registration deadline and enclose a photocopy of an official piece of identification, resume (including Chinese and English names, sex, nationality, date of birth), mailing address and two recent 30 x 40 photos without head wear. Fees for the test and registration shall be remitted to the registration site by post. No telephone registration will be accepted. The admission ticket will be given to the candidate in person upon their arrival.
(3) Candidates will be given the admission ticket and the HSK User Handbook. Candidates should take the exam according to the time and place specified on the admission ticket.
Preparation for HSK
The HSK is not based on any particular textbook or course. Candidates may refer to any textbook to prepare for the test. Candidates read the HSK Test Syllabus carefully, a guide for pre-test preparation, which contains an introduction to the HSK, a sample HSK test paper and the key, HSK glossary and a CD of sample listening questions.
To be admitted to the test room, every examinee will be required to present their admission ticket and a photo-bearing ID certificate (ID card, passport or residence permit). No candidate will be allowed to enter the test room without afore-mentioned two pieces of evidence. Candidates whose admission ticket is missing can only be admitted to the test room when the ticket gets reissued (with handling charges). Tape recorders, cameras, dictionaries, notebooks, textbooks and other unnecessary objects must not be taken into the room. Mobile phones and MP3 should be switched off and put inside bags, to be placed at an area designated by test givers.
Candidates arriving five minutes late (since the start of listening comprehension test) may be admitted to the testing room and start the test right away. If examinees are 5 to 35 minutes late for the test, they may not start until the next section begins and no extra test time would be offset for late arrivals. Thirty-five minutes after the beginning of the exam, no candidates will be admitted to the test room.
Things to note during the test
(1) Once in the test room, candidates should put the admission ticket and ID certificate on the upper right corner of the desk for inspection. All activities of candidates are subject to instructions of the supervisor.
(2) Duration for HSK (Basic) is about 135 minutes; HSK (Elementary-Intermediate) about 145 minutes without a break; and HSK (Advanced) about 180 minutes with a break and then the written test. Candidates should not leave the test room during the course of the test. If so under some exceptional circumstances, the candidate must obtain permission from the supervisor.
(3) SK has a strict control of time limits for each section of the test and candidates should answer corresponding test questions within a given time period and avoid jumping to later sections or turning back to previous ones during the test.
(4) Candidates should not take test papers or answer sheets out of the room, or tear apart, replace or copy contents of the test.
(5) Candidates must abide by test instructions and those who violate rules will be warned and not be permitted to continue the test.
(6) Before answering test questions, candidates must fill in their names (Chinese and English), test paper code, nationality code, test center code and candidate's number according to the admission ticket. Candidates should draw a bar like this to indicate their sex. The test paper code is on the upper right corner. The nationality code is a fixed number created by the test center for each country and nationality for all HSK tests. The code for Japan is 525, France 610, etc. The candidate’s number is a serial number of the registration. The test center code is the number for the place where the test is held. The admission ticket of a Japanese student called Kimula Yuko is like this.
While filling information, candidates should write the numbers first in the blanks on the left and then draw a bar on corresponding numbers on the right like this. The HSK Admission Ticket
(7) Answers should be drawn with a bar like this:
Please note the bar should be drawn thick and bold to make sure the card-reading machine can recognize answers. The candidate should bear the consequences due to their failure to follow instructions about how to answer questions.
Issuing HSK Certificates and Test Report Form
The HSK certificate and test report form will be mailed to HSK test centers by the organizer within two months after the test. Candidates may obtain certificates and test report forms either by collecting them in person at the test center or by mail.
The retention period of the certificate and test report form is 2 years. If the candidate does not claim them after 2 years,the organizer will not keep them any longer.
Regulations on reissuing test report forms
Candidates may come to the HSK Center of BLCU and can require a reissue of the test report form for the purpose of employment or application for study in a university within the valid period of the test result. Handling and cost charges come with it.
Period of Validity for HSK Certificates
The HSK certificate has a permanent validity, whereas the accompanying test report will only be valid for two years (beginning from the date of the test session) as certification for foreign students to enter a college or university in China.
Information and Services
Information and services are available at HSK Center of BLCU.
Address: No15, Xueyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, People's Republic of China
Mail Address: the HSK Center, Beijing Language and Culture University
Telephone: +86 10 8230 3672, +86 10 8230 3962.
Fax: +86 10 8230 3962
Persons of contact: Chai Xingsan and Wu Xiaoyu (Office of Test Affairs)
Why Do People Take HSK Exam to Get an HSK Certificate?
To meet language requirements and be eligible to enter a degree or graduate studies program within a Chinese university.
To be exempted from taking university required language courses. Employers can evaluate Chinese language proficiency of job applicants
Why is Beijing the Best Place to Prepare for HSK Exam?
Mandarin Chinese, also known as Putonghua, is the official language of China and used for all of the nation's political, diplomatic, social and commercial needs. Nearly a billion people speak Mandarin Chinese as their main language and Beijing is recognized for having the purest version of the language. Passing the HSK exam would be best in Beijing, since it offers a good immersion environment.