HSK(1-6) Ultimate Guide: All You Need to Know

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One of the most effective ways to have a clear idea about your Chinese level is to take the HSK exam. Many Chinese learners are now interested in taking the HSK exams for different purposes like pursuing higher education in China or obtaining a Chinese work visa. It is sensible to get yourself familiar with the general information about each exam level before taking the next step, and we are here to help you find out what you need regarding the six HSK levels.

 

HSK1

HSK Guide from That's Mandarin

Q: What is its equivalent level in terms of CEF (Common European Framework of Reference)?

A: HSK1 is equivalent to A1 in terms of CEF.

Q: How many words do I need to know to pass HSK1?

A: A minimum of 150 words is required in order for you to pass HSK1.

Q: What is the total score of the HSK1 exam?

A: The total score of the HSK1 exam is 200, with 120 being the minimum passing score.

Q: What types of questions am I expected to answer in the exam?

A: The HSK1 exam consists of two sections, which are listening and reading, with true or false and multiple-choice being the only two question types. During the listening test, you’re expected to hear different words, phrases, sentences and short dialogues and then answer relative questions. As for the reading test, you’ll be focusing on matching the given sentences and questions with the correct pictures or answers. All the characters are provided along with pinyin.

Q: What am I able to achieve after completing HSK1?

A: You’ll be able to say simple words and sentences and conduct basic daily life conversations after completing HSK1.

 

HSK2

HSK Guide from That's Mandarin

Q: What is its equivalent level in terms of CEF (Common European Framework of Reference)?

A: HSK2 is equivalent to A2 in terms of CEF.

Q: How many words do I need to know to pass HSK2?

A: A minimum of 300 words is required in order for you to pass HSK2.

Q: What is the total score of the HSK2 exam?

A: The total score of the HSK2 exam is 200, with 120 being the minimum passing score.

Q: What types of questions am I expected to answer in the exam?

A: The HSK2 exam consists of two sections, which are listening and reading, with true or false and multiple-choice being the only two question types. During the listening test, you’re expected to hear different words, phrases, sentences and short dialogues and then answer relative questions. As for the reading test, you’ll be focusing on matching the given sentences with the correct pictures or relevant replies, as well as deciding if a sentence is true or false based on what you’ve read. All the characters are provided along with pinyin.

Q: What am I able to achieve after completing HSK2?

A: You’ll be able to conduct simple daily life conversations on various topics that you are familiar with after completing HSK2.

 

HSK3

HSK Guide from That's Mandarin

Q: What is its equivalent level in terms of CEF (Common European Framework of Reference)?

A: HSK3 is equivalent to B1 in terms of CEF.

Q: How many words do I need to know to pass HSK3?

A: A minimum of 600 words is required in order for you to pass HSK3.

Q: What is the total score of the HSK3 exam?

A: The total score of the HSK3 exam is 300, with 180 being the minimum passing score.

Q: What types of questions am I expected to answer in the exam?

A: In addition to listening and reading, writing is also a compulsory part of the HSK3 exam. Moreover, pinyin will not be provided starting from HSK3, which means you are expected to learn how to read and write all the Chinese characters listed in the HSK3 test syllabus before taking the exam.

Q: What am I able to achieve after completing HSK3?

A: You’ll be able to cope with simple communication-related tasks in Chinese during your study or at work after completing HSK3.

 

HSK4

HSK Guide from That's Mandarin

Q: What is its equivalent level in terms of CEF (Common European Framework of Reference)?

A: HSK4 is equivalent to B2 in terms of CEF.

Q: How many words do I need to know to pass HSK4?

A: A minimum of 1200 words is required in order for you to pass HSK4.

Q: What is the total score of the HSK4 exam?

A: The total score of the HSK4 exam is 300, with 180 being the minimum passing score.

Q: What types of questions am I expected to answer in the exam?

A: The HSK4 exam contains listening, reading, and writing, with true or false and multiple-choice being the two main question types. You’re expected to understand short passages on different topics such as friendship and climate, as well as make your own sentences in Chinese based on the pictures given.

Q: What am I able to achieve after completing HSK4?

A: You’ll be able to discuss various topics with native Chinese speakers fluently in Chinese after completing HSK4.

 

HSK5

HSK Guide from That's Mandarin

Q: What is its equivalent level in terms of CEF (Common European Framework of Reference)?

A: HSK5 is equivalent to C1 in terms of CEF.

Q: How many words do I need to know to pass HSK5?

A: A minimum of 2500 words is required in order for you to pass HSK5.

Q: What is the total score of the HSK5 exam?

A: The total score of the HSK5 exam is 300, with 180 being the minimum passing score.

Q: What types of questions am I expected to answer in the exam?

A: The HSK5 exam consists of listening, reading, and writing, with multiple choice being the only question type in the first two sections (listening and reading). You’re expected to understand passages related to various academic and professional fields such as history and computer science. In addition, you’re expected to have the ability to write short paragraphs on different topics in Chinese.

Q: What am I able to achieve after completing HSK5?

A: In addition to reading Chinese newspapers and magazines, you’ll also be able to give speeches in Chinese after completing HSK5.

 

HSK6

HSK Guide from That's Mandarin

Q: What is its equivalent level in terms of CEF (Common European Framework of Reference)?

A: HSK6 is equivalent to C2 in terms of CEF.

Q: How many words do I need to know to pass HSK6?

A: A minimum of 5000 words is required in order for you to pass HSK6.

Q: What is the total score of the HSK6 exam?

A: The total score of the HSK6 exam is 300, with 180 being the minimum passing score.

Q: What types of questions am I expected to answer in the exam?

A: A near-native level is what you need to pass the HSK6 exam in that it requires an excellent command of the Chinese language in terms of listening, reading, and writing. Moreover, having a good understanding of advanced Chinese grammatical and sentence structures is a must in order for you to comprehend science-related articles that you’re supposed to come across during the exam. When it comes to writing, you’re expected to write a summary based on a long article that you’ve read.

Q: What am I able to achieve after completing HSK6?

A: You’ll be able to understand all kinds of information in Chinese and express your own opinions on different issues fluently in Chinese.

 

New HSK System

HSK Guide from That's Mandarin

In the near future, all Chinese learners will be introduced to a brand new HSK system, which is designed to more accurately evaluate a person’s Chinese level through his or her knowledge of pronunciation, Chinese characters, grammar and vocabulary. The new HSK system will be divided into nine levels, with every three levels to be classified under elementary (level 1 to level 3), intermediate (level 4 to level 6) and advanced (level 7 to level 9). Compared with the current HSK test syllabus, the new HSK system will put an emphasis on a student’s overall listening, speaking, reading, writing, and translation abilities.

That's Mandarin Students

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The classes are focused on the HSK texts and tasks to help you prepare and pass the test (HSK1 to HSK6). This program is flexible and you can either choose intensive learning to boost your study, or take part-time classes.

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