HSK Test & Structure

The HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, Chinese Proficiency Test) is the only worldwide standardised test of Standard Chinese language proficiency for non-native speakers, including overseas Chinese and non-Chinese background speakers. It assesses non-native Chinese speakers’ abilities in using the Chinese language in their daily, academic and professional lives.

The HSK test report is the only officially recognised Chinese language proficiency certificate for foreigners to apply for study or work in China. HSK is similar to TOEFL and IELTS of English test.

The HSK is administered by Hanban, an organisation affiliated with the Ministry of Education of China. Hanban determines the test dates each year and the examinations are carried out by its authorised HSK test centres. Each year HSK certificates are issued to those who meet required scores. The test takers with outstanding results may win a scholarship for short-term language study in China.

The current HSK structure and format was introduced in 2012, and is referred as New HSK sometimes.

Why take HSK tests? Look at what other people said.

Testing Purposes

The result of HSK can serve several purposes:

1. A reference for an educational institution’s decision-making concerning recruiting students, assigning students to different classes, allowing students to skip certain courses and granting students academic credits.

2. A reference for employers’ decision-making concerning the recruitment, training and promotion of test takers.

3. A method for Chinese language learners to assess and improve their proficiency in Chinese.

4. A method for Chinese language training institutions to evaluate training results.

Test Principles

The HSK follows the principle of “test-teaching correlation”, bases the design of the test on the current trends in international Chinese language training, and is closely related to textbooks. The purpose of the test is to “promote training through testing” and “promote learning through testing”.

The new HSK emphasizes the objectivity and accuracy of the evaluation and stresses the learners’ actual Chinese language abilities.

The new HSK sets clear test objectives to allow the test takers to be able to improve their Chinese language abilities in a systematic and efficient way.

HSK Structure and Levels

There are four types of tests a person can take in the general meaning of HSK:

  • Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK)
  • HSK Speaking Test(HSKK)
  • Business Chinese Test (BCT)
  • Youth Chinese Test (YCT)

The HSK consists of a writing test and a speaking test, which are independent of each other. There are six levels of writing tests – the HSK (level I), HSK (level II), HSK (level III), HSK (level IV), HSK (level V), and HSK (level VI). Speaking tests are organised in three levels the HSK (beginner level), HSK (intermediate level), and HSK (advanced level). During the speaking test, test takers speeches will be recorded.

Writing Test Speaking Test
HSK (Level I) HSK (Beginner Level)
HSK (Level II)
HSK (Level III) HSK (Intermediate Level)
HSK (Level IV)
HSK (Level V) HSK (Advanced Level)
HSK (Level VI)

The HSKK is designed to assesses a test taker’s ability of speaking Chinese. There are three levels of speaking tests – including HSKK (Beginning), HSKK (intermediate) and HSKK (Advanced). Speaking tests will be recorded.

The BCT is designed to assess the Chinese proficiency of non-native speakers engaged in business activities. BCT is developed by Peking University under the auspices of Hanban.

The YCT is to designed to assess young learners Chinese language proficiency. It is an effort of Hanban to encourage foreign young students to learn Chinese and improve their Chinese language proficiency.

The YCT consists of a writing test and a speaking test, which are independent of each other. The writing test is divided into four levels: the YCT (level I), YCT (level II), YCT (level III), and YCT (level IV). The speaking test is divided into two levels: the YCT (Beginner Level) and YCT (Intermediate Level).

Writing Test Speaking Test
YCT (Level I) YCT (Beginner Level)
YCT (Level II)
YCT(Level III) YCT (Intermediate Level)
YCT (Level IV)