HSK Test and Levels


Introduction – some facts

The HSK, HànyǔShuǐpíngKǎoshì, or the Chinese Proficiency Test is a standard language test for non-native Chinese speakers. The test is administered by Hanban, an agency of the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. The HSK was designed by Beijing Language Institute and Culture University (BLCU) with input from experts in many fields, such as Chinese language teachers, linguists and psychologists.

Within China (domestic ethnic minority) the test has been taken around 100 million times. Applicants from outside of China have been tested more than 2 million times since 1991, the launching day!

The HSK is the equivalent of the TOEFL or the IELTS for English. The test is also valid 2 years from date of the result.


The HSK is held at designated test centers in China and abroad. You can find a list of test centers and register for the HSK test online at www.chinesetest.cn. Test dates are published annually and written tests are more frequently held than spoken ones, generally around once a month, depending on the test center. Test registration is usually open until 30 days prior to the actual test date for the paper-based test or around 10 days prior to the actual test date for the computer-based test. Results are generally available around 30 days after completion (but no definite date is given for results).

Test Fees

Test fees might differ due to exchange rates of different countries. Contact and ask to the test center where you wish to take the HSK.

Content – structure


The latest HSK test has a new structure and style of language. The old version of HSK was criticized for focusing on the formal and impractical language, the new version tests a more daily and practical Chinese.

The HSK consists of writing and speaking test, which are independent of each other. There are six levels of writing test; the HSK (level I), HSK (level II), HSK (level III), HSK (level IV), HSK (level V), and HSK (level VI) and 3 level of speaking test (beginner, intermediate, advanced). The purpose of HSK is to “promote training/learning through testing”.


LevelQuantity of commonly used wordsListeningReadingWritingTotal ScorePassing ScoreExam duration
HSK Level 1150200120~ 40mins
HSK Level 2300200120~ 55mins
HSK Level 3600300180~ 90mins
HSK Level 41200300180~ 105mins
HSK Level 52500300180~ 125mins
HSK Level 65000+300180~ 140mins
HSK Speaking (Beginners)20010060~ 20mins
HSK Speaking (Intermediate)90010060~ 23mins
HSK Speaking (Advenced)300010060~ 25mins



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