HSK EXAM – THE COMPLETE GUIDE

HSK Exam in Chinese is Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (汉语水平考试) literally meaning “Mandarin Level Test”.

It is organized by Hanban (汉办) the part of the Chinese education ministry also in charge of the Confucius Institutes (孔子学院).

The HSK Exam is administered by testing centres around the world, including private language schools, universities and Confucius institutes.

Exam questions and dates are the same everywhere in the world, however not all testing centres choose to offer the HSK test every month.

Many students wish to take a HSK Exam in China for a number of reasons which range from finding their current level of Chinese, achieving a personal goal, or for future career progression.

At LTL we help students prepare and arrange the exam with a number of programs and packages. We are a registered HSK Testing Centre from HSK 1 through to HSK 6.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT – The HSK is changing in 2021 to nine levels instead of six! Find out more with our article that covers the New HSK extensively!

HSK Test Levels

There are six HSK levels overall. HSK 1 covers basic Chinese language through to HSK 6 which is outright fluency in all circumstances. Let’s explain a little bit more about each level and what your expectations will be when taking the exam:

  • HSK 1 – The ability to understand basic Chinese words and phrases
  • HSK 2 – Can use basic Chinese and apply to complete simple tasks
  • HSK 3 – Can communicate daily for academic and professional purposes
  • HSK 4 – Converse fluently in various topics with native Chinese speakers
  • HSK 5 – Fluent speaking and ability to read a Chinese newspaper
  • HSK 6 – Ability to express whatever you wish either spoken or written.
LevelTest DurationWords To Learn
HSK 135 minutes150 words
HSK 250 minutes300 words
HSK 31 hour 25 minutes600 words
HSK 41 hour 40 minutes1200 words
HSK 52 hours2500 words
HSK 62 hours 15 minutes5000 words

How the HSK Exam Works

There are six HSK Exams in total. The exam is either taken on computer or written format. There is no speaking involved. You can actually take a Chinese speaking test, this is referred to as the HSKK Exam (note the extra K). There are three of these tests in total. Feel free to contact us to talk more about HSKK Exams.

In terms of the computer and written exams, here are a few useful points about how the test works:

  • HSK 1 and HSK 2 are the two most basic HSK Exams, these involve pinyin and characters
  • HSK 1 and HSK 2 tests your listening and reading skills
  • HSK 3 through to HSK 6 are fully in Chinese characters, there is no pinyin in these exams
  • HSK 3 to HSK 6 tests your listening, reading and writing skills
  • The HSK Exam dates are listed below.
  • The cost of the HSK 1 Exam is 150CNY, this increases by 100CNY for each exam. For example, HSK 4 would cost 450CNY
    • PLEASE NOTE – The cost of HSK Exam’s changes depending on the country you are in, these are the prices for taking the HSK in China.

The HSK exam is split into sections. Listening, Reading and Writing (HSK3-6).

Each section is broken down into a number of questions to test your ability in all forms of Chinese.

You can choose to take either the written test or the computer test.

Generally, we recommend the computer test as you don’t have to physically write every character which can be hard for many foreigners.

Using a keyboard to type the pinyin and automate the characters should be an easier way to score marks.

You can test your knowledge of HSK vocabulary with our FREE HSK vocabulary tests.

HSK Exam Dates 2020 – 2021

Here is a list of all HSK Exam dates in 2020 and 2021.

If you are taking the HSK in China the exam dates are always either on a Saturday or a Sunday. For HSK levels 2, 4 and 6 the exams usually starts at 9am and for levels 1, 3 and 5 at 1:30pm.

Date of ExamResults Due (Paper Test)Results Due (Online Test)
Saturday October 17th 2020November 17th 2020November 2nd 2020
Saturday November 7th 2020 *ONLINE ONLYNovember 23rd 2020
Saturday November 21st 2020December 21st 2020December 7th 2020
Sunday December 6th 2020January 6th 2021December 21st 2020
Saturday January 9th 2021February 9th 2021January 25th 2021
Saturday February 6th 2021March 13th 2021March 1st 2021
Sunday March 7th 2021ONLINE ONLYMarch 22nd 2021
Saturday March 20th 2021April 20th 2021April 5th 2021
Saturday April 10th 2021May 17th 2021April 26th 2021
Saturday May 15th 2021June 15th 2021May 31st 2021
Saturday June 19th 2021July 19th 2021July 5th 2021
Sunday July 18th 2021August 18th 2021August 2nd 2021
Sunday August 22nd 2021September 22nd 2021September 6th 2021
Saturday September 11th 2021October 18th 2021September 27th 2021
Sunday October 17th 2021November 17th 2021November 1st 2021
Saturday November 6th 2021 *ONLINE ONLYNovember 22nd 2021
Saturday November 20th 2021December 20th 2021December 6th 2021
Sunday December 5th 2021January 5th 2022December 20th 2021
*this date is Online HSK Exam only

HSKK Exam Dates 2020 – 2021

The HSKK exam is a spoken only Chinese proficiency test. Below are the dates for all HSKK Exams in 2020.

Date of ExamResults Due
Saturday October 17th 2020November 17th 2020
Sunday December 6th 2020January 6th 2021
Saturday January 9th 2021February 9th 2021
Saturday March 20th 2021April 20th 2021
Saturday April 10th 2021May 17th 2021
Saturday May 15th 2021June 15th 2021
Sunday July 18th 2021August 18th 2021
Saturday October 17th 2021November 17th 2021
Sunday December 5th 2021January 5th 2022

HSK Prices (in Chinese Yuan)

Please note these are the prices for taking the HSK Exam in China only. The prices around the world will vary depending on your location.

Exam LevelPrice in CNY
HSK 1150
HSK 2250
HSK 3350
HSK 4450
HSK 5550
HSK 6650

HSK Exam Preparation Courses

Our HSK classes are taught by experienced teachers who know exactly the tools you need to pass your HSK Exam. You will learn the exact grammar structures, vocabulary and sentence patterns you need to put you in great shape going into your HSK Test.

Your HSK Classes can be combined with Small Group Classes, 1 on 1 Classes and Immersion Programs. At LTL we can help you sign up for your HSK Exam and give you any other details, or answer any other questions you have about the exam.

  • HSK Classes taught by HSK Teachers
  • 1 on 1 tuition to get you ahead fast
  • Start on any Monday of the year
  • Join your HSK classes onto another program
  • LTL is an accredited HSK Test Centre
  • HSK Exams every month in China
  • Speak to us for more details

HSK Exam Preparation Course Prices

Regular Course Options & Pricing

  • HSK Standard – 20h 1-on-1 HSK classes
DurationDiscountPrice
2 weeks0%10,419
4 weeks-5%19,835
8 weeks-14%35,939
12 weeks-22%48,840
13-52 wks-22%3,700/wk

Intensive Class Options & Pricing

  • HSK Intensive – 30h 1-on-1 HSK classes
DurationDiscountPrice
2 weeks0%15,628
4 weeks-5%29,753
8 weeks-14%53,908
12 weeks-22%73,260
13-52 wks-22%5,550/wk

HSK Exam Preparation Kit

The LTL HSK Exam Preparation Kit aims to guide you through the process of passing the HSK Exam. The key to the exam is learning specific vocabulary and grammar that we know will be tested. Thankfully we are experts in this field so look no further.

Our Preparation Kit will help create you a study plan, complete mock exams, prepare for the exam itself and help you through the payment process so you can get studying. The end goal is you passing your test.

The Process

  1. Assessment – Your assigned HSK Specialist will get an understanding of your current level of Chinese and give you a HSK Level to attain, from one through to six.
  2. Choose an Exam and Date – Once you are both comfortable with what level exam to take its time to pick a date and get preparing
  3. Personalized study plan – Your plan will give you targets, strategies and mock papers so you have all the materials you need.
  4. Take Mock Tests – It’s time to see how you fare with last year’s papers.
  5. It’s time for your test – Good luck

What’s Included

  • HSK level assessment and study plan
  • HSK mock test and analysis
  • Five sets of past HSK Test papers including CD
  • HSK Test Syllabus
  • Sign up and staff support
  • Chinese classes are not included

COST – 980CNY

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I take a course entirely based on the HSK?

Yes you can. We provide HSK preparation courses (standard or intensive) as shown on this page or online HSK courses, of which we have five in total.

All the aforementioned courses are aimed about passing the HSK exam.

How many HSK levels are there in total?

Currently, as of 2020, there are 6 HSK levels, HSK 6 being the most advanced.

Where are HSK Exams taken?

Exams are taken at a nearby centre. We will provide you with the details when the test is booked.

Do I have to take a HSK Exam?

You are under no obligations to take any exam when you learn Chinese. An oral test or a speaking test is just a way of gaining a grade. If you need this on your CV for a potential job then yes, the HSK Exam is worth taking. If you have a personal goal and want to reach a certain level of Chinese proficiency, then yes why not take the test. Otherwise the choice is completely up to you.

Do you have any way I can practice the HSK right now?

We have free HSK tests on our website you can take right now.

Bare in mind, these are simply vocabulary tests and not a mock of an official HSK test.

Our test will examine your ability on all the vocabulary for that given level, try it now!

OUR FREE HSK TESTS ⏩ LTL HSK Tests

Have you had students pass HSK 6 before?

We have indeed, many in fact. If you wish to speak to any of them, do let us know.

You can also check out a blog post and a video from two of our HSK students of the past.

How do I know my HSK Level?

Your teacher will guide and assess your Chinese language level throughout your course with LTL. They will tell you what your level is and what exam you should be aiming to take. You can then prepare for this accordingly.

Can I take an online HSK course?

Absolutely, if you want to take an Online HSK course check out our dedicated course page by visiting the link.

How many words do I need to know to pass HSK?

HSK 1 – 150 words

HSK 2 – 300 words

HSK 3 – 600 words

HSK 4 – 1,200 words

HSK 5 – 2,500 words

HSK 6 – 5,000 words

Why is the written test harder than the computer test?

We believe the computer test is a favourable choice because it cuts down the chance of losing marks and points on your exam paper. If you take the written test you must physically write down every character. If you slip up, you lose marks. With the computer exam you type the pinyin and the characters will appear on the computer. Although you still need to know which character to apply you cannot get the script of the character wrong this way. If you don’t know the answer you can make an educated guess which can often lead to you getting certain questions correct where you may have otherwise failed.

Do all HSK tests include Pinyin?

No, only HSK 1 and HSK 2 have pinyin, after this the exams are solely using Chinese characters.

What is the HSKK?

The HSKK is the spoke version of the HSK exam. There are 3 levels in total, beginner, intermediate and advanced

What Our Students Say

Juliette Testimony for LTL
Juliette
UK
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This was my fourth time in China and I could not ask for a better experience. Overall I felt the teaching was excellent and I would highly recommend this school to anyone looking to improve their Chinese.

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AC Testimony for LTL
AC
USA
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I really enjoyed my lessons at LTL Shanghai. I thought the learning environment was well tailored to my needs. All of the teachers I met were very good and I would recommend all of them to any students.

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Roberta Testimony for LTL
Roberta
Italy
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This year I took 1-on-1 classes to prepare for the HSK 2 exam. I found the program was good, especially my 2nd week when I prepared with mock exams and tried to improve my listening.

Read More

List of HSK Vocabulary

  • HSK 1 Vocabulary

    The HSK 1 exam tests your ability to understand the basic Mandarin words and phrases. In the exam both Pinyin and Hanzi will be used.

    HSK 1 Vocabulary and Test

  • HSK 2 Vocabulary

    To take the HSK 2 exam you will be able use basic Mandarin and apply this to complete simply tasks day to day.

    HSK 2 Vocabulary and Test

  • HSK 3 Vocabulary

    For HSK 3 exam there is no pinyin used. You will have to rely totally on your Hanzi skills to pass the test.

    HSK 3 Vocabulary and Test

  • HSK 4 Vocabulary

    The HSK 4 exam also comes solely in Hanzi with no Pinyin. You will be able to converse fluently in a number of different topics.

    HSK 4 Vocabulary and Test

  • HSK 5 Vocabulary

    If you are ready to take the HSK 5 exam you should be a fluent Mandarin speaker. You will also have the ability to read a Chinese newspaper with no problems.

    HSK 5 Vocabulary and Test

  • HSK 6 Vocabulary

    The pinnacle of learning Chinese as a foreigner. HSK 6 will mean you can converse any feeling or emotion you wish whether written or spoken.

    HSK 6 Vocabulary and Test

Ask us a question!
  • LTL Avatar Irene Magnosi
    Irene Magnosi, Student Advisor

    Welcome to LTL Mandarin School!

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