HSK Online App Review – The Complete Guide: To Download or Not To Download
Time for another App review, this week the spotlight is on HSK Online.
HSK Online is an app, as you’d expect, driven solely towards your HSK Exam success.However…
DON’T STOP THERE – You DO NOT have to be studying the HSK Exam to benefit from this app. That said, if speaking or writing characters is more your thing, it’s probably best you don’t invest anymore time here and focus on some of our other app reviews.
ALSO – If you don’t know what the HSK Exam is, take a quick look at our complete guide. In a nutshell though, it’s the exam foreigners take to determine their level of Chinese. It’s also the only official one.
Prefer watching to reading? No problem, here’s our HSK Online review in video format
Where HSK Online immediately stand out is that there is simply no competition.
Despite the plethora of Chinese language learning apps on the market, no one seems to have sided with HSK based material.
So thus far, HSK Online has the monopoly of HSK language learners with their app. Nice start!
HSK Online Review – Chapter 1 : What Should I Know? Is it For Me?
HSK Online Review – Chapter 2 : How To Use It
HSK Online Review – Chapter 3 : Other Features
HSK Online Review – Chapter 4 : Should I Download?
Before getting stuck into the app we want to quickly share a little success story from one of our previous students, a German lady named Anthea.
Anthea came to LTL with no Chinese knowledge whatsoever, after a year, she pass the hardest HSK exam, HSK 6. This is no mean feat, in fact it’s quite a magnificent achievement. Check out her story here.
HSK Online App Review – What Should I Know? Is It For Me?
So as stated this app is solely driven towards the HSK but that does not mean you should only be using this app if HSK is your goal.
Take myself as a personal example:
I am a full-time worker in China, I have no desire, or need to take the HSK Exam, yet this is currently the app I use the most on a day to day basis (alongside Du Chinese).
Because the HSK Online app helps me improve my vocabulary, which is perhaps one of my weakest areas, by my own personal admission. It also allows me to read passages of text which expose me to formal grammar/words.
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So the key point to take here, is that you DO NOT have to be a “HSK-er” to take use and benefit from this app. I have broadened my knowledge on Hanzi and reading immensely by going through this app steadily, each day.
HSK Online App Review – How To Use It?
When you sign up and get going the HSK Online App is clearly laid out and allows you to focus on whatever area you chose which consist of:
- Writing (only for HSK 3 and higher)
- Vocab Training
- Past Exams
- Mock Exams
- Incorrect Answers
All these sections are relatively self-explanatory but nonetheless, I want to show you the features that are included.
Everything is driven towards the sorts of exercises you’d expect to come across in the HSK exam, with many questions from past papers or mock exams, so you immediately get a feel with what you are playing with.
Again, for myself, I just use this as a way to improve my listening, which it has done a lot using this as you become exposed to various key sentence structures.
Let’s break them down one by one
NOTE – The sections will depend on what level you are studying, in this article I am following my experiences in which I have used the app from HSK 3 onwards. For HSK 1 and 2 Listening includes True or False, Match dialogues with pictures, short dialogue questions and dialogue questions. All are relatively self-explanatory, so I will go on with the sections from HSK 4 and higher, as these are the sections I am familiar with
In the listening section (from HSK 4 onwards) you have a few sections you can practice which are:
- True or False
- Short Dialogue Questions
- Dialogue Questions
- Short Passage Questions
TRUE OR FALSE – Pretty simple section. You listen to a short dialogue and you have to decide whether the questions (stated at the end of the passage) are true or false.
SHORT DIALOGUE ANSWERS – These are short passages which you listen to, roughly 30 seconds long. You are given four options below and you have to select the correct answer.
A simple, quickfire way to improve you Chinese listening skills whether you wish to sit the HSK or not.
DIALOGUE QUESTIONS – Similar to the above but a slightly longer passage to listen to and anything between 1-2 questions to answer below.
The concept is the same as the above however.
SHORT PASSAGE QUESTIONS – Again exactly the same concept, but a slightly longer passage to digest and anything between 3-4 questions to answer.
It’s also worth noting that you can listen to the passages and questions as many times as you want but there is a time limit bar which appears at the tope of the screen.
USEFUL TIP – There is also an option to listen to questions and passages in a slower format if you hit the little tortoise button, useful if there are a couple of sections where they speak a little too fast for you.
As with all of the sections you get a breakdown on your score progress on the Listening home-screen.
It’s broken down with questions answered, how many of those are correct, your overall progress and overall time spent studying this section.
More useful metrics to find out where your weaknesses really lie.
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The Reading section is split into three parts also, these are:
- Fill in the Gap
- Arrange sentence order
- Choose the right answer/sentence
- Reading Comprehension
FILL IN THE GAP – A section I find very useful myself. You are given a list of 5 sentences and 5 answers, you have to match the correct sentence with the correct blank.
Often, you can solve this with trial and error if you aren’t 100% sure so it’s certainly worth making an educated guess if you don’t quite have it.
Remember, use radicals and try to figure out which character COULD be related to that sentence.
ARRANGE SENTENCE ORDER – Another very handy section which can really help with your grammar, because that’s what you need to know to succeed in this section.
A sentence (or two) is broken down into three sections, you have to put it in the right order.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT ANSWER/SENTENCE – The exercise will depend on what level you are studying but the concept is the same.
You read a short passage of text (longer the harder your level) and you have to select the answer that is most relevant to the text
READING COMPREHENSION – Same concept as the above, but longer passages and more questions to answer, again it will vary depending on your level.
As writing is not a part of the HSK 1 or 2 Exam this only applies from HSK 3 onwards.
As with every other section, it will depend on your level what the tasks are but you’ll come across:
- Arrange Word Order
- Write the Character
- Make Sentences according to the picture
- Write Passage
- Summarize the Text
ARRANGE WORD ORDER – You will be faced with a sentence broken down into lots of small chunks, your job is to rearrange it into the correct order.
If you get it wrong, you receive the analysis which is particularly useful for ironing out those mistakes.
WRITE THE CHARACTER – Only in HSK 3, this is quite useful to get used to stroke order and familiarising yourself with how characters are built.
In terms of the exam, if you are taking the computer exam, it doesn’t hold much benefit.
MAKE SENTENCES ACCORDING TO THE PICTURE – You are faced with a picture, or scenario, and your job is to write a short passage based on that picture.
It will tell you how many characters it expects you to write in each situation, and will depend on your level.
WRITE PASSAGE – You will be given some buzzwords, and you have to create a passage based around these words. Again, there is a number of minimum characters you should write, which is stated (for example in HSK 5 you should write 80 characters in total)
SUMMARIZE THE TEXT – Only in HSK 6, there is a long passage which you have to digest. After reading it, your job is to write a passage.
There are conditions which are listed in the exercise which tells you number of characters and roughly how many minutes you should spend on this section. Good luck!!
MY FAVOURITE SECTION!
This is where I think this app excels the most because it is not just relevant to HSK, but anyone who wants to expand their vocabulary, which lets face it, should be all of us!
Each level of HSK has its own total number of characters you should know.
For example – HSK 4 requires about 600 words. The app breaks these down into lessons of 10 giving you roughly 60 bitesized lessons to go through.
In each lesson, you are faced with the new word, its pinyin, and an example sentence.
You can listen to the word spoken itself, and the whole sentence, which give you some context relating to the new word.
Also, below this, you will see examples of this word being used in an official test environment which is priceless practice, if you are preparing for the exam itself.
Once you’ve taken in those characters, you have to do a review at the end, which involves you filling in the missing gap, or remembering the translation, from 4 different options each time.
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Excellent for helping you prepare for the HSK Exam. It’s often said with exams that the best way to get yourself prepared is to practice past papers over and over.
The same applies for HSK.
What better way is there honestly to prepare for an exam than getting stuck into the format and style of the paper itself.
No one wants to be surprised by the content or structure of an exam, so if you are close to taking an exam, or preparing for one, do yourself a favour and invest some time in these past papers.
A great benefit of this is you get your results immediately, and you can see exactly where you succeeded and where you perhaps struggled.
This way you know exactly what you need to improve on before the exam itself.
You can also dig into the analysis for every question you took and find out what the correct answer was if you were wrong.
Very useful practice indeed.
Pretty much exactly the same as past exams.
A useful section which collates all of the answers you have gotten wrong.
I recommend coming back to this often to iron out those weaker areas as this is where you will see the most personal improvement.
HSK Online App Review – Other Features
You can also test your current level of HSK which can give you a rough estimate on where you are at right now, if you are unsure. It’s always useful to know.
I also really like the analysis section after each exam you take.
You get a genuine idea where you need to improve and this is so key in exam situations. Focus on those sections and you’ll be flying.
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HSK Online App Review – Should I Download?
The app goes much further than just a HSK app.
Although it covers the exam extensively I’ve found it a very useful tool for improving my vocabulary, which, according to this app at least, is my weakest area.
You can never know too many words either, so I think it’s an app everyone can benefit from in truth.
If you wish to download HSK Online, visit this link.
OVERALL RATING – 8/10
HSK Online App – FAQ’s
You DO NOT have to be studying the HSK Exam to benefit from this app, however… if speaking or writing characters is more your thing, it’s probably best you don’t invest anymore time here and focus on some other apps.
Yes it does, it also boasts a number of mock exams with extensive post-exam analysis.
No you cannot. As we are an accredited HSK test centre, you can book through LTL Mandarin School.
Yes HSK Online has analysis on every character of the HSK from HSK 1 up to HSK 6.
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