The New HSK Exam System 😲 (When Will It Launch?!)

New HSK Exam // The Only Guide You Need (Including Full New HSK Word List)

Lex The Lion - Teaching Book

WHAT? There’s a new HSK Exam?

The current HSK exam structure is changing and in this article we aim to clear up any of your FAQs.

The HSK will now launch the new more advanced 7, 8 and 9 levels in late 2022.

After a lot of waiting, there is finally news on when the first New HSK exam will take place.

The first global HSK (Level 7-9) test will be held on November 26th 2022. This exam is in the form of a home exam, which is divided into five parts: listening, speaking, reading, writing and translation

More on that below.

I’m sure there are a lot questions on your lips… will I have to take the test again, is my current qualification still valid…?

It’s the facts we’ll be covering here in this one-stop article. Feel free to check back as we’ll be constantly updating this throughout 2022.

🙋🏽‍♀️ Want to take our brand New 50 Question HSK 7-9 Quiz? 🙋🏽‍♀️

To make sure you are the first to receive the news, be sure to be signed up to our newsletter:

.

New HSK || Introduction to HSK

New HSK || What Do We Know So Far?

New HSK || Overseas HSK & HSKK 2022 Updates

New HSK || Why the Change?

New HSK || What Does This Mean For You?

FREE DOWNLOAD || Full New HSK Word List

FREE HSK VOCAB TESTS || Take Yours Here

Passing the HSK || Two BIG Success Stories

New HSK || Tips

New HSK || Your FAQs Answered

FREE BONUS || Take Our NEW HSK Quiz

NEW HSK || Introduction to the HSK

HSK or Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (汉语水平考试) came about in 1992 as a proficiency exam for Mandarin Chinese.  

The exams are organised by Hanban (汉办). Hanban are a part of the Chinese education ministry, who are also in charge of the Confucius Institutes (孔子学院).

HSK is originally split into 6 levels covering 150 to 5000 words.

All the exams contain listening, reading and writing components – with HSK 1 and 2 not requiring the writing element.

We still do not know what the actual situation will be, but we do know that the New HSK Exam will contain more words, more levels and it will be no doubt harder – as the following below will illustrate.

You can find the official HSK website here.

NEW HSK || What Do We Know So Far

Announced in May 2020, released via the official HSK official Twitter Account, the HSK exam will change from six to nine levels!

In order to mark the examinees’ current progress, the nine levels will be sub-divided into three stages.

For advanced learners to acquire native-level proficiency certifications, the highest classification will be be further divided into three distinct levels.

We also know the New HSK consists of these four elements:

  • Syllables – 1,110 in total
  • Chinese characters – 3,000 in total
  • Vocabulary – Total is 11,092
  • Grammar – Total of 572 items
LevelLevel NumberDetails
AdvancedLevels 7, 8 & 9For levels 7-9 there is no evaluation quota as of yet.
IntermediateLevels 4, 5 & 6From levels 1-6, each has a corresponding threshold for the number of syllables, characters, words and grammatical structures the test taker should be able to comprehend and use.
BeginnerLevels 1, 2 & 3From levels 1-6, each has a corresponding threshold for the number of syllables, characters, words and grammatical structures the test taker should be able to comprehend and use.

As mentioned above, we now know that the first new HSK exam for levels 7-9 will be held on November 26th 2022.

This exam is in the form of a home exam meaning you will not need to travel to a test centre, but instead take the exam at home.

This exam is in the form of five parts

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Translation

NOTE | Translation is divided into interpretation and translation, both of which are translated from foreign languages into Chinese.

The exam is divided into two sessions in the morning and afternoon, with a 10 minute rest in the morning.

FOR STUDENTS IN CHINA | You can visit this link to register for the new HSK exam.

FOR STUDENTS OUTSIDE OF CHINA | Overseas students need to contact their local test centre to register and pay offline. At present, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and South Africa can take the new HSK exam. Cross border registration is not allowed.

More details will be released on this very soon and when they are, we’ll be updating this article.

IMPORTANT | New versions of HSK Exams for 1-6 will most likely be released in 2023-24 and the rollout is expected to take a couple of years so the process remains a lengthy one.

Three Stages and Nine Levels 🤔

New HSK 3.0 Exam

Officially referred to as HSK 3.0, the new HSK exam structure will be divided into three stages and nine levels with:

  • Beginner at Level 1-3
  • Intermediate at Level 4-6
  • Advanced at Level 7-9

According to the Chinese Testing International Centre in Barcelona, the advanced levels (7-9) are for foreign students who want to specialize in Chinese language and literature, and other majors such as Sinology.

Whether it be the lower level or highest grade, you must learn more words so it will certainly be a harder test!

LevelDifficultyNumber Of WordsDifference From Old HSK
HSK 1Beginner500+350
HSK 2Beginner1272+972
HSK 3Beginner2245+1645
HSK 4Intermediate3245+2045
HSK 5Intermediate4316+1816
HSK 6Intermediate5456+456
HSK 7Advanced11,092 (TBC)TBC
HSK 8Advanced11,092 (TBC)TBC
HSK 9Advanced11,092 (TBC)TBC

Here’s a side-by-side look at the Old HSK vs New HSK to give you a clear indication that the NEW HSK will be certainly more difficult.

LevelNew HSKCurrent HSK
HSK 1500150
HSK 21,272300
HSK 32,245600
HSK 43,2451,200
HSK 54,3162,500
HSK 65,4565,000
HSK 711,092 (TBC)
HSK 811,092 (TBC)
HSK 911,092 (TBC)

Words and Vocabulary List 🧠

In a PDF published by the International Chinese Education (世界汉语教学 shìjiè hànyǔ jiàoxué), they further outline the new proficiency standards for all the levels.

New HSK 3.0 Vocabulary
New requirements for the HSK levels 1 to 9

The difficulty has certainly increased!

Focusing on the vocabulary column (词汇: cíhuì) a.k.a. the fifth column, we can see that just for level 1 the threshold has increased.

Instead of previously needing to learn 150 words for HSK 1, this has now increased to 500.

For HSK 6, students will now be required to learn 5,456 words and for HSK 9 students will be expected to know over 11,000 words!

Therefore, by increasing the threshold students will be pushed harder to learn more words.

You can find a full downloadable wordlist for the New HSK here.

Free Chinese Class
Practice for the HSK with LTL’s 24/7 Mandarin Lessons

Overseas HSK & HSKK 2022 Updates

Another change that has been made involves the speaking exam – the HSKK (note the extra K).

All overseas HSK3 to HSK6 test takers are required to take both HSK and HSK Oral Test.

The written and spoken part will come as a combo package. This change will only affect all overseas HSK testing sites. Testing sites in China will not be affected. 

HSK5 and HSK6 candidates must now take the Advanced level Speaking test:

HSK 5 + 高级 | Advanced oral test
HSK 6 + 高级 | Advanced oral test


HSK4 candidates must take the Intermediate level Speaking test, and HSK3 candidates must take the Beginner level Speaking test.

HSK 3 + 初级 | Primary oral test
HSK 4 + 中级 | Intermediate oral test

HSK Written and Speaking test result reports will be issued together.

NEW HSK || Why the Change?

New HSK 3.0

There is no definite answer to this question.

But here’s some possible reasons:

  • To make the exam harder
    • As more people are studying the language, the old classification could no longer meet the requirements of the new situation.
    • This new classification is more precise and further categorizes students language ability.
  • To align with the European Framework
    • One major problem with the current HSK test is it does not directly correspond to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CETR)
    • For example, HSK 6 was nowhere near the “almost-native” C2 level and so on.
    • Thus, by adjusting the test to better reflect the CEFR system this should help give the HSK improved weighting and caliber on the international stage.

NEW HSK || What Does This Mean For You?

There has been no word so far on what this means for graduation requirements for international students in China.

HSK did however confirm the following: “The scores of candidates participating in HSK 1-6 levels are still valid, and the validity of the certificates already obtained remains unchanged”

Regarding text books HSK went on to say:

“The textbooks and courses compiled and developed according to HSK 1-6 levels can still be used. In the next 3-5 years, HSK 1-6 levels will be gradually adjusted according to the “Standards” and the actual conditions of Chinese learners in various countries.”

With the exam system changing, it is hard to go into details what this exactly means for you.

Previously, a level between HSK 4-6 was sufficient for students who wanted to pursue graduate or higher-level degree in Chinese.

As soon as more details are announced, we will update you.

If you have any more questions feel free to comment down below and we will try our best to answer them.

Discover HSK Online – an app to help you pass the HSK

FREE DOWNLOAD || Full New HSK Word List

In keeping with the news above, the Ministry of Education in China have released this rather large (260 pages to be precise) PDF which is the full word list for each level of the HSK.

Whilst the wordlist shows all the words included in the new HSK curriculum, it still doesn’t show the breakdown from HSK 7 onwards.

These details will be released nearer the time presumably, but for now, here is the full document if you wish to download it.

PLEASE NOTE | it is a rather large file so may take some time to download, unless you have particularly fast internet!

FREE HSK VOCAB TESTS || Take Yours Here

Lex The Lion - Pointing

As of right now, the HSK remains 6 levels and that means you can test yourself right here with our super handy quizzes.

We have two quizzes for every HSK level:

  • Quick Fire 30 Questions – we randomly select 30 words from each HSK level to see how well you know your vocabulary.
  • Full Vocab Tests – fancy buckling up and going all out? Our full vocabulary quizzes cover more words and will give you a clearer idea of how well you know your HSK level. (up to 500 words for the highest level HSK 6).

Results are instant and also sent to your email address, also showing where you slipped up!

PASSING THE HSK || Two BIG Success Stories

We take huge pride in our student pass rate of 95%. It not only shows our teachers are the best in the business but that all our students are so driven to succeed.

Motivation is a big part of language learning and we wanted to share two stories of students who boast this in abundance.

Language learning isn’t a talent, it’s a will to win.

Anthea and Emma, from France and Germany respectively, gave their all in their year with LTl and came out with HSK 6 certificates!

Here is an insight into their stories.

  • Anthea came to China for 12 months with zero knowledge and a year later, went home to Germany with a HSK 6 certificate!
  • Emma had planned to study with LTL in Chengde but sadly that all changed in 2020. Rather than put her plan to bed, she knuckled down for 12 months of online study and came away with an amazing HSK 6 pass!

Who knows, maybe they’ll go a step further and go full steam ahead for the HSK 7, 8 and 9!

NEW HSK || Tips

Lex The Lion - Teaching Stick

Our top tip to you is not to worry!

The new exam system is good for beginners and definitely a challenge for any advanced learner.

Although your current level will be most likely downgraded due to this new system, the good thing is that you can still aim for HSK 6.

Unless you intend to specialize in Sinology or otherwise, this level is probably enough to get you where you want to be!

FUN FACT – Did you know LTL students have a 98% pass rate when taking the HSK Exam. We genuinely know how to get you passing with flying colours.

If you want to take the perfect preparation course for your HSK Exam, drop us a message.

Here at LTL, we offer HSK classes both online and offline.


BONUS || NEW HSK QUIZ

Welcome to our brand New HSK Quiz!

PLEASE NOTE - this is not an official HSK 7-9 quiz. This is simply a list of 50 words taken from the NEW HSK Syllabus.

These words are listed as being part of the HSK 7, 8 and 9 levels but to date, there is no breakdown as to which word is in which level. When we discover this, we will update the quiz!

Your score does not define your HSK level, but is simply a rough idea of how well you know the vocabulary for the new HSK 7, 8 and 9 levels.

Enter your First name and email to begin. Results are immediate and don't worry, if you don't know the answer to any, just guess, or you can even leave blank if you wish.

If you get any wrong, we'll tell you the correct answer when you submit the quiz.

First Name
Email

New HSK || FAQ’s

When is the first “new HSK” exam?

As mentioned above, we now know that the first new HSK exam will be held on November 26th 2022.

This exam is in the form of a home exam meaning you will not need to travel to a test centre, but instead take the exam at home.

This exam is in the form of five parts

– Listening

– Speaking

– Reading

– Writing

– Translation

NOTE | Translation is divided into interpretation and translation, both of which are translated from foreign languages into Chinese.

The exam is divided into two sessions in the morning and afternoon, with a 10 minute rest in the morning.

When was the New HSK announced?

May 21st 2020 on the Official HSK Twitter account.

What are the main differences between the old and the new HSK?

The two main differences are as follows:

The old/current HSK has 6 levels and the new HSK has 9.

The old/current HSK tests up to 5,000 words, whereas the new HSK requires you to know over 11,000

Will there be a new HSKK exam?

There has been an announcement regarding new measures for the HSKK:

“Starting from next year, 2022, all overseas HSK3 to HSK6 test takers are required to take both HSK and HSK Oral Test.” More details here.

HSKK is the spoken version of the HSK.

You can find out more about the differences between the HSK and the HSKK here.

Will the HSK Exams change in 2022?

There will be no changes to the HSK Exams in 2022.

In fact, new versions of HSK Exams for 1-6 will most likely be released in 2023-24 and the rollout is expected to take a couple of years so the process remains a lengthy one.

Will the HSK textbooks change in 2022?

The textbooks will change, but not for some time yet.

HSK confirmed this with the following statement:

“The textbooks and courses compiled and developed according to HSK 1-6 levels can still be used. In the next 3-5 years, HSK 1-6 levels will be gradually adjusted according to the “Standards” and the actual conditions of Chinese learners in various countries.”

Will my current HSK Exam results remain valid?

Yes and we have a direct quote from HSK to also back this up, which states:

“The currently implemented HSK 1-6 levels will not be adjusted in the near future, and the test effectiveness, test content, reference vocabulary and test format will remain unchanged and will continue to be implemented stably. The scores of candidates participating in HSK 1-6 levels are still valid, and the validity of the certificates already obtained remains unchanged. “

Therefore there is no need to worry if you need these to apply for a Chinese university or job for example.

How many words to pass the highest (new) HSK level?

The highest level of HSK you can pass with the new system is HSK 9 and this requires knowing a huge 11,092 words, more than double the current highest level (HSK6).

How is the New HSK broken down exactly?

The New HSK consists of these four elements:

Syllables – 1,110 in total

Chinese characters – 3,000 in total

Vocabulary – Total is 11,092

Grammar – Total of 572 items

Will I have to buy new HSK textbooks?

Not for the near future.

HSK stated the current textbooks will remain in place for another 3-5 years.

How can I improve my Chinese while waiting for further announcements?

We would you recommend you do this while you wait!

Check out our online immersion and free HSK quizzes to expand your Chinese.

Also be sure to check our blogs on how to self-learn Chinese or you could always book classes with LTL.

How do you say HSK in Chinese?

汉语水平考试 (hànyǔ shuǐpíng kǎoshì)

Will I be notified if further news on this is announced?

Of course.

Keep checking this blog for further updates on the New HSK and subscribe to our newsletter.

Want more from LTL?

Want to learn Chinese from the comfort of you own home? Then our 24/7 Online Chinese lessons might be the thing for you.

We offer a 7 day free trial to all new online students where you can study Mandarin 24/7.

Come and check it out free of charge and see what you think!

If you wish to hear more from LTL Mandarin School why not join our mailing list.

.
Ask us a question!
  • LTL Avatar Alexander Krasnov
    Alexander Krasnov , Student Advisor

    Welcome to LTL Language School

    How can I help you?