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Chinese Proficiency Test ( Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi or HSK)

Contents

       1. What is the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK)?

       2. The host organization of the HSK

       3. Institutions for designing and developing the HSK

       4. Countries conducting the HSK

       5. The usage of the results of the HSK

       6. The examinees of the HSK

       7. The contents of the HSK

       8. The test results, grade level certificates and grade level criterion

       9. Test dates of HSK

       10. The scholarships available for HSK high scorers

       11. More information about the HSK

 

1. What is the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK)?

      The Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) is a series test to assess the Chinese language proficiency of non-native speakers. It assesses the examinees' ability to use the Chinese language in communicative activities and understanding in the environment of studying in educational institutions, enterprises and other organizations. The HSK is the abbreviation of Chinese pinyin: Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi.

      The HSK consists of HSK (basic), HSK (elementary-intermediate), HSK (advanced), HSK (for young learners), HSK (for business), HSK (for secretaries), HSK (for tourism). the HSK can fulfill the needs of testing and evaluating Chinese language proficiency in world wide.

      The HSK (basic), HSK (elementary-intermediate) and HSK (advanced) are connected on the degree levels. they serve as the examination and evaluation for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners of the Chinese language. they also provide the testing reference to the relating educational institutions and certain organizations. The HSK (for young learners) is mainly for the young Chinese language learners under the age of 15. the HSK (for business), HSK (for secretaries) and HSK (for tourism) are formed as the vocational Chinese proficiency test, which serves for the related organizations to provide testing reference for the process of policy making when enrolling, selecting and training personnel.

      The HSK (basic), HSK (elementary-intermediate) and HSK (advanced) are primary tests. the HSK (for young learners), HSK (for business), HSK (for secretaries) and HSK (for tourism) are secondary or branch tests. branch tests are the new tests designed and developed from the basis of the main tests, in order to accommodate to the needs of the development of the Chinese language in the world and fulfill the needs of various groups of examinees. The main tests and branch tests are either related or independent. they complement each other. each test is designed and developed under the fixed standard of the HSK.

     With the development and practice of 20 years, the HSK has become a predominant test of bright characteristics. The HSK test has become the first choice of Chinese proficiency adopted by many groups and users worldwide. By the end of 2003, more than 300,000 overseas examinees had taken HSK.

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2. The host organization of HSK

      The Chinese ministry of education has established the state committee for the Chinese proficiency test (SCCPT). the committee fully supervises the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) and is the host organization inside and outside of China.

      SCCPT has set up an office, which is called the office of the state committee for the Chinese proficiency test (OSCCPT), located at the department of testing, China national office for teaching Chinese as a foreign language.

      In order to accommodate to the needs of the development, the SCCPT decided to set up the HSK designing and developing center and the HSK testing administration center (located at beijing language and culture university). The HSK testing administration center will be responsible for the specific routine work of the Chinese proficiency test inside and outside of China.

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3. Institutions for designing and developing the HSK

      In 1984, the Chinese ministry of education entrusted the beijing languages institute (now, beijing language and culture university) to design and develop the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK). In 1990, the HSK was appraised and officially put into practice inside and outside of China.

      In 2002, the SCCPT entrusted Nanjing Normal university to design and develop the HSK (for young learners), entrusted Peking University to design and develop the HSK (for business), entrusted capital normal university to design and develop the HSK (for secretaries) and entrusted shanghai teachers' university to design and develop the HSK (for tourism).

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4. Countries of conducting the HSK

      Since HSK was officially put into practice, it has been set up in 140 testing centers in 34 countries or the world. these countries are: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Russia, France, Philippines, Finland, Korea, Holland, Canada, Czech Republic, Malaysia, United States, Mongolia, Burma, Mexico, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, Serbia and Montenegro, Thailand, Ukraine, Spain, Singapore, New Zealand, Hungary, Italy, Indonesia, united kingdom, Vietnam and China.

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5. the usage of the results of the HSK

      A person, with minimum passing score in each level, will get a "Chinese proficiency certificate" for that level issued by the state committee for the Chinese proficiency test.

    5.1. A person, with a "Chinese proficiency certificate" qualified above HSK level 3 (HSK basic a or HSK elementary c), can attend higher institutions of education in China for he or she also courses in science, engineering, agriculture and western medicine; can take the test of HSK (for business), HSK (for secretaries) and/or HSK (for tourism).

    5.2. A person, with a "Chinese proficiency certificate" qualified above the HSK level 6, can attend the higher institutions of education in China for courses in literature, history and Chinese medicine.

    5.3. A person, with a "Chinese proficiency certificate" qualified above HSK level 9 can attend the higher institutions of education in China to take courses for post-graduates.

    5.4. A person, with a "Chinese proficiency certificate" qualified for HSK basic, elementary, intermediate and advanced level, can be exempt from attending the corresponding Chinese courses and can apply for jobs in various organizations of the world, which need working personnel with Chinese language proficiency.

    5.5. The "Chinese proficiency certificate" qualified for HSK (for young learners) can be a proving-test to test the examinees' Chinese language level and communicative ability, can test the results of the Chinese language teaching in a school and can be the enrollment reference for the examinees who wish to study in China.

    5.6. A person, with a "Chinese proficiency certificate" qualified for HSK (for business), HSK (for secretaries) and/or HSK (for tourism), can be exempt from attending the corresponding Chinese courses and can apply for jobs to various organizations of the world, which need working personnel with Chinese language proficiency.

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6. The examinees of HSK

      The examinees of HSK are those whose first language is not the Chinese language.

     6.1. The HSK (basic) is appropriate for those beginners who have had 100-800 hours of formal education in modern Chinese, and have a basic vocabulary of 400-3,000 common Chinese characters (at the a and b levels), and who understand the corresponding Chinese grammar structures (at the a and b levels).

    6.2. The HSK (Elementary-Intermediate) is appropriate for elementary and intermediate students of Chinese who have had 400-2,000 hours of formal education in modern Chinese, have a basic vocabulary of 2,000-5,000 common Chinese characters (at the a, b and c levels), and who understand the corresponding Chinese grammar structure (at the a, b and c levels).

     6.3. The HSK (Advanced) is appropriate for advanced students of Chinese who have had 3,000 hours of formal education in modern Chinese, have a basic vocabulary of 5,000-8,000 common Chinese characters (at the a, b, c and d levels), and who understand the corresponding Chinese grammar structure (at the a, b, c and d levels).

    6.4. The HSK (for young learners) is appropriate for young learners of Chinese under the age of 15. level 1 is appropriate for those who have had 150 hours of learning Chinese; level 2 is appropriate for those who have had 250 hours of learning Chinese; and level 3 is appropriate for those who have had 400 hours of learning Chinese.

    6.5. The HSK (for business), HSK (for secretaries) and HSK (for tourism) are appropriate for those who hold a HSK level 3 (HSK basic a or HSK elementary c) or above that level.

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7. The contents of HSK

7.1. HSK (basic)

Test Contents

Test items

Item Numbers

Test Duration

Listening comprehension

listening 1

15

50

about 35 minutes

listening 2

15

listening 3

20

Grammatical structure

grammar 1

20

40

40 minutes

grammar 2

20

Reading comprehension

reading 1

20

50

60 minutes

reading 2

30

Total

 

140

about 135 minutes 

7.2. HSK (elementary-intermediate)

Test contents

Item numbers

Item proportion

Test duration

Listening comprehension

50

29.4%

about 35 minutes

Grammatical structure

30

17.7%

20 minutes

Reading comprehension

50

29.4%

60 minutes

Cloze test

40

23.5%

30 minutes

Total

170

 

about 145 minutes

7.3. HSK (advanced)

Tests

Test items

Item numbers

Test duration

Objective test

listening comprehension

40

about 25 minutes

reading comprehension

40

40 minutes

comprehensive expression

40

40 minutes

total

120

about 105 minutes

Subjective test

writing

1(400-600 words)

30 minutes

oral test

10 minute recording

10 minutes preparation,10 minutes test,total 20 minutes

Total

 

50 minutes

Total

 

about 155 minutes

7.4. HSK (young learners)

level 1

Test contents

Item numbers

Test duration

Listening

22

about 12 minutes

Reading

30

22 minutes

Writing

18

16 minutes

Total

70

about 50 minutes

Oral

5

7 minutes

level 2

Test contents

Item numbers

Test duration

Listening

21

about 15minutes

Reading

41

35 minutes

Writing

13

20 minutes

Total

75

about 70 minutes

Oral

7

8 minutes

level 3

Test contents

Item numbers

Test duration

Listening

25

about 20 minutes

Reading

50

40 minutes

Writing

5

30 minutes

Total

80

about 90 minutes

Oral

7

10 minutes

Notes: HSK (young learners) oral test will be divided into stages and batches.

7.5. HSK (business)

Test contents

Item numbers

Test duration

Objective test

Listening

50

about 40 minutes

Reading (including some cloze test and simple questions)

50

55 minutes

Subjective test

Oral

3

5 minutes preparation,10 minutes recording,total 15 minutes

Writing

2

40 minutes

Total

105

about 150

7.6. HSK (for secretaries)

Test contents

Item numbers

Test duration

Objective test

Listening

33

about 38 minutes

Reading and Language knowledge

47

55 minutes

Subjective test

Writing

2

40 minutes

Oral

2

about 17 minutes

Total

84

about 150 minutes

7.7. HSK (for tourism)

Test Contents

Item numbers

Test duration

Objective test

Listening (including some writing questions after listening)

50

about 40 minutes

Reading (including some written answers to questions after reading)

45

50 minutes

Subjective test

Writing

2

45 minutes

Oral

2

15 minutes

Total

99

about 150 minutes

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8. The test results, grades of certificates and grade criterion

    8.1. HSK (basic), HSK (elementary-intermediate) and HSK (advanced) are connected on the grade levels. the corresponding relations between the test results and the certificates are as follows:

HSK (basic)

Types and grades

Grade levels

Score range

Types

Grades

Basic level

c

level 1

100-154

b

level 2

155-209

a

level 3

210-300

HSK (elementary-intermediate)

Types and grades

Grade levels

Score range

Types

Grades

Elementary level

c

3

152-188

b

4

189-225

a

5

226-262

Intermediate level

c

6

263-299

b

7

300-336

a

8

337-400

HSK(advanced)

Types and gTrades

Score Levels

Score range

Types

Trades

listening

reading

cloze

writing

oral

total

 

 

bottom line *

46-57

42-53

42-53

46-57

44-55

220-279

Advanced level

c

level 9

58-69

54-65

54-65

58-69

56-67

280-339

b

level 10

70-81

66-77

66-77

70-81

68-79

340-399

a

level 11

82-100

78-100

78-100

82-100

80-100

400-500

HSK (basic) grade criterion is as follows:

    level 1: has basic competence (low) in Chinese; can understand simple sentences; can express simple ideas; can handle basic language communication in daily life and study. any one who has a mastery of about 600 common Chinese characters and certain rules of grammar can achieve this standard which is also the standard for obtaining the Chinese proficiency certificate of HSK basic grade c.

    level 2: has basic competence (mid) in Chinese; can partially satisfy the requirements for basic daily life, a certain range of social communication and a certain degree of study. level 2 is the standard for obtaining the Chinese proficiency certificate of HSK basic grade b.

    level 3: has basic competence (high) in Chinese. level 3 is the minimum level in Chinese proficiency for a candidate to be admitted to a college or university in China as an undergraduate student in the field of science, engineering, agriculture, or western medicine as well as the standard for obtaining the Chinese proficiency certificate of HSK basic grade a, which is equivalent to grade c of HSK elementary.

HSK (elementary-intermediate) grade criterion is as follows:

    level 3: has basic (low) competence in Chinese. a person reaching this level can gain the Chinese proficiency certificate of HSK elementary grade c. level 3, which is prescribed by the ministry of education, is the minimum level in Chinese proficiency for an overseas student to be admitted to a college or university in China as an undergraduate student in the field of science, engineering, agriculture or western medicine.

    level 4: has basic (mid) competence in Chinese and can gain the Chinese proficiency certificate of HSK elementary grade b.

    level 5: has basic (high) competence in Chinese and can gain the Chinese proficiency certificate of HSK elementary grade a.

    level 6: has intermediate (low) competence in Chinese. a person reaching this level can gain the Chinese proficiency certificate of HSK intermediate grade c. level 6, which is prescribed by the ministry of education, is the minimum level in Chinese proficiency for an overseas student to be admitted to a college or university in China as an undergraduate student in the fields of Chinese literature, history or Chinese medicine.

    level 7: has intermediate (mid) competence in Chinese and can gain the Chinese proficiency certificate of HSK intermediate grade b.

    level 8: has intermediate (high) competence in Chinese and can gain the Chinese proficiency certificate of HSK intermediate grade a.

HSK (advanced) grade criterion is as follows:

    level 9: has advanced (low) competence in Chinese. this is also the requirement (low) for a candidate to use Chinese as a communicative tool in ordinary work. this standard is the standard for obtaining the Chinese proficiency certificate of HSK advanced grade c.

    level 10: has advanced (mid) competence in Chinese. this is also the requirement (mid) for a candidate to use Chinese as a communicative tool in ordinary work. this standard is the standard for obtaining the Chinese proficiency certificate of HSK advanced grade b.

    level 11: has advanced (high) competence in Chinese. this is also the requirement (high) for a candidate to use Chinese as a communicative tool in ordinary work. this can be counted as intermediate level of translation abilities as well. this standard is the standard for obtaining the Chinese proficiency certificate of HSK advanced grade a.

8.2. Certificates of HSK (young learners)

       Examinees can gain a certain grade of certificates if they pass the corresponding tests. The test results will be expressed by the different numbers of panda symbols which represent the corresponding standard of grades: one panda represents grade c (pass), two pandas represent grade b (good), three pandas represent grade a (excellent). The total score is 100. the corresponding relations between the test results and the certificates are as follows:

HSK (for young learners) grades a, b, c

Scores

Grades

Certificates

86—100

a

3 pandas

70—85

b

2 pandas

45—69

c

1 panda

below 44

f

none

HSK (Younger Learners) grade criterion is as follows:

    level 1: can understand the simplest words and phrases, sentences and daily conversations; can use Chinese in the simplest communicative activities.

    level 2: can understand the simple sentences and daily conversation; can use Chinese in the simple communicative activities.

    level 3: can understand short conversations and talks; can use Chinese in the ordinary communicative activities.

8.3. HSK vocational Chinese proficiency tests

      The HSK vocational Chinese proficiency test, that is the HSK (for business), HSK (for secretaries) and HSK (for tourism) stick to test into the examinees' communicative competence in the activities of business, secretarial work, tourism, daily life and society. These three tests belong to the Chinese proficiency test category. They are not tests of the professional knowledge of business, secretaries and tourist personnel.

      Each of these three tests includes 4 subtests, which are for listening, reading, writing and speaking. The total score for each subtest is 100 and the total score for each test is 400. The corresponding relations between the test results and the certificates are as follows:

HSK(Business)、HSK(Secretaries)、HSK(Tourism)

Scores

Grades

0-80

level 1(no certificate)

81-160

level 2

161-240

level 3

241-320

level 4

321-400

level 5

     Each examinee can get a test report if he/she follows the requirements of the tests of HSK (for business), HSK (for secretaries) and HSK (for tourism). One who reaches the passing standard can gain the Chinese proficiency certificate for the corresponding levels 5, 4, 3 and 2 for HSK (for business), HSK (for secretaries) and HSK (for tourism). there is no level 1 certificate.

HSK vocational Chinese proficiency test grade criteria is as follows:

    level 1: has no competence in Chinese to be engaged in the work of business (secretarial and tourism).

    level 2: can use some simple Chinese in limited communicative activities in the work of business including secretarial and tourism.

    level 3: can use Chinese efficiently in the work of business including secretarial and tourism.

    level 4: can use Chinese proficiently in the work of business including secretarial and tourism.

    level 5: can use Chinese freely and appropriately in the work of business including secretarial and tourism.

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9. Test dates of HSK

      The HSK (basic), HSK (elementary-intermediate) and HSK (advanced) will be held regularly inside and outside of China every year.

      The HSK (for young learners) will be first held in some countries at the end of year 2004. The HSK (for business), HSK (for secretaries) and HSK (for tourism) will be first held inside and outside of China at the first half year of 2005. these tests are to be held regularly each year.

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10. The scholarships available for HSK high scorers

      Do you want to come to study in China? do you want to have a look at China in person? please take the HSK.

      The Chinese government and national office for teaching Chinese as a foreign language has set up HSK winner scholarships and Chinese bridge scholarship for those examinees who have gained excellent results in the Chinese tests. The scholarships are, respectively, for one academic year, one term or one month.

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11. More information about HSK

More information can be found in the following websites.

http://www.hanban.edu.cn (to search for HSK testing information.)

http://www.HSK.org.cn (to search for HSK (basic), HSK (elementary-intermediate), HSK (advanced) and corresponding information.)

http://www.HSKse.cn [to search for HSK (for young learners) and corresponding information.

http://www.HSKsw.cn [to search for HSK (for business) and corresponding information.

http://www.HSKwm.cn [to search for HSK (for secretaries) and corresponding information.

http://www.HSKly.cn [to search for HSK (for tourism) and corresponding information.

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