How To Crack The HSK 1 Exam

We began a series on the most important exam for Mandarin/Chinese language students – HSK. The HSK exam is a Chinese language proficiency test designed, conducted and certified by the Government of China for non-native Chinese speakers. HSK stands for Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì (汉语水平考试) which literally translates to Chinese Proficiency Test. It has different levels to measure the exam taker’s ability of reading, writing and speaking in Chinese. 


In our previous blog – What Is the HSK Exam? – A Blog To Explain It All!  we shared the fundamentals of these exams. We spoke about the certification and answered FAQs surrounding HSK. In this blog, we want to focus only on the first level of the HSK exam.  We will outline the syllabus of HSK 1, the pattern of the HSK 1 exam and study tips to help you crack HSK 1. 

What Is The Syllabus Of HSK 1? 

Now, HSK 1 is the first exam in the HSK certifications. This exam is designed for students who have just started learning Chinese. It is an elementary level exam which tests only the basics of Mandarin. 

The students are expected to know 150 commonly used words and basic grammar patterns. They are tested on their reading and listening ability. The test verifies whether or not the student can understand and use simple Chinese phrases and communicate in small, easy sentences. 


What Is The Exam Pattern For HSK 1? 

The Chinese government conducts the HSK exam all over the world. India also has recognized exam centres in all major cities. These exam centres conduct HSK 1 exam every month for students. 

The exam in India is paper-pencil based. HSK 1 can also be attempted via a computer, but unfortunately, this facility is not available in Indian exam centres. 

HSK 1 is an objective type exam divided into 2 parts. The total time of the exam is 40 minutes. 

The two parts are – 

  1. Listening (100 marks)
  2. Reading (100 marks)


The student has to attempt both sections to pass the exam. 

More details about the Listening and Reading sections – 



  • Listening 


The supervisor of the exam is tasked with playing the recordings of the Listening section. Every item on the recording has to be played twice. Students are expected to pay close attention to the recordings and then choose the right answer based on the recordings. The student’s concentration and listening ability will determine their score in the listening section. 



  • Reading


The reading section is not dependent on the supervisor or recordings. It is an independent section where the student is given pictures, phrases and sentences with 4 options. The student is expected to calmly go through each question and choose the right answer. This section tests the student’s ability to read pinyin and understanding of Chinese sentence construction. 



How To Prepare For HSK 1 Exam? 

As we have mentioned earlier HSK 1 is only an elementary level exam, hence it is not very tough. But at the same time, it is not an exam that should be taken lightly by the student. Good preparation and sincere efforts can let students score full marks in the exam. 

The Oriental Dialogue, India’s premier Chinese language institution conducts batches of Beginners + Level 1 that cover the entire portion of HSK 1 exam. We teach our students all the key grammar patterns and sentence construction in class. Our students practice all the characters as per vocabulary list in pinyin and hanzi. TOD also ensures lots of listening and reading practice throughout the batch period. 

Apart from this, an important aspect when preparing for the HSK 1 exam is solving the papers of previous exams. Students who solve multiple papers are known to score higher in the exam. We encourage our students to attempt previous papers multiple times so that they get used to the exam pattern and their mind can respond quickly during the actual exam. 

  We will continue to educate you on the next HSK exams as this series moves forward. Until then if you have any doubts or queries, leave us a comment below.