What Is the HSK Exam? – A Blog To Explain It All!

This week we will be embarking on a new blog series completely focused on the HSK exams and certifications.

The Oriental Dialogue, India’s premier Chinese language institution has a track record of producing students who have cleared various HSK levels with flying colours. 

As we begin a new year, a new decade, we decided to introduce and acquaint our readers to the HSK exams, the syllabus, the exam pattern and how to study for each level. In this blog, we will be discussing the basics of the HSK exam, the number of levels, the syllabus and so on. 

What Is The HSK Exam? 

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. 

The HSK exams fall under Hanban – a department under the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. The HSK exams have been designed on the basis of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF) which means they are similar to German or French exams for foreigners. 

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How Many Levels Does HSK have? 

The HSK exams have a total of 6 levels. When a non-native speaker completes the sixth level their command and mastery over Mandarin is the same as a native speaker! 

With each level, the students learn new vocabulary and characters (known as hànzì – 汉字) in Mandarin.

The students also learn new word structures, grammar patterns that increases their range of communication on different topics. As they go forward, they will become more comfortable about discussing everything from the weather to the business with a local Chinese citizen. 

What Is The Format Of The HSK Exam? 

HSK exams are created to test the student’s ability to understand Mandarin (spoken and written), to retain large amounts of vocabulary (reading and writing) and to communicate effectively (spoken and written) in Mandarin. 

At HSK-1 and HSK-2 level, the student is tested only on the listening and reading ability. These two levels are elementary levels and the exam is a Multiple Choice/Objective exam. HSK-1 and HSK-2 are considered to be the easiest exams in the whole spectrum. 

HSK-3 onwards Hanban tests students on reading, writing, listening and speaking ability. These tests require sincere efforts and love for the language to score well. Students who prepare for HSK-3-6 are able to communicate in Mandarin about routine activities and also express their thoughts and feelings in an informal setting. 

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Can I Give HSK Exams In India? 

Of course! The HSK exams are for Chinese language students who reside overseas. Hence, HSK exam centres are located all over the world. India has 10 HSK exam centres with Mumbai, and Delhi featuring prominently on the list. 

These exam centres are well-equipped for all HSK levels. You are free to choose any exam centre that is convenient for you. 

When Are The HSK Exams Conducted? 

HSK exams are conducted every month globally. The Official HSK website hosts the details of the schedule, centres, timings and exam results. All you need to do is sign up and register. 

How Difficult Is The HSK Exam? 

Okay, first off we would like to take this opportunity to clarify that Mandarin is not as difficult as it is made out to be. Hence, the HSK exams are also not as difficult as you might imagine. But that does not mean that passing HSK exams are a cakewalk. 

Studying Mandarin requires sincerity, dedication and hard work! But doesn’t this apply to any other language or skill as well? 

So, we at The Oriental Dialogue advise you not to think of the difficulty level of the exam instead think of the joy of adding a whole new skill to your resume or even life for that matter! 

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Is The HSK Certification Valid For Education Or Employment In China? 

Yes! HSK certifications are highly-coveted by foreigners who are looking for jobs or education opportunities in Mainland China. Chinese companies and Chinese Universities recognize HSK certifications because they are issued by the Government of China. 

So when you pass HSK exams you are opening yourself for better educational and career opportunities. 

Given below are the HSK standards and corresponding points for a work visa in China.

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Where Can I Learn Chinese For HSK? 

The Chinese language is not something that can be self-taught. It needs a good teacher, great study material and constant evaluation before you give the HSK exam. 

The Oriental Dialogue is a fabulous place to learn Chinese and prepare for HSK because we have designed our syllabus in-line with the HSK test. Our faculties are HSK certified and fluent in spoken and written Chinese. We have unit wise tests, ample reading, writing and oral practice for every level. Our batches are flexible and even have the option of virtual classrooms. Check out our schedule here.

In the next blog, we will be sharing our knowledge on the HSK-1 exam with you. As the series progresses we will cover every level that HSK offers and tell you about the opportunities each level opens up for the student. 

Thank you for reading this blog!