HSK / 汉语水平考试

What Is HSK?

HSK (汉语水平考试 / Hànyǔ shuǐpíng kǎoshì) is the People's Republic of China's standardised Chinese proficiency test. For general information about the test, see Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (on Wikipedia) and Hanban's website.
HSK was revised in 2010. See the Comparison of New and Old HSK Test for a basic overview of similarity and differences.

Some test centres offer computer-based tests for HSK levels 4, 5 and 6. If you decide to take a compter-based HSK test, make sure you find out in advance what input method will be used on the computer (so you can familiarise yourself with it in advnace) and, if you are not used to read Chinese texts in a variety of font faces, which font face will be used to display text. See the question What's the format of official “online” HSK tests? on Chinese Language Stack Exchange.


Hanban's correspondence table for HSK levels and CEFR levels is misleading. (See the table on Hanban's HSK page.) The following table compares Hanban's claimed levels and those defined by the Association of Teachers of Chinese in German Speaking Countries (Fachverband Chinesisch or FaCh).

HSK Level Required vocabulary CEFR (Hanban) Actual CEFR (FaCh)
HSK 1 150 words (pinyin) A1 -
HSK 2 300 words (pinyin) A2 A1.1
HSK 3 600 words B1 A1
HSK 4 1200 words B2 A2
HSK 5 2500 words C1 B1
HSK 6 over 5000 words C2 B2

Vocabulary for HSK

Vocabulary lists are the type of resource that is easiest to find on the Web. The list below is just a sample; most of these resources assume English as the “source language”, whereas others assume French or German.

Below is a list of resources for learners of Chinese with a background in programming.

Grammar for HSK

Most grammar books for learners of Chinese provide no information on the HSK level they are relevant to. Grammar books that focus on the grammar required for the HSK tests are still quite rare.

Listening Skills for HSK

Listening Skills for HSK 4

General HSK Preparation Materials

General Tips for HSK

HSK 3.0