All About Chinese HSK Test 2024

Do you want to check your accurate Chinese language skills? If so, take the HSK 2024 test, the most popular Mandarin exam.

HSK test

How good is your Chinese language? If you’re studying for a while or wish to start soon, you might know of the HSK test.

In the past few years, there has been a surge in demand for the Chinese language. This has increased the popularity of HSK, the most popular Mandarin exam.

This Mandarin test is ideal for measuring your knowledge and identifying your level, helping you learn and improve before moving to the next level.

In this post, you can discover everything, from dates, centers, test structure, fees, question format, scoring system, how to prepare, and much more.

So, let’s get the ball rolling!

What is the HSK test?

HSK is the abbreviation of Hanyu (Chinese), Shuiping (Level), and Kaoshi (test). Thus, this refers to the “Chinese Level Test.”

The HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi / 汉语水平考试) is a standardized test for non-Chinese speakers to certify their Mandarin language skills.

The overseas Chinese and national minorities in China are also eligible to take the exam.

HSK exam

Who conducts the exam?

The Center for Language Education and Cooperation (CLEC) administers the HSK test worldwide. It operates under the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Education (MOE).

CLEC is a non-profit government institution that promotes Chinese language education and conducts various Mandarin tests globally, like CTCSOL and HSK.

They also manage over 500 Confucius Institutes in several countries and run flagship programs like “Chinese Bridge,” teacher training, and scholarships.

They also foster study in China and student exchange initiatives.

Hanban is the former name. However, because of controversy concerning how it functions, it changed its name to CLEC in July 2020.

Recognition of HSK worldwide

HSK came into existence in 1984, and in 1991, they conducted the first HSK exam outside China. Since then, it has become the world’s most famous Mandarin language ability test for non-native Chinese.

The Chinese Government institutions award and officially recognize different variants of HSK.

And that is the number one reason nearly all government organizations, businesses, and public and private educational institutions accept and trust HSK certification.

Advantages of the HSK examination

There are many benefits associated with the HSK test. Here are some well-known ones.

1. Know your precise proficiency level

Do you fancy knowing how good you are at the Chinese language?

HSK can help you identify your current Mandarin proficiency.

If you’ve been studying Chinese for a while, you naturally want to confirm your current language expertise.

In that case, the HSK score gives you a well-defined competency level. That’s a tremendous confidence booster.

You will also recognize your shortcomings. And this can encourage you to concentrate on those parts that need extra attention. These all can empower you to prepare better for the forthcoming HSK examination.

2. Study & Work in China

Do you wish to study or find post-study work in China?

HSK is a prerequisite for most Chinese organizations.

While the requirements differ, HSK can add significant value to your profile while applying to Chinese universities and companies.

In most cases, you might need to pass a specific HSK level from 3 to 6.

Benefits of HSK

Most Chinese colleges and academies ask for HSK scores for undergraduates and postgraduate admissions process for international students.

This is also beneficial as proof of language ability for employment applications in China.

3. The career advancement

The ability to speak Chinese is an added benefit for anyone looking for careers requiring the Chinese language across the globe.

Suppose you’re applying for a job in any company that deals with Chinese people or businesses. In that situation, the HSK diploma can be a valuable asset to your C.V.

The documentary evidence, including other qualifications, will put you on your way to a successful interview process.

4. An opportunity to get scholarships

China provides many scholarships, allowances, grants, and fellowships to meriting students from different nations, and HSK exam marks are necessary for several.

This scholarship comprises a monthly allowance and other incentives throughout your stay in China. So you can get a quality education that is pocket-friendly or almost free, which is not something you’d like to miss.

China offers 100’s scholarships ranging from the Chinese Government Scholarship (CSC) to various local government, enterprise, and university ones.

An understanding of the Chinese language is not compulsory for many such programs.

This mainly depends on your academic performance, courses, and overall profile. However, it can increase the possibility of your receiving these scholarships.

5. This will help you understand China

Language and culture are interconnected and profoundly rooted.

When you learn a new foreign language, you also acknowledge and better understand the country’s culture and traditions where it originated.

You cannot pass the higher level of HSK without studying the cultural aspects. And this is how HSK can assist you in appreciating Chinese society, history, and customs.

This awareness can support you with a comfortable stay in the country. It also strengthens your chances to migrate to one of the Chinese-speaking regions.

Specialized HSK Examination

There are two primary varieties of HSK exams. The standard HSK has one test. In contrast, there are four specialized exams for different purposes.

Let’s find everything.

Chinese proficiency test

1. HSK Speaking Test (HSKK)

HSSK (the HSK speaking test) evaluates a candidate’s verbal aptitude.

HSKK includes three sublevels — Primary, Intermediate, and Advanced. All three levels comprise three sections, i.e., listen and repeat, picture description, and answer the question.

They organize the HSKK test in the mode of audio recording. This judges your pronunciation, tonal ability, flow, and overall fluency in the language.

The advanced level is comparable to the C level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

The maximum mark is 100, and one needs a minimum of 60 to pass the examination. The validity is for two years from the result announcement date.

As this is only oral, you can take this along with other Chinese proficiency tests. During the interaction, they also record the candidate’s speech.

2. Youth Chinese Test (YCT)

The new Youth Chinese Test is for young school-going students whose mother tongue is not Chinese.

YCT measures the test takers’ skills to express themselves in day-to-day activities, academic goals, and professional experiences.

The test structure has two independent tests — a written and an oral examination.

The writing contains four levels (I, II, III, and IV), whereas the speaking has two (beginner and intermediate).

After clearing the test, you will get the result within three weeks.

3. Business Chinese Test (BCT)

Peking University designed BCT as per the direction of the office of the Chinese Language Council International.

Business Chinese Test evaluates candidates’ knowledge of Mandarin in business, daily communication, professions, or everyday working settings.

BCT has two independent tests: BCT (listening & reading) and BCT (speaking & writing). You can take either or both at the same time.

Each specific skill score (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) is 0-500 and 100 for each level.

They have also recently introduced two forms of tests, i.e., paper-based and computer-based.

The written examination has two levels — BCT (A) and BCT (B). There is no minimum or maximum age limit, and the score expires in 2 years.

4. Medical Chinese Test (MCT)

Do you aspire to pursue an MBBS in China?

Then, take the Medical Chinese Test. They will conduct the 2024 test in May and November.

MCT is for foreigners who want to study medicine or non-medical fields like clinical diagnosis and other related practitioners in China.

They designed MCT to evaluate the candidate’s familiarity with interacting in Mandarin with patients, doctors, nurses, medical personnel, and hospital staff.

MCT comprises three components: reading, listening, and writing. The score you earn determines your language capability.

You must also learn hundreds of words and terminology related to the medicine and pharmaceutical domain.

Everything About Standard HSK

Let’s discover everything linked with the HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi).

What are the HSK levels?

The HSK test comprises six independent levels: I, II, III, IV, V, and VI.

The HSK 1 and 2 includes include writing and reading skills. HSK 4, 5, and 6 have writing, reading, and listening.

There is no speaking section. Thus, to check your speaking skills, take HSKK. The HSK oral test has three sublevels:

  • (i) HSK (Elementary),
  • (ii) HSK (Intermediate), and
  • (iii) HSK (Advanced).

The new HSK levels

In May 2020, the Chinese Testing International (CTI) announced that they are changing the present six levels into “three stages and nine sublevels.” in the future.

HSK levels

They changed the existing HSK test structure to bring it closer to par with CEFR. The new format will look pretty much like the below:

  • HSK 1, 2, and 3 — Beginners, like A1 and A2.
  • HSK 4, 5, and 6 — Intermediate, like B1 and B2, and
  • HSK 7, 8, and 9 — Advanced, like C1 and C2.

The beginners consist of 3 levels: beginners, elementary, and pre-intermediate. HSK 3 will be close to A2. Similarly, HSK 6 and HSK 9 will look on par with B2 and C2.

The difficulty level, passing mark, cumulative vocabulary, and composition will also change.

One significant difference would be the number of words. For example, the highest level would cover over 10,000 vocabularies instead of an existing 5,000. This is necessary to keep it at par with near-native level C2 of CERF.

I’ll update you when they update with additional information.

Test structure and syllabus

While most questions are MCQs (Multiple choice or True/False), they are subjective, too, at the higher levels.

Let’s determine the specific level outline, the required number of words, and the test duration.

HSK LevelsDescriptionTest DurationTotal Words Required
HSK1HSK level 1 is the first and easiest level. You will understand simple Chinese phrases, greetings, beginner vocabulary, grammar, and straightforward sentence formation required for communicating as a novice learner. This builds a necessary foundation to help you with further studies.40150
HSK2In HSK 2, the candidates can write and read about frequently used situations and day-to-day activities. Here, you have a general idea of familiar subjects and hold basic conversations, but with some difficulties. The elementary level is the gateway to the lower intermediate.55300
HSK3HSK 3 level goes beyond basic things and is the midway to Mandarin proficiency. You can make intermediate-level sentences and communicate for various purposes, like personal and professional. This level also assists you in communicating when you’re in a Chinese-speaking region.90600
HSK4HSK 3 level goes beyond basic things and is the midway to Mandarin proficiency. You can make intermediate-level sentences and communicate for various purposes, like personal and professional. This level also assists you in communicating when you’re in a Chinese-speaking region.1051200
HSK5HSK 5 is an advanced level. It allows you to read Chinese newspapers, magazines, documents, and web content in the Chinese language. You can speak, read, and listen to nearly all topics. Besides, you can also watch movies for learning Chinese, tv-series and listen to music with little trouble.1252,500
HSK6HSK 6 is the highest and, obviously, most challenging. You can write and speak Mandarin comfortably. While you may or may not be near-native fluent, you can use several idiomatic expressions and complicated tones and make complex sentences almost spontaneously.1405,000

The scoring system & passing mark

All three sections, i.e., writing, reading, and listening, have a maximum mark of 100.

They provide all characters and Pinyin for the first two levels. Oppositely, they don’t offer Pinyin for the remaining ones, and everything is in Chinese characters.

Since there is no listening section in HSK 1 and 2, this total score is 200. Thus, you need a minimum of 120 points out of 200 to pass.

In comparison, HSK 4, 5, and 6 have a maximum of 300. And you require a minimum of 180 out of 300 to pass.

How long are scores valid?

The HSL certificate never expires, i.e., it is valid for a lifetime.

However, suppose you aim for college and university admission in mainland China. In that case, your scores are valid for two years only from the date you take the test.

HSK testing centers

Chinese Testing International (CTI), a government establishment, manages the Chinese test independently or through various collaborations with educational centers worldwide.

As of January 2024, CTI maintains 1,208 HSK test centers in 155 countries. They support over 30 million global Chinese learners.

They don’t administer the test in Taiwan (The Republic of China). This is because Taiwan has its separate Chinese exam, i.e., TOCFL, and it doesn’t conduct it in China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

2024 HSK test dates

They publish the exam dates once a year and typically conduct them 14 times yearly.

Usually, registration closes four weeks before the scheduled test. However, the deadline for the internet-based exams is ten days before their respective test dates.

Test DatesWritten Exam Registration Last DateOnline Exam Registration Last DatePaper Results DateDate of results (Paper/Internet)
Jan 13 (Sat)Dec 17, 2023Jan 03Jan 03Feb 20 / Jan 29
Mar 16 (Sat)Feb 18Mar 06Mar 06Apr 16 / Apr 1
Apr 21 (Sun)Mar 25Apr 11Apr 11May 28 / May 13
May 19 (Sun)Apr 22May 09May 09June 19 / June 3
June 22 (Sat)May 26June 12Jun 12July 22 / July 8
July 21 (Sun)June 24July 11Jul 11Aug 21 / Aug 5
Aug 18 (Sun)July 22Aug 08Aug 08Sept 18 / Sept 2
Sept 8 (Sun)Aug 12Aug 29Aug 29Oct 15 / Sept 23
Oct 19 (Sat)Sept 22Oct 09Oct 09Nov 19 / Nov 4
Nov 16 (Sat)Oct 20Nov 06Nov 06Dec 16 / Dec 2
Dec 8 (Sun)Nov 11Nov 28Nov 28Jan 8, 2025 / Dec 23

2024 HSK Speaking Test Dates

Test DatesPaper and Pencil ExamInternet-based ExamDate of Results
Jan 13 (Sat)Dec 17, 2023Jan 03Feb 20 / Feb 02
Mar 16 (Sat)Feb 18Mar 06Apr 16 / Apr 12
Apr 21 (Sun)Mar 25Apr 11May 28 / May 20
May 19 (Sun)Apr 22May 09June 19 / June 11
July 21 (Sun)June 24July 11Aug 21 / Aug 12
Oct 19 (Sat)Sept 22Oct 09Nov 19 / Nov 08
Dec 8 (Sun)Nov 11Nov 28Jan 8, 2025 / Dec 30

They declare the results 4 to 6 weeks after the test. Since the dates vary, so check with the nearest test centers.

What is the examination fee for 2024?

The test fee for each corresponding level differs, depending on where you take the test.

The cost is like other famous language tests like DELF, CILS, DELE, CIPLE, SIELE, Goethe-Zertifikat, and TEF Canada.

For example, the price is between $30 to $80 in the USA, whereas, in India, it ranges from ₹ 1500 to 6500.

In mainland China, the cost for HSK level 1 is 150RMB. After that, it increases by 100RMB after every grade. Finally, it reaches a maximum of 650 RMB for the highest one, i.e., level 6.

How do I register for the HSK test?

The last date for each exam will differ. Thus, you must check the deadline and submit your applications before that.

How to apply for HSK test

You can register directly on the official website. You can register as a new user if you don’t have an account.

Once done, you can pick the level, dates, and test center and choose the format between paper-based and internet-based.

Next, upload your photo, fill in the identity number, such as a passport, driving license, etc., and complete the application form.

Finally, make the payment and submit your complete application form.

Alternatively, you can contact your nearest HSK test center, and they will help you complete the registration.

How to prepare for HSK?

Chinese is one of the most difficult languages, but there are ways to simplify it.

Passion, perseverance, preparation, and practice can lead to HSK’s success.

Today, you can find many online resources such as books, Chinese learning apps, audio and video lessons, and LMS programs.

All these can be the start but not the end. Most of these online study materials are for beginner levels, not for higher ones, like 7 to 9.

Finding an experienced teacher or enrolling at some Chinese learning center near you would be beneficial. The good thing is you can find an abundance of institutes in every major city.

As language and culture are interconnected, you can also focus on China’s cultural aspects and history to enhance your learning experience.

You can also check the websites to get many sample papers and previous year’s questions to help you prepare better and ensure you ace the exam!

Some Frequently Asked Questions

Should you take the Chinese HSK exam?

You may want to know your exact level and check how much you studied.

Reasonably, you require a minimum score for a visa application in China for study or work.

You likely aspire to enhance your Mandarin skills to further your career and impress future employers with your proficiency in the language.

Whatever your motivation might be, the HSK test can be an excellent value addition to your C.V. to edge out your competitors.

This is a worthwhile effort to encourage you to accomplish more in your personal, academic, and professional life.

Do you have any questions for me? You can share your thoughts in the comment section below!

9 thoughts on “All About Chinese HSK Test 2024”

    1. Vikash Gupta

      Check the official site for the latest update, as earlier HSK exam eas suspended in India at most centers.

  1. Avatar

    Recently I gave the hsk3 and hskk exams at the same time. My result is, hsk3 is cleared but I have failed in hskk basic. I want to ask now I will repeat only hskk or both?

    1. Avatar

      Hello Aliya, doesn’t have an Indian test center anymore. Could you please share how / where you gave your HSK test in India?

  2. Avatar

    Hi sir, I completed my and I’m interested in learning languages. I’m learning chinese. Now, I’m able to give HSK1 and HSK2 level exams. So how can I get a job by learning chinese? What is the procedure should i follow, and what exams should I take so that I can do work in India?

    1. Vikash Gupta

      Once you achieve upper intermediate or advanced level like HSK 4 or 5, you can apply for jobs that require the Mandarin language. Job portals, consultancy, networking sites, Linkedin are some of the popular sites for that.

  3. Avatar

    Hello sir I want to learn Mandarin. I want to ask that is it necessary to learn Pinyin provided that I am a Hindi speaker and Hindi is also a phonetic language. So can I skip learning Pinyin?

    1. Vikash Gupta

      Since Mandarin is not a phonetic language and the pronunciation and writing of Chinese characters differ, thus, Pinyin can help people learn Chinese pronunciation as it is transcribed into Latin script. So, in a way, it is a solid foundation and helpful for learning this language.

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