The Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi Certificate, or HSK Certificate for short, is a standardized certification to prove Chinese language skills. The HSK Certificate was developed by the Chinese Ministry of Education and can be taken at licensed test centers worldwide.

Levels of the HSK

The HSK certificate is offered in three different test formats: basic, intermediate and advanced. These three different test levels are also divided into two sublevels. Thus, according to the European Framework of Reference, the HSK Certificate should correspond to the CEFR levels A1 to C2.

Target groups of the HSK

For those who want to obtain a qualified proof of their knowledge of Chinese, the HSK certificate is a good option. The certification is also suitable for students and to apply for a job where knowledge of Chinese is an advantage or a basic requirement.

Advantages of the HSK

The HSK test can be compared with the German TestDaF or the English TOEFL and is controlled by the head office in China. This way, test participants can be sure that the certification always follows the same rules and that the results are meaningful. Once taken, the HSK certificate is valid for an unlimited period of time and can be used as proof of language skills even years later. An exception is the application to a Chinese university. In this case, only a maximum of 2 years old HSK certificate will be accepted.

Aims of the HSK

The learning objectives that can be certified by the HSK exam differ in terms of the exam level. In the examination level 1, comparable to CEFR levels A1 to A2, a knowledge of nearly 300 Chinese characters is expected from the participants as well as the linguistic ability to express themselves linguistically in everyday situations such as greetings, small talk, shopping and visits to the doctor.

In preparation for the second level, i.e. CEFR levels B1 to B2, participants should have a vocabulary of approximately 1200 Chinese words in spoken and written form, be able to conduct conversations in Chinese and understand the basic grammatical structure of the languages.

The upper level of the HSK certificate is comparable to CEFR levels C1 to C2 and a vocabulary of approximately 5000 Chinese words and solid grammatical knowledge is recommended for a successful exam. In addition, participants should be able to hold conversations in Chinese and express their opinions and thoughts.

HSK examinations

The HSK exam is divided into an oral and a written part, whereby reading comprehension also plays a role. Depending on the level, the two parts of the examination each last 20 to 50 minutes. At the basic level, the candidate is given 25 minutes for the oral part and 20 minutes for the written part.

At the intermediate level, the processing time increases to 35 minutes for the oral and 25 minutes for the written part of the HSK examination, and at the advanced level it is 35 minutes and 45 minutes respectively.

Costs for the HSK

The costs for the HSK examination vary according to level and test center and range from 35 to 60 euros.

Registration for the HSK

Registration for the HSK Test is done directly with the certified institutes that offer the test.

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