The HSK test approximates the English TOEFL, and an HSK certificate is valid without any limitation in The People's Republic of China. The test aims to be a certificate of language proficiency for higher educational and professional purposes. Generally, according to the test's current (and original) format, a rank of 6 is needed to enroll in a Chinese university as an undergraduate. A score of 9 or higher is a common business standard.
Each year HSK certificates are issued to those who meet required scores. The HSK is primarily administered in Simplified Chinese. In addition test takers with outstanding results have the chance to win a scholarship for a short-term language study in China.
|Test Rank (等第)||Chars/Words||Score (级别)||Certificate|
|*Generally signifies a professional level.|
**Generally required for non-language academic programs.
There are currently 11 possible ranks (1-11) and 3 test formats (Basic, Elementary/Intermediate, and Advanced). A revision of the test is underway, and is discussed below.
A student taking the Basic test (基础HSK) may attain a rank of 1 through 3 (1级-3级) or fail to meet requirements and not receive a rank. The Elementary/Intermediate test (初中等HSK) covers ranks 3-8 (3级-8级), and ranks below 3 are not considered. Likewise, the Advanced test (高等HSK) covers ranks 9-11 (9级-11级), with scores below 9 not considered.
Complete vocabulary lists, previous tests, and simulated tests are available as preparation materials.
The Beijing Language and Culture University HSK Center announced it was developing a revised format for the test in 2006. The new format will be completely adopted by the end of 2008.
|Revised HSK Structure (not yet in effect)|
|Test Rank (等第)||Score (级别)||Certificate|
|6||Advanced with Honors|
|4||Intermediate with Honors|
|2||Elementary with Honors|
The new format seeks to place the emphasis on "comprehensive language ability and communication ability". The most visible differences will be inclusion of spoken and written segments at all levels (not just Advanced), reformation of the ranking system, and use of new question structures.
The new ranking system will reduce the three test formats to Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced. Each level will have two possible passing grades: "acceptable" and "with honors." .