China's Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, known as HSK, or the Chinese Proficiency Test, is a standardized test at the state level designed and developed by the HSK Center of Beijing Language and Culture University to assess the Chinese proficiency of non-native speakers (foreigners, overseas Chinese, and students of Chinese national minorities).
HSK consists of 6 levels now: the Basic/Beginner Chinese proficiency test (HSK Basic), Levels 1-2; the Elementary/ Intermediate Chinese proficiency test (HSK Elementary-Intermediate), Levels 3-4; and the Advanced Chinese proficiency test (HSK Advanced), Levels 5-6. HSK is held regularly in China and other countries each year. Certificates of HSK will be issued to those who have secured the required scores.
The Chinese Ministry of Education has established China National Committee for Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK)(CNCCPT). The Committee is the supervisor of HSK and the issuer of the Chinese proficiency certificates. CNCCPT has an office called Office of China National Committee for Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK), which takes care of the HSK affairs with the HSK Center, BLCU.
About Applicants of HSK
HSK (Basic, or Beginning) applies to those learners with basic Chinese proficiencies, namely, those who have taken 100 to 800 hours of regular modern Chinese learning (including those with equivalent learning experiences).
HSK (Elementary – Intermediate) is for those who are at the elementary and intermediate level in Chinese proficiency, i.e. those who have taken 400-2000 regular hours of modern Chinese courses (including those whose proficiency in Chinese is similar to that standard).
The HSK (Advanced) is designed to measure the Chinese proficiency of those who are proficient in Chinese, i.e. who have taken 3000 regular hours or more modern Chinese learning (including those whose proficiency in Chinese is similar to that standard).
Functions of HSK Certificates
To certify that the holder has acquired the required Chinese Proficiency to enter a Chinese college or university as an undergraduate or graduate student.
To certify that the holder can be exempt from taking a certain Chinese language course depending on the level of certification.
As a basis for employers to evaluate the Chinese proficiency of job applicants.
Preparation for HSK
As a standardized test of general language proficiency, HSK is not based on any particular textbook or course of study. Therefore candidates may refer to any textbook in preparing for the test, and take practice tests on the test website. It is important that all candidates read the HSK Test Syllabus carefully, a guide for the pre-test preparation.