The Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì or HSK exam is the international certification in Mandarin. It’s a standard international test for those learning Mandarin as a second or third language. There are currently 6 levels of HSK, HSK 1 being the beginners level and HSK 6 being the native or advanced level in Mandarin. The HSK exam is conduct in most countries on a monthly basis.
Issued by the Ministry of Education in Beijing, the HSK certification is valid for 2 years. It costs Rs. 1500 for the HSK 1 and increases as the levels increase. Students are easily able to apply for and give the exam in India. Students and professionals who are looking at applying to universities or for job applications abroad should take the HSK. This certification helps demonstrate your Mandarin language ability internationally.
What is the HSKK?
There is a separate exam called the HSKK or Hànyǔ shuǐpíng kǒuyǔ kǎoshì. While the HSK tests a students listening, reading and writing skills, the HSKK tests spoken ability. More recently, Beijing has been asking applicants of the HSK to also give the HSKK exam as they transition to the New HSK.
What is the new HSK exam like?
The New HSK exam will have 9 levels as opposed to the current 6. It will also have a lot more vocabulary and grammar per level as compared to the current HSK. The new HSK will include speaking and character writing as an integral component of each level starting from HSK 1. This is different to the current system which doesn’t require students to speak Mandarin for HSK exam and requires character writing only after HSK 3.
What percentage do you need to pass the HSK exam?
In China, students require 60% or more to pass the HSK exam. Scores are given based on different skill sets – listening and reading. Each skill is assigned a score out of 100 and then its aggregated into a percentage. The total score thats shared with the student is a combined percentage of reading and listening skills. The HSK exam results are usually issued 4-6 weeks after taking the exam and the certificate is couriered directly to students from the Confucius Institute in Beijing about 6-8 weeks after taking the exam.
Do I need to give HSK exams in order?
Students do not need to give the HSK exams sequentially, ie if you are qualified, you can directly give the HSK 3 exam without giving HSK 1 and HSK 2. However, Inchin Closer has had some students who would like to take all the exams as extra practice and thats fine too. We are able to help you train for, practice for and apply for the HSK exams in India.
How long until I’m fluent?
A good level to achieve is HSK 3. This should be your minimum benchmark of you are working with China or looking at exploring opportunities in the country. HSK 3 enables students to have a strong understanding and grasp of Mandarin spoken and comprehension skills. The level gives students the confidence to speak on a range of topics and a basic ability to read and write Mandarin characters. Achieving HSK 4 and above sets students apart in the Mandarin world. This is a good level to start teaching Mandarin if thats your purpose of learning the language. There are fewer students who have the HSK 5 and HSK 6 certifications, these students will find it much easier to get translation and interpretation jobs as well which are higher paying.
In conclusion, the HSK exams are important if you want to prove your mettel on the international stage. However, if you are learning Mandarin for fun to explore the culture, then don’t be restricted by only the HSK exam, learn conversational Mandarin so that you can chat with an aunty on the bus in Beijing, or find local street foods in Shanghai.