Changes to HSK Exams Coming Soon! 3 Things You Should Know

By That's Beijing, April 19, 2021

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Changes to China’s HSK examinations will take effect on July 1, 2021. 

But don’t worry! Beijing-based Hutong School, specialists in teaching Mandarin Chinese, has reached out to That’s to guide readers through some of the key changes. 

Below are three things to know about the new HSK examinations: 


‘3 stages and 9 levels’

The ‘three stages’ refer to levels 1-3 (beginner), levels 4-6 (intermediate) and levels 7-9 (advanced). This gives an additional three levels compared to the current system of levels 1-6. 

The new levels 1-6 require learners to know more vocabulary than in the previous HSK system. Meanwhile, levels 7-9 are targeted towards students who want to specialize in Chinese language, literature or other areas. 

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Image via Hutong School

For advanced level, students take a single examination and receive a corresponding level of seven, eight or nine according to their performance. 

Testing translation and hanzi

These parts of the test are in addition to the current reading, writing and listening sections. 

In the new HSK level 1, students are expected to be able to write 100 basic characters and will be assessed on how fast they can copy the characters. 

And from HSK level 4 upwards, students will be tested on their ability to translate spoken and written Chinese. 

The new system has advantages over the old

Hutong School tells That’s that the vocabulary list for the new HSK exams features more practical vocabulary which can be used in daily life. 

And while each level is slightly more difficult than before, the new system is broken down into more levels, allowing for a smoother transition between each one. The new system perhaps better reflects the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), helping to enhance the global reputation of the HSK examinations.


For a free trial class with Hutong School, scan the QR code below or contact Angelina Lee via email Angelina.lee@hutongschool.com to find out more.

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[Cover image via Hutong School]

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