China to Reform Top Chinese Proficiency Test HSK

By Barnaby Lofton, May 27, 2020

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Last week, the official HSK Twitter account announced that the country’s Chinese language examination, known as HSK (汉语水平考试, Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) will be reformed in 2020. According to the post, new Chinese proficiency standards will be overhauled with a newly structured system of testing – meaning your old HSK books will likely lose some value.

This new model will now have nine levels in total, spread out among three stages (beginner, intermediate and advanced). As of press time, few details have been shared about what other changes should be expected, and a quick glance on their official website proved futile.  

HSK-level.jpgImage via @山下智博/Weibo

The current HSK format, which is a six-tiered international standardized Chinese language testing system, was introduced in 2010 and focuses on writing, reading and listening skills (writing sections are excluded for HSK 1 and 2). There’s a separate test administered for oral skills.

The highest level, HSK 6, is designed for learners who’ve “mastered 5,000 or more commonly used words,” according to the HSK official website. However, some feel that it does not prepare Chinese learners for native-level fluency. One person on Twitter posted: “So glad the HSK is to be extended. Know loads of people who took the 6 and said they didn't feel anywhere near native level.” Another Twitter user commented, “The only thing I know from before was that HSK 6 didn’t really correspond to C2 level at all,” referring to the final English test in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). He added, “Perhaps this new change will rectify that.” Only time will tell.

[Cover image via Pixabay]

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