If you want to study or work in China, you need to pass the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) accreditation exam. The HSK is a certification of language proficiency that is the Chinese equivalent of the TOEFL. The HSK certificate is accepted without limitation within mainland China for students applying to Chinese colleges and universities as well as being used as a reference standard for those who are being recruited for job positions in China and other countries where proficiency in Chinese is a necessity. While application online is now permitted, the test itself must be taken in person at an authorized testing site; at present over 120 countries worldwide have participated as regular host sites for HSK testing. Taking Chinese lessons online can be a great advantage in helping you meet the HSK test requirements.
The HSK test is divided into three categories. Each category tests for listening comprehension, reading comprehension and grammar, with writing and oral tests given to those testing at the advanced levels.
The Basic test is for those who have an elementary grasp of the Chinese language, with a working vocabulary of 400 to 3,000 common Chinese characters and who have had 100 to 800 hours of formal education in the language. The test has three grading levels: those ranked Level 1 can handle basic communication in Chinese with the ability to express simple ideas and understand simple spoken sentences; Level 2-ranked students can undertake a certain level of social interaction and study; Level 3 students have the minimum level of proficiency to allow them to be admitted to a university as a undergraduate student.
The Elementary-Intermediate test is graded from levels 3 to eight and has intermediate skills in Chinese, with a working vocabulary of 2,000 to 5,000 characters and 400 to 2,000 hours of formal education. Those who pass levels 3 to 5 are deemed to have basic competence in Chinese ranging from low to high while passers at level 6 to 8 have intermediate competence ranging from low to high.
The Advanced test is for those who have a vocabulary of more than 5,000 Chinese characters and over 3,000 hours of formal education. There are three grading levels in the test with those who pass Level Nine seen to have advanced competence at the low level while Level Eleven passers have the highest level of proficiency.
Those who have successfully been graded at Level Eleven are exempted from the requirement of taking the relevant Chinese course requirements and can apply for jobs anywhere in the world for a position that requires high Chinese language proficiency.
In addition, there are more specialized HSK tests like the HSK for Young Learners for students below the age of fifteen as well as Vocational tests such as the HSK for Business, HSK for Secretaries and HSK for Tourism.
Those who pass any of the vocational tests are also exempted from taking the required Chinese courses and are qualified to apply for jobs in the relevant sector that require high Chinese language proficiency. The HSK for Young Learners may be used as an enrollment reference for children who want to study in China.