The HSK 汉语水平考试 (hànyǔ shuǐpíng kǎoshì) is China’s only standardized test of Standard Chinese language proficiency for non-native speakers such as foreign students and overseas Chinese. There are 6 levels, shown below and they are generally referred to as HSK 01 thru HSK 06.

The HSK has gone thru several iterations since its first introduction in 1992. The current format was introduced in 2010, with a philosophy of testing “comprehensive language and communication ability” and is now seen as one of the certifications needed for local employment in China.

In our opinion, the HSK is a reasonable standardized benchmark for Chinese language proficiency, but it certainly doesn’t test for general fluency in specific situations, especially business.


In the table below, “CHAR” refers to the cumulative number of characters that should be learned at each level.

01174Can understand and use some simple Chinese characters and sentences to communicate.
02347Can use Chinese in a simple and direct manner, applying it in a basic fashion to their daily lives.
03617Can use Chinese to serve the demands of their personal lives, studies and work.
041064Can discuss a relatively wide range of topics in Chinese and are capable of communicating with Chinese speakers.
051685Can read Chinese newspapers, watch Chinese films and are capable of writing and delivering a lengthy speech in Chinese.
062663Can easily understand any information communicated in Chinese and are capable of smoothly expressing themselves in written or oral form.


HSK primarily focuses on the following skills (these vary somewhat based on HSK level).

  • Listening Comprehension
  • Reading Comprehension

For each skill, there may be multiple flavors of testing, each broken out in a separate sction (see notes on our tests below).


There are 2 practice tests per HSK level. Each practice test has 4 to 6 sections for listening, reading, writing skills, etc.

The practice tests on this site are standard practice tests and map directly to the actual HSK.   In case you’ve taken the HSK, please note that there are a few differences in our version.

First, due to technical issues, we’ve broken out each section of each test. Our current testing software limits us to 1 test per page and each section has slightly different technical and presentation requirements.  Because of this, we can only offer a score on a section by section basis. We hope to fix this soon.

Second, the HSK practice test questions use images with somewhat choppy formatting…乱七八糟! So, we’ve made an editorial decision to replace the images with English references (Level 01) and Chinese references (Level 02 and higher).

And third, the real HSK is presented entirely in Chinese, including the instructions. Lower levels also include pinyin.  We generally follow this standard, except that all instructions in our version is in English. We plan on creating a dual-language site in the next major release. At that time, there will be 2 versions of this practice test – one with English instructions and one with Chinese instructions.

Our goal here is to give stateside students a chance to practice the HSK online and to give you a chance to measure your progress using some standard method.


We’ll be implementing a test results function for the HSK practice, as well as other puzzles and exercises, so you can measure your progress. But we’re a small shop, so we plan to roll out the tests for HSK 01 thru 04 and then the test results function.

Thanks in advance for your patience!

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