The HSK or Hanyu Shuiping Koushi (translation: Chinese Level Test) is a test that measures an individual’s Mandarin proficiency levels in simplified Chinese. The test is administered by Hanban, a public institution that is affiliated with the Ministry of Education. Hanban also manages all of the Confucian Institutes located in foreign countries. The test is used on foreign students, ethnic minority groups in China, and overseas Chinese. The test serves a similar purpose as TOEFL, which foreign students must take in order to be permitted to Universities in the United States.

Beijing Language and Culture University originally created the test but in 2010 Hanban officially became the organization to administer the test, modifying its format. The new test takes into consideration the learning levels of full time language learners versus part time language learners as well as the differences between learning Mandarin in China and in another country.

The HSK test has six levels. Levels one and two provide a listening, reading and an oral test. HSK levels three through six test listening, reading, writing and oral proficiency. The sixth level of testing requires the test taker to write a composition. Once you pass a level of the HSK, it becomes permanent and is similar to receiving a diploma; however, in order to be admitted to a university, you must present your results within two years of taking the test.

Scores Needed to Pass HSK Listening, Reading Comprehension, and Writing Sections

(***Level 1 and Level 2 sections do not include writing sections)

Total Points Passing Score

Level 1 200 120

Level 2 200 120

Level 3 300 180

Level 4 300 180

Level 5 300 180

Level 6 300 180

Scores needed to pass the speaking portion of the exam

HSK Beginner 100 60

HSK Intermed 100 60

HSK Advanced 100 60

The HSK test is for the following:

Entrance into Chinese University for undergraduates and graduates
The awarding of scholarships
Exclusion from taking Chinese language classes
Assisting in job placement and job promotions in Mainland China
A means for language learners to measure their mastery of the language
Students can find their test scores online at and logging into the website with their 18 digit admission ticket. If the student does not obtain his testing results within a 2 year period, then the testing center will discard it.