The HSK, which was launched in 1991, and its sister exams HSKK (for spoken Chinese), YCT (for young learners) and Business Chinese Test were passed by almost five million candidates worldwide.
“I think it’s easier for people”
The new system is expected to be introduced at the end of the year and the number of levels will increase from six to nine. It is hoped that the reforms will bring the HSK closer to the GER and make it easier for students to explain their qualifications to employers.
“I’ve been teaching Chinese for over 14 years. There were 11 HSK levels in the first three years I taught Chinese, and it was very difficult at that time, ”said Wan Xin, director of the Beijing branch of This is mandarin.
“At the moment level HSK6 is about level nine of the previous one.”
Despite the shock that Wan is experiencing from some students, the new system could actually prove to be less strenuous. One of the most important changes will be the amount of vocabulary required for each level.
“HSK1 currently has 150 words. Then level two has 300. It doubles for each level, ”explained Wan.
“It will therefore be much more difficult for HSK four, five and six. But you can see on the new level that each level contains about 1,000 new words. I think it’s easier for people. “
According to Hanban, an average of 660,000 candidates took HSK exams annually between 2016 and 2018, with HSK4 being the most popular.
The top countries for test participants in 2018 were South Korea, Thailand, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan, the USA, Russia and Kyrgyzstan.
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