HSK questions (a lot of questions!)

November 04, 2009, 10:11 PM posted in General Discussion

Hi guys,

tried to find a thread on CPOD about the HSK, but search came up empty, so decided to start one myself.

I'd like to know of people's experiences of studying for and taking the HSK - for how long did you prepare, did you feel it was worthwhile (other than for getting a certificate)?

What level did you take? How difficult did you find it (how long had you been learning Chinese before you began your HSK prep)?

How proficient were your writing and reading skills when you took it? (I'm looking at the intermediate levels specifically)

How and where did you study? Can you recommend any particular university programs? Has anybody studied in Zhejiang Uni? (I obviously have personal reasons for thiking of ZheDa)

Finally, does anybody know of the status the new HSK? Is it in effect? If not, when, and what are the major differences?

He he, as you can see I'm full of questions, answers to any of the above would be most appreciated,



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November 04, 2009, 10:33 PM


I'm sure veteran poddie mark won't mind me linking to a post of his:


..yeah,this will be good to hear more about.

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November 05, 2009, 08:16 AM

thanks bababardwan, 


keep it coming people

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November 08, 2009, 04:56 AM

Well I just took it in Houston TX. I did the 基础 level though, as I've been studying for about a year now. I took it about 3 weeks ago and haven't gotten any results yet. I took it kind of for fun and just to see where I'm at with my chinese. 

Of course Chinesepod is a big help for preperation, but actually when you sign up for the HSK they should give you a booklet with practice tests from the level that you signed up for, so that was a huge help too, as I really had no idea what to expect. 

I don't know how the intermediate is, but for the listening section, I felt sometimes the voice was so slow that it was hard to understand. If the voice for that section spoke at a normal pace it wouldn't have tripped me up so much, but I'm thinking I did fine on that part (I hope!).

Also I didn't expect to see so many Chinese people taking a chinese test! At least 90% of the people I saw taking the test were 华人。I'm assuming the reason is they are 美籍华人, and taking the test will prove they can speak Chinese for secular-work reasons.

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November 08, 2009, 01:19 PM

Hi, yueshuya, nice info, make sure to post when you gt the results (if you feel like sharing!) 

Have you any idea whether the test you took is the new or the old test?

What was the structure of the exam?

thx, Dave

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November 09, 2009, 08:02 PM

Hmm, I really wouldn't know if it was the old or new. As for the structure, there are 3 sections: Listening, Grammar, and reading comprehension. 

For the listening section, the teacher popped in a cd in a stereo, and we all listened as the CD spoke out various short stories and sentences that corresponded to pictures or something else in your test booklet, then you would mark the appropriate answer on your test card.

Grammar was basically just pick out of 4 choices the best word. It could be a verb, measure word, etc.

Reading comprehension, there would be a 3-5 paragraph long short story, and 3-5 questions corresponding to the story asking various questions that would test your understanding of what you just read.

Every section is timed, and if you finish early your "not supposed" to go ahead until the test officials say to. In all it's 2 1/2 hours long if I remember correctly, maybe 2 hours. Oh and the whole test is pick a, b, c, or d style (for Beginner level at least).

In all it was really interesting, I would recommend it to anybody that really wants to push themselves in learning Chinese. If you are learning Chinese on your own, it gives you something to shoot for, and to see where your at.

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November 15, 2009, 01:08 PM

Thanks yueshuya that's great,

has anybody else taken the intermediate levels?

Does anybody know if Oral test are required?

How much character writing would be required for intermediate, or is it all MCQ?

questions questions questions!

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November 15, 2009, 06:58 PM

I took the intermediate HSK, but you can find sample tests on-line and answer your own questions.

There is no component where you have to speak (other than perhaps the test administrator checking to see if you haven't wandered into the wrong room)

The last section is about 30% filling in blanks with hand written characters.

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November 16, 2009, 12:56 PM

ok Thanks Mark, that's good to know, and by the way thanks for sharing on your previous posts!

I guess I'm going to keep on working on my written skills and wait to see how the dust settles in terms of changes to the new format, then perhaps take the test in 2010/11...