Pass HSK 6: Top Six Tips from Chinese Teachers

May 16, 2022

As an online Chinese language school, we know how challenging HSK 6 can be. Not only do you need to know hundreds of advanced vocabulary words, but you also need to master complex grammar and be able to identify sentence errors (the struggle is real….), and rote memorization just will not cut it.

That is why we have asked our Chinese teachers for their top tips on how to pass the HSK 6 exam. All of our teachers have been teaching Chinese for over a decade each, and this is what they have to say based on their experiences:

1) Study all the HSK 6 vocab

With 5,000 characters and 2,500 words that students need to know, there is a lot of vocabulary in HSK 6. After you have gone through all the required vocabulary words, our teachers recommend focusing on close synonym pairs and collocation of words (固定搭配).

It is vital to know the subtleties of these words as well as their synonyms and collocations, as they will be helpful for you in the writing section, where you get points for using complex grammar structures and collocations. They may also appear in the sentence error section of the exam (more on that below).

Online HSK 6 course

Close Synonym Pairs

At the HSK 6 level, there are many close synonyms such as 异常 vs 反常 or 恰巧vs 正好 that you will need to distinguish between. Many of these words differ very subtly and being able to identify those minute differences will be very helpful for passing the HSK 6 exam.

Collocation of words (固定搭配)

Additionally, there are some words that will appear together often, such as “突破 + 防守” and “突破 + 封锁”, etc. There may also be words such as “雌雄” which are used only in certain contexts. (In case you are curious, 雌雄 can either mean “male and female (when referring to animals ONLY)” or “victory and defeat (in competitions)”.)

2) Study 病句的类型 (sentence errors)

In total, there are nine different types of sentence errors with over 40 different subtypes of errors that students are expected to be able to identify on the HSK 6 exam. While there are only 10 questions in the sentence error identification section of the HSK 6 exam, students will not know which errors will appear and should be familiar with all possible errors.

The best way to do this is through continued practice and becoming familiar with Chinese grammar rules. If you combine lots of practice with grammar know-how, this will increase your success rate in this section greatly.

HSK 6 exam 2

3) Analyze your Writing

The final section of the HSK 6 exam is the writing section in which students need to write a summary essay. In order to do well in this writing section, you should devote a lot of practice time to writing practice essays and comparing them afterwards with a model essay (most HSK 6 practice books and mock exams have such a model essay in them).

You should analyze the differences between what you have written and the model essay. Make sure to practice summarizing what is important and necessary and leaving out extraneous details. Another important skill is practicing how to combine several sentences into one while maintaining the original meaning and without interrupting the flow of your essay.

HSK exam

4) Read, read, read

When your reach the HSK 6 level, increasing the speed at which you read in Chinese is very important. The time limit for the reading section of the HSK 6 exam is only 50 minutes, so being able to find the answers you need quickly is a vital skill.

While some teachers will advise you to skim the text, skimming will not be much help if you cannot process the meaning of the text equally fast. Try to do as much reading as you can, whether by doing mock HSK 6 exams, reading news in Chinese, or picking up a good book. Every little bit will help.

books with ABC blocks

5) Do mock exams

Mock HSK 6 exams are a great way to prepare for the HSK 6 exam. You will gain some experience and familiarity with the HSK 6 exam content and format. Mock exams will also help you develop the test skills necessary to perform well on the actual HSK 6 exam.

Be sure to check your answers afterwards and find out where you struggled the most. If one of your skills (listening, reading, or writing) is weaker than the others, it is a good idea to do some additional exercises focused specifically on the skill you struggle with.

HSK 6 exam 3

After registering for the exam, do mock exams at the same time as your HSK 6 exam. For example, if your HSK 6 test is scheduled for 9:00 in the morning, take a mock test at 9:00 in the morning. This will help you understand what your mental state may be like during the actual exam time.

Any mock exam will help you prepare for the actual HSK 6 exam, but using previous exams is the best. (You can find compilations of previous HSK 6 test papers and use them for practice.) Make sure to time yourself! Pay special attention to the reading section, as it is quite easy to exceed the time limit if you are not paying attention.

6) Sign up for an HSK 6 prep course

If you know you want to take the HSK 6 course and you have the time, an HSK 6 prep course can provide you with valuable skills for passing the exam. Experienced Chinese teachers can point out areas of the exam where students typically struggle, offer tips and techniques for improving your HSK test-taking skills, and explain the more nuanced vocabulary and grammar points of HSK 6. If you are interested in studying HSK 6 with Culture Yard, try part of the course for free or get in touch!

Courses > HSK course image

Many thanks to our lovely teachers 齐老师 (Hongyan) and 赵老师 (Zhao Yan) for their contributions! Meet Hongyan, Zhao Yan, and the rest of the Culture Yard team here.