HSK 2020: New, Updated Exams are Coming

May 29, 2020

Hello friends and fellow HSK enthusiasts! As you may or may not have heard, the HSK is getting a facelift. The dawn of the new HSK (or HSK 3.0), as we'd like to call it) is near! Here is what we know so far.

The new HSK will have NINE exams. These exam levels will be further subdivided into:

Beginner (Levels 1-3)

Intermediate (Levels 4-6)

Advanced (Levels 7-9)

This division will make the HSK 3.0 more closely resemble the CEFR in the way it breaks down levels. Additionally, the new exams will test students’ listening, speaking, reading, writing, and translation abilities.

The new HSK exams will also require students to know more syllables, characters, vocabulary, and grammar than before. Here is a level-by-level breakdown of what the requirements will look like:

What remains unclear is WHEN the new HSK update will actually be offered. From our experience as a Chinese educational institution, there are still a few pieces of the puzzle needed before HSK 3.0 will become reality:

1. Tests

First, the exams need to be designed.

Although the announcement has been made that the new HSK is coming, this may not mean that the exam papers have been written and prepared for use yet. . The process of creating the exams may still be underway.

2. Textbooks

Second, textbooks need to be written and published.

The current most popular HSK textbooks are the HSK 标准教程 series, designed by Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) and Chinese Testing International (CTI)*. .

Until textbooks are published, teachers cannot begin to prepare their students for HSK 3.0. .

For reference, CTI is the organization that runs the HSK registration website (www.chinesetest.cn). You can check out the original HSK 3.0 announcement by CTI here.

3. Overlapping Exams

Another point to consider is the potential period of overlap between the current HSK (let’s call it HSK 2.0) and the new exam. .

When HSK 2.0 rolled out in 2009, the very first incarnation of the HSK designed in 1990 (HSK 1.0) was still being offered in testing centers.
Culture Yard staff can personally attest that HSK 1.0 was offered in testing centers until at least November 2010 in mainland China.
Moreover, there was a period of several years after HSK 2.0 became available that scores from the HSK 1.0 were still accepted by universities and other institutions.

How does this impact Culture Yard courses?

For now, Culture Yard will continue to prepare students for the current HSK 2.0 exams. Once HSK 3.0 is officially released, we will modify our courses as necessary to reflect the material for the new exams. We will keep you updated as new information comes out!

Want to see the announcment for yourself? Check out the WeChat post from CTI here.

You can also read about the history of the HSK from version 1.0 to now!

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