New HSK Start Date: Not Arriving for another 3-5 Years!

April 20, 2021

As we initially suspected when the proposed changes to the HSK exam were announced last year, the HSK exam is NOT changing anytime soon.

Chinese Ministry of Education officials, university professors, and other Chinese-language educators met on 20 April and clarified the March 2021 announcement of a 1 July release date.

According to a summary of this meeting shared by Chinese Teaching International (CTI), last month’s announcement actually refers to when the new “International Chinese Education Chinese Language Level Ranking Standard” comes into effect.

In short, this “standard” is a comprehensive list of upcoming changes to the HSK exam structure, including vocabulary, grammar, question formats, and the reasoning behind the changes. It will also be the metric against which the new HSK exams will be designed and measured.

However, 1 July 2021 is not the release date for the new exams.

According to CTI’s summary, the new versions of the HSK 1-6 exams are still 3-5 years away. This allows time for the new exams to be created. Until then, the exam content, vocabulary, and structure will not change, and results from HSK exams taken during this period will remain valid.

The new HSK 7-9 exam is planned to debut a bit sooner. Under the new HSK structure, this will be the highest level HSK exam available, with just one test for all three bands. Depending on your score, you will be assigned the appropriate band (HSK 7, 8, or 9). The plan is to trial the new HSK 7-9 exam in December 2021, with an official launch date of March 2022.

For anyone studying Chinese, this means you can breathe a sigh of relief. You still have plenty of time to study for (and pass) the current version of the HSK. Better get started 😉

Check out the original article (in Chinese) by CTI here.