The number of Chinese learning apps has been piling up in recent years as learning Chinese online is gaining popularity. Unfortunately, most Chinese learning apps only focus on one aspect of the Chinese language, be it Chinese vocabulary, grammar, reading, or Chinese character writing.
As a result, you end up with an excessively overwhelming number of apps on your mobile device that not only takes up too much memory space but also is inconvenient, and quite frankly, straight-up annoying.
Luckily, there’s an all-in-one app that will help you tackle all the essential Chinese skills, and even more. It’s called SuperTest.
What is SuperTest (formerly HSK Online)?
SuperTest is a Mandarin Chinese language-learning app (and website), whose content is mainly tailored for HSK preparation.
Since HSK vocabulary words are meant to cover a wide range of topics, SuperTest can also be beneficial to Chinese learners that do not intend to take the HSK exam.
If you wish to evaluate your HSK level but have no reason to take the HSK, SuperTest also offers a free Chinese level test.
SuperTest Pros and Cons
- User-friendly and budget-friendly
- No ads
- Free past and mock exams with a detailed report
- Single-skill training for Listening, Reading, and Writing
- Covers all levels of the HSK, including HSK 7-9
- Well-designed, detailed grammar lessons
- HSK-format practice exercises with answer analysis
- Automatic smart mistake collection
- Limited access to the grammar lessons for free plan subscribers
- Translation issues
- Occasional poor audio quality
- Review only available after 24hours
What can I learn with SuperTest?
The SuperTest app covers HSK preparation material for both the old-ish HSK 1-6 levels, as well as the new HSK 7-9, including all the Chinese vocabulary and grammar structures required to pass all the levels of the HSK test.
In addition to your typical SRS (Spaced Repetition System) flashcard memorization drills, it also includes exercises similar to what you’d expect on the HSK. SuperTest can help you train your Chinese Listening, Reading, and Writing, which corresponds to the three main sections of the HSK.
There are two main study modules on the app: the Self-Study module, and the HSK prep courses module (HSK Companion).
The Self-Study module comprises Past Exams, Mock Exams, Vocabulary Training, Incorrect Answers bank, as well as three separate single skill training corresponding to each of the HSK sections: Listening, Reading, and Writing.
It gives users the freedom to pick what they want to study for each study session.
Past Exams vs Mock Exams
What’s the difference between the Past Exams and Mock Exams?
The difference between Past Exams and Mock Exams is that Past Exams are official HSK test papers from previous years, whereas Mock Exams are unofficial, made-up test papers with similar questions to official test papers.
Both types of exams feature a timer which makes the experience feel like the actual HSK rather than a simulation. You may also pause and resume the exam whenever you want to, but I highly recommend you don’t, because this option won’t be available during the actual exam.
If taking the test on your mobile feels odd and uncomfortable to you, you can also take the simulation test on their website, but beware that it’s a bit buggy.
How many HSK Past Exams are available on the SuperTest app?
There are 10 sets of the Past Exams available on SuperTest. You can access one set of past exams for free and unlock two more sets by sharing them on Wechat, or other social media platforms. If that isn’t enough for you, you may also download more past HSK exams for free here.
How many Mock Exams are available on the SuperTest app?
There are 15 sets of Mock Exams available on SuperTest. A total of three are free to use; however, two need to be unlocked by sharing them on social media. You can retake the exams as many times as you wish.
Why should I take past and mock HSK exams?
One of our favorite tips to pass the HSK is to take some past and/or mock exams before the real test. Doing this will help you get familiar with the exam content and pace, and identify what skills you should improve.
In fact, it was during these past-exam simulation sessions that I realized that my reading speed is rather slow, so I decided to dedicate more time to practicing reading through a passage.
What’s more, SuperTest gives you an exam report and answer sheet at the end of each practice exam, so that you can check your mistakes more efficiently. The test report displays various statistics for your overall “Accuracy” rate, how well you did in each exam section, and in each individual question of those sections.
For a more in-depth report, you can refer to the answer sheet, the “Analysis of the wrong” or “Analysis all”.
The Vocabulary Training conveniently displays high-frequency words at the top of the list. The training is divided into “missions”.
Each vocabulary mission starts with a list of approximately 10 words which you can choose to either learn first or practice right away.
The learning session gives you the English translation, audio clip, and sentence examples. Sometimes, the app might also provide additional examples from official tests.
You also have the option to practice the Chinese character writing for each vocabulary word, show or hide the pinyin, slow down the audio clip by tapping the cute tortoise icon, and “collect” the vocabulary words using the star button for future review.
The practice sessions mainly consist of flashcard-style exercises similar to what you’d find on Duolingo. HSK listening, reading, and writing practice.
The target exercises for Listening, Reading, and Writing allow you to practice a specific exam skill you may want to focus on. Although only part of these single-skill exercises can be used for free, you can practice with them for as long and as many times as you’d like.
This, in my opinion, is the highlight of the self-study module.
Whenever you make a mistake, the AI will automatically collect it for you, and add it to the Incorrect Answers bank so that you can easily review your errors.
SuperTest even includes a “mistake training” segment which takes you through a set of target exercises customized based on your personal mistakes. How cool and convenient is that?
Unfortunately, SuperTest’s self-study module does not include grammar training, but use a separate Chinese grammar app or sign up for online Chinese lessons to make up for it.
Grammar lessons are only available in the HSK Companion module, which we’ll explore next.
SuperTest HSK Companion (HSK prep courses)
HSK Companion is SuperTest’s systematic lesson plan tailored for HSK preparation. It is divided into units, which are then subdivided into several lessons.
Each lesson combines the essential parts of the Self-Study plan into a bite-sized plan, and turns it into a more comprehensive course by incorporating much-needed grammar courses.
As such, it consists of a vocabulary training, a grammar training, a drill segment, and a “special training” segment which can be either Listening, Reading, or Writing training.
Oddly, the Chinese character writing practice option is not available in the Vocabulary training segment of the HSK Companion.
Nonetheless, the grammar lessons really set it apart from the Self-Study plan.
The grammar explanations are detailed yet concise. They’re so well-worded, free of fluff, and easy to digest. It’s almost (once again, almost) like having a great Chinese teacher!
To better explain confusing Chinese grammar with similar meanings like 帮助 vs 帮忙, the app provides separate sets of examples to illustrate the differences between said grammar points.
Moreover, if a grammar point is often used as part of a grammatical structure, the lesson will mention that as well. For instance, the conjunction 除非 is usually used as part of the following structure:
This feature will help you not only nail the “Fill in the blanks”, “Sentence Ordering” and “Essay Writing” questions in the Writing section of the HSK, but also build grammatically correct sentences when speaking Chinese. Each grammar point explanation is followed by a few practice exercises before moving on to the next grammar point. A brief correct answer analysis is provided after each grammar exercise to help you understand the answer choice. The answer analysis can be translated to various languages via Google Translate, which can be handy though not ideal.
Is SuperTest free?Yes, SuperTest is free to download and use, with an optional VIP upgrade, and in-app purchases.
The free plan gives you：
- unlimited access to the vocabulary training and Incorrect Answers in the Self-Study module
- partial access to past exams, mock exams, Listening training, Reading training, and Writing training
- five minutes daily access to the HSK Companion lessons
The VIP subscription gives you full, unlimited access to everything in the Self-Study and HSK Companion modules, but not the private lessons or essay tutoring as those are separate paid services.
How much is SuperTest VIP?
SuperTest VIP is available in three different subscription plans(prices rounded to the nearest whole number):
|1 month USD 17|
|12 months USD 69|
|Lifetime Plus USD 99|
Is SuperTest worth it?
Yes, even if you’d rather stick to the free plan than pay for the premium package, I think that the user-friendly interface, together with the knowledge-packed content make SuperTest a valuable addition to every Chinese learner’s repertoire of Chinese learning tools.
In fact, it’s so good that I am personally considering signing up for a longer subscription since their premium plans are generally more affordable than that of other popular Chinese learning apps (See USD price comparison chart below. Prices rounded to the nearest whole number).
|Plan length||SuperTest VIP||Super Duolingo||Du Chinese Premium||Lingodeer Premium|
Still, that doesn’t mean that SuperTest is perfect. In fact, there are a few hiccups that leave room for improvement.
First, the interface and content can be poorly translated at times. Feature names such as the “analysis of the wrong” and “analysis all” just sound like they were copy-pasted from Google, which is not very surprising given that the Answer Analysis in the Grammar lessons is linked to Google Translate.
Secondly, the audio quality can sound defective every so often, but it’s so rare that I could probably count the number of times it happened.
Lastly, the HSK Companion requires you to go through a series of review lessons before you can move on to the next unit, which is reasonable. However, I dislike that the review sessions are only available 24 hours after you’ve completed a lesson, even if you’re a VIP user. Even though this is super bothersome because it will slow down your study routine, I recommend using the wait time to go through the Self-Study segment or take a break.
Nevertheless, none of these issues are significant enough to hinder your learning progress.
To summarize, SuperTest is an all-inclusive HSK preparation app that can benefit all Chinese language enthusiasts, regardless of whether you’re planning to take the HSK exam or not.
It’s useful for learning Chinese vocabulary words and grammar, and training your overall Chinese language ability.
Despite being the best HSK simulation app available on the market at the moment, it still comes with a few issues, and can’t fully replace real Chinese courses. With all that said, if you’re looking for a new Chinese learning app, this one is definitely worth a try!
About the Author
Juli Mboty has called China home for over 11 years where she became passionate about the Chinese culture, language, and history.