Thinking of Taking the HSK Exam? Here's Why You Should

June 05, 2020

If you've been studying Chinese for a while, you most likely know all about the HSK exams. You've probably already written an exam or two!

Even if you're only starting on your Chinese language learning journey, chances are you've at least heard about it.

But if you're unfamiliar with the HSK exam, here's a quick overview.

The Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì (HSK) is China's official Chinese language proficiency test for non-native speakers. It's a way to assess your Chinese language level.

There are six HSK levels. Starting at HSK 1- which is the most basic- and going up to HSK 6, the most advanced level.In May 2020 a new HSK exam was announced. Here's what we know so far about the latest HSK exam.

HSK 1 and HSK 2 only test your listening and reading skills. In these HSK levels, pinyin is provided with all the characters. HSK 3 to HSK 6 test your listening, reading and writing abilities. Unfortunately, there’s no pinyin on these levels (but you’re going to know all your characters anyway... right?).

Also, you don’t need to be in China to take the test because there are testing centers all over the world.

Now you might be thinking, why take the exam? Is it important to have an HSK certification? And how will it benefit your language learning goals?

So, here are a few reasons why you should consider taking the HSK exam.

1. Study In China

Over the last few years, China has become a popular study destination.

More and more international students are coming here to further their tertiary education. The latest statistics show that almost 500,000 students from 196 countries are currently enrolled at a Chinese university.

And for good reason. China offers world class education facilities and many scholarships for international students.

At all universities, HSK is a prerequisite when you enroll in a program taught in Chinese. The minimum level is HSK 4 for a bachelors degree and HSK 6 for a masters.

If you enroll in a program taught in English, you don’t initially need an HSK certification. However, many universities require you have HSK 4 at the end of your studies in order to graduate.As for scholarships, there are plenty on offer for international students. And an HSK certification will give you a greater chance of receiving one of these scholarships.

Having your HSK 4 before going to university is definitely a good idea. Not only for everything mentioned above, but also for your daily student life. Your Chinese abilities will be at such a level that you’ll have a totally integrated university experience.

2. Getting A Job


The job market in China is VERY competitive.

With more Chinese students returning to China after completing their studies overseas (in countries like America, Canada and Australia) it’s way more difficult to get hired as a foreigner at a big Chinese company.

At most companies, an HSK certification is not required when applying for a job, but it will definitely count in your favor.

You must at least be on HSK 5 level, preferably HSK 6. Of course, you’ll have to learn vocabulary specific to your industry, but this will give you a great foundation. Imagine walking into a job interview. You're confident in your Chinese abilities and you know you’ll impress the interviewer. But will that be enough?

Employers want to know how committed you are to stay in China, and how you'll fit into the company. An HSK certificate will show you’ve invested a lot of time and effort learning the language and the culture. This will put the employer at ease and make you stick out from all the other job applicants.

Not to mention, your HSK certificate will improve your chances of getting a Chinese work visa.

3. Measure Your Progress

Now, the HSK exam is not only for applying to university or getting a great job. It's also a way – and this might be my favorite reason – to set personal language learning goals and measure the progress you've made.

Many students use the exam as motivation to learn Chinese. It's easy to stay on track if you have a clear goal in mind, and this will make the learning process structured and more fun. All the vocabulary and characters you learn in HSK are used in everyday life. Which means that when you reach HSK 3, you'll easily be able to order food, bargain at the market for better prices, talk to your taxi driver, and use Chinese apps like TaoBao and Měituán.

The certificate doesn't expire unless you're using it to apply to universities (then it's valid for two years). So, you can brag about your achievement for the rest of your life!

So what next?


There are many benefits to taking the HSK exam. Be it for university and scholarship applications, getting your dream job or just for self-improvement. All and all, there's no downside to taking the test.

If you're considering taking the HSK exam but not sure how or where to start, we can help.

From registering to preparing for the HSK we will be able to assist you every step of the way. If you want more information or to find out more about our live online HSK courses, contact our office by scanning the WeChat QR code below or emailing us at contact@cultureyard.netPost contributed by Hugo Radyn