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Introduction to The HSK

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

Although I have been studying Mandarin since 2006 and lived and worked in China from 2008 until 2013, I didn't meet anyone who had actually sat for the HSK until 2018. Perhaps because it was too daunting for many 老外, perhaps because many of my peers in Beijing already felt secure at their jobs. Whatever the reason, the HSK always felt like something to check off my list -- but later on.


After returning to the US to launch Manhattan Mandarin, I realized that signing up and taking the exam was far more difficult than I thought. We hoped Manhattan Mandarin could become a testing center but put this on the back-burner until Confucius Classrooms started disappearing left and right around 2018.


Under the leadership of our COO Michelle, our team officially became an HSK Testing Center and hosted our first test in the fall of 2022. We realized that the key to becoming a successful testing center was 3 fold.

  1. Make it easy for students / parents to sign up

  2. Prepare students for success through private and group classes

  3. Follow up to putting students on the path to complete the next level

This was a lot more difficult than we originally surmised and I'm incredibly proud of our HSK team for getting things off the ground. This post is to introduce the exam as a whole so students and parents feel less intimidated by the process. There will be follow-up posts about steps to success, signing up, and more.







What is the HSK?

The HSK is an international standardized test for Chinese proficiency established to assess the Chinese proficiency of non-native Chinese speakers (including foreigners, overseas Chinese, ethnic Chinese and Chinese minority candidates).

This exam is used to measure how well test-takers can use the Chinese language in their daily, academic and professional lives. The test is available to take around the world, multiple times each year at set dates.

HSK stands for: 汉语水平考试 (Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì) - Mandarin Level Exam

What are the HSK Levels?

Is there a new standard being released?

Why do I need to take the exam?

Where Can I take the HSK?

What is the test actually like?

What is a good score?

How much does it cost?

When can I take the exam?



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