HSK 3 Vocabulary List: All 600 Words You Need to Know to Pass HSK Level 3 Test

HSK 3 vocabulary list

环境 huánjìng… 突然 tūrán… 参加 cānjiā…

Do these words sound familiar to you? They’re some of the HSK 3 vocabulary words. If you’re going to take the HSK 3 test, it’s critical that you memorize all of them!

If you are not familiar with the test yet, the acronym HSK stands for Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (汉语水平考试), meaning “Chinese Proficiency Test”. HSK measures how good you are at Chinese with 6 competence levels, from HSK Level 1 to Level 6. HSK Level 3 is designed for elementary learners. It roughly corresponds to A2 in the CEFR scale.

HSK 3 is by no means a hard test, but passing it is still a big achievement worth celebrating, as it’s an indicator that you have actually expanded your vocabulary to the point where you depart from simple pointing and naming things to more direct information exchange. At this level, you should have learned enough Chinese words to handle basic conversations in your daily life, study, work, and you will no longer find yourself lost in translation when you travel solo in China!

Like with any other language test, a good vocabulary is vital if you want to pass or do well on HSK 3. So here’s the official HSK 3 vocabulary list and your quick guide to learning the necessary HSK 3 words.

Required Vocabulary for HSK 3 Test

So, how many Chinese words do you need to learn to pass the HSK 3 test?

Hanban – the HSK test organizer, made the answer crystal clear: to pass HSK Level 3, you need to know precisely 600 vocabulary words – that’s 300 new words on top of HSK Level 1 and Level 2. While the words that appear can vary slightly between tests, you can expect to see the words from the 600-word vocabulary list on any given HSK 3 test (not all the words will show up at once in one single test, though).

Here’s the official guideline from Hanban.

  • HSK1: 150 words
  • HSK2: 300 words
  • HSK3: 600 words
  • HSK4: 1200 words
  • HSK5: 2500 words
  • HSK6: 5000 words

What Else to Expect on HSK 3 Test

HSK 3 requirements

Unlike HSK 1 and HSK 2 that are designed for basic Chinese learners, HSK 3 has started to introduce more sophisticated knowledge of Chinese, therefore, Pinyin (Mandarin romanization) is no longer provided along with Hanzi – Chinese characters in the test. This means you must have a good knowledge of the 600 basic Chinese characters required for this level in order to pass the test (if you don’t write much, you should at least feel comfortable reading the characters).

The HSK test emphasizes integrative skills and tests your Chinese knowledge in usage. While there is a small section in HSK 3 that tests directly on your ability to write stand-alone Chinese characters/words, it’s more important that you can understand conversations and passages constructed with these 600 required vocabulary words. You’ll also need to have a good foundation of Chinese grammar to pass HSK 3.

The best place for studying HSK 3 grammar is ImproveMandarin Grammar Channel. It’s a great reference resource you can go to for a quick recap or overview of grammatical structures required for the HSK 3 test.

HSK 3 Vocabulary List  the 600 Words You Need to Know for HSK Level 3 Test

I’ll preface the list by saying that this 600-word HSK 3 vocabulary list is not meant to be “the most common 600 Chinese words” by frequency of use. Instead, this list is crafted specifically for passing the HSK 3 test.

For instance, 餐厅 (cāntīng) – the most commonly used Chinese word for “restaurant” – is not included in the HSK 3 vocabulary list. Instead, you will be tested on 饭馆 (fànguǎn), a much less popular word referring specifically to small, traditional Chinese restaurants (where rice is served) in HSK 3. Well… Hanban rules that you have to learn the latter one first!  

If your Chinese-learning goal does not align with the HSK system, but you still need an HSK 3 certificate for academic or professional purposes, we would suggest you start learning words that are more relevant to your daily speech after you pass the test.

But right now, let’s focus on the HSK 3 vocabulary and conquer the 600 required words first!

I’ve organized these words based on category (e.g. nouns, verbs, adjectives, and particles) rather than alphabetical order, and I’ve grouped the synonyms and antonyms, because Chinese words are easiest to learn when you associate them with related words.

Now, enjoy the list! 

(the words in color font are also required by HSK 1 and HSK 2)

17 Chinese Words for Numbers   

By now, you should be feeling very comfortable with numerals in Chinese, both cardinal and ordinal.

Pay attention to the more colloquial way of expressing numbers in Chinese. For example, to say “six hundred eighty”, native speakers would often just say 六百八 (liù bǎi bā), which almost sounds like “six hundred eight”. The zero(s) after the digit “eight” (or any number from one to nine) can be omitted. (Wondering why? Read here)

Below are the 17 Chinese words for number that you must master for the HSK 3 test.

ChinesePinyinEnglish
língzero
one
èrtwo
sānthree
four
five
liùsix
seven
eight
jiǔnine
shíten
liǎngtwo
bǎihundred
qiānthousand
wànten thousand
第一dì-yīfirst
bànhalf

Two new numeral words are added to the HSK 3 vocabulary list: 万 (wàn), which means “ten thousand”, and 半 (bàn) which means “half”.

Pay attention to the way 半 (bàn) is used in Chinese. When expressing “half of something”, begin with 半 (bàn), follow it up with the proper measure word, and finish by stating the “thing”:

  • 个西瓜
    bàn gè xīguā
    half a watermelon

When expressing “a half”, read out the “a” – 一 (yí) as well.

  • 我只要一半
    wǒ zhǐ yào yíbàn.
    I only need a half.

13 Chinese Pronouns

Three more pronouns are added to the HSK 3 vocabulary List, including the commonly used reflexive pronoun 自己 (zìjǐ), meaning “oneself”, 其他 (qítā) – “other” and 别人 (biéren) – “other people”.

自己 (zìjǐ) can be used together with personal pronouns to strengthen the emphasis of oneself:

  • 自己去。
    zìjǐ qù.
    I go by myself.
  • 自己学中文。
    zìjǐ xué Zhōngwén.
    He studies Chinese on his own.

自己 (zìjǐ) can also be used independently as the subject or object of a sentence. This is especially common when native speakers of Chinese want to give commands, suggestions, or as a reminder to oneself.

  • 自己
    Zuò zìjǐ!
    Be yourself!
  • 照顾好自己
    Zhàogù hǎo zìjǐ.
    Take good care of yourself。
ChinesePinyinEnglish
I or me
you (singular)
nínyou (singular/honorific)
he or him
she or her
它  it
我们wǒmenwe or me
自己zìjǐoneself
大家dàjiāeverybody
其他qítāother
别人biérenother people
这/这儿zhè/zhèrthis/here
那/那儿nà/nàrthat/there

Note that when 这 (this) and 那 (that) are used with a measure word right behind them, they are often pronounced zhèi and nèi in spoken Chinese, instead of zhè and nà:

  • 这辆车我太喜欢了。
    Zhè liàng chē wǒ tài xǐhuan le.
    I like this car so much.
  • 那个人是我的朋友。
    Nèi ge rén shì wǒ de péngyou. 
    That guy is my friend.

You can also use 那个 (nà ge/nèi ge) as a filler word in a sentence to help you sound more natural when you speak Chinese. (Read here to find out how it works)

8 Chinese Question Words      

The questions words required for HSK 3 remain the same as those required for HSK 2. So…no surprise here.

ChinesePinyinEnglish
哪/哪儿nǎ/nǎrwhich/where
shéiwho
什么shénme what
多少duōshaohow many or how much
how many or how much
怎么zěnmehow
怎么样zěnmeyàng how about
为什么wèi shénmewhy

You do, however, need to learn how to them in more sophisticated sentence patterns at this point. For example, making words and phrases like “everywhere”, “nowhere”, “everyone” “no one” etc by combing questions words with the adverb 都 (dōu):

  • 哪儿都没去。
     nǎr dōu méi qù.
    I didn’t go anywhere.
  • 这儿我谁都不认识。
    Zhèr wǒ shéi dōu bú rènshi.
    I don’t know anyone here.
  • 什么都想吃。
    Wǒ shénme dōu xiǎng chī.
    I want to eat everything.

34 Chinese Words for Time      

At HSK level 3, you need to master 13 new words related to time in Chinese.

Pay attention to 星期 (xīngqī) and 周 (zhōu) – two common ways of saying “week” in Chinese. Though 周 (zhōu) is not the “officially favored” word that’s taught to foreigners when they first start Chinese learning, it’s the preferred word by cultivated city people in China – it’s slightly more formal.

The words 星期 (xīngqī) and 周 (zhōu) are interchangeable most of the time. But bear in mind while you can use the optional measure word 个 (gè) before 星期 (xīngqī), it would be wrong to do so with 周 (zhōu):

  • √ 一星期 yì xīngqī
  • √ 一个星期 yí gè xīngqī
  • √ 一周 yì zhōu
  • × 一个周 yí gè zhōu

Also, for “weekend”, you can only say 周末 (zhōumò), NEVER 星期末 (xīngqī mò).

You can learn more differences between 星期 (xīngqī) and 周 (zhōu), and the third way of saying “week” in Chinese here in this article.

ChinesePinyinEnglish
现在  xiànzàinow
刚才gāngcáijust now
今天jīntiāntoday
明天míngtiāntomorrow
昨天zuótiānyesterday
早上zǎoshàngearly morning
上午shàngwǔmorning
中午zhōngwǔnoon
下午xiàwǔafternoon
晚上wǎnshàngevening
diǎno’clock
小时 xiǎoshíhour
分钟fēnzhōngminute
niányear
yuèmonth
day
hàodate or number
星期  xīngqīweek
周末zhōumòweekend
时候shíhoua certain point in time
时间shíjiāna period of time
一会儿yíhuìra short while
以前yǐqiánbefore or ago
以后yǐhòuafter or later
最近zuìjìnrecent time
过去guòqùpast
去年qùniánlast year
季节jìjiéseason
chūnspring
xiàsummer
qiūautumn
dōngwinter
节日jiérìfestival
生日shēngrìbirthday

162 Chinese Words for People & Things   

HSK 3 expects you to know 162 nouns related to people and things to pass.

Some of the words might not seem very useful if you live abroad, but they turn out to be very important in Chinese society or culture, e.g. 阿姨 (āyí) – “maid”, 筷子 (kuàizi) -”chopsticks”, 熊猫 (xióngmāo) – “panda”, etc. These words could pop up anywhere on an HSK 3 test, so you still have to learn them even if you never use them in your language.

Here is the full list.

ChinesePinyinEnglish
rénperson or people
男人nánrénman
女人nǚrénwoman
名字míngzìname
妈妈māmamom
爸爸bàbadad
丈夫zhàngfuhusband
妻子qīziwife
孩子háizichild
儿子érzison
女儿nǚ’ér daughter
哥哥gēgeelder brother
姐姐jiějieelder sister
弟弟dìdiyounger brother
妹妹mèimeiyounger sister
爷爷yéyegrandpa
奶奶nǎinaigrandma
叔叔shūshuuncle
阿姨āyíaunt or maid
朋友péngyǒufriend
客人kèrenguest
邻居línjūneighbor
先生xiānshengMr or sir
小姐xiǎojiěMiss
老师lǎoshīteacher
学生xuésheng student
同学tóngxuéschoolmate
同事tóngshìcolleague
校长xiàozhǎnghead of a school
医生yīshēngdoctor
司机sījīdriver
服务员fúwùyuánwaiter or waitress
经理jīnglǐmanager
身体shēntǐbody
liǎnface
眼睛yǎnjīngeye
耳朵ěrduoear
鼻子bízinose
kǒumouth
头发tóufahair
tuǐleg
jiǎofoot
声音shēngyīnsound or voice
东西  dōngxithing
qiánmoney
shuǐwater
茶  chátea
咖啡kāfēicoffee
牛奶niúnǎimilk
面包miànbāobread
蛋糕dàngāocake
tángcandy or sugar
càidish
米饭mǐfàn (cooked) rice
面条miàntiáonoodle
鸡蛋jīdànegg
fish
羊肉yángròulamb or mutton
菜单càidānmenu
衣服yīfuclothes
衬衫chènshānshirt
裤子kùzipants
裙子qúnziskirt
帽子màozihat or cap
xiéshoe
bāobag
行李箱xínglǐxiāngsuitcase
sǎnumbrella
眼镜yǎnjìngglasses
shūbook
报纸bàozhǐnewspaper
字典zìdiǎndictionary
地图dìtúmap
piàoticket
xìnletter
照片zhàopiànphoto
护照hùzhàopassport
照相机zhàoxiàngjīcamera
桌子zhuōzi table or desk
椅子yǐzichair
黑板hēibǎnblackboard
铅笔qiānbǐpencil
水果shuǐguǒfruit
苹果píngguǒapple
香蕉xiāngjiāobanana
西瓜xīguāwatermelon
葡萄pútáogrape
果汁guǒzhījuice
啤酒píjiǔbeer
cǎograss
yàomedicine
杯子bēizi cup or glass
wǎnbowl
筷子kuàizichopsticks
盘子pánziplate
手表shǒubiǎowatch
手机shǒujīmobile phone
电视diànshìTV
电脑diànnǎocomputer
电子邮件diànzǐ yóujiànemail
冰箱bīngxiāngrefrigerator
空调kōngtiáoair conditioner
dēnglight
电影diànyǐng movie
礼物lǐwùgift
飞机fēijī plane
出租车chūzūchētaxi
公共汽车gōnggòng qìchēbus
地铁dìtiěmetro
自行车zìxíngchēbike
chuánboat
méndoor
电梯diàntīelevator
颜色yánsècolor
动物dòngwùanimal
māocat
gǒudog
horse
熊猫xióngmāopanda
niǎobird
shùtree
天气tiānqìweather
太阳tàiyángsun
月亮yuèliangmoon
yúncloud
xuěsnow
zì character
词语cíyǔword
句子jùzisentence
汉语Hànyǔ Chinese (language)
普通话pǔtōnghuà(standard) Mandarin
数学shùxuémath
lesson
bānclass
年级niánjígrade
作业zuòyèhomework
考试kǎoshìexam
成绩chéngjìscore
水平shuǐpínglevel or standard
问题wèntíquestion
question (exam, exercise)
意思yìsimeaning
事情 shìqingmatter
兴趣xìngqùinterest
爱好àihàohobby
音乐yīnyuèmusic
体育tǐyùsports or physical education
办法bànfǎmethod
习惯xíguànhabit
比赛bǐsàimatch
游戏yóuxìgame
故事gùshistory
关系guānxìrelation
环境huánjìngenvironment
会议huìyìmeeting
机会jīhuìopportunity or chance
节目jiémùprogram
世界shìjièworld
历史lìshǐhistory
文化wénhuàculture
新闻xīnwénnews
作用zuòyòngeffect

43 Chinese Words for Places & Directions        

At the HSK 3 level, you should be able to speak sufficient Chinese for traveling in China by yourself. Make sure you fully understand the following 43 words for places and directions from the HSK 3 vocabulary list before you head out on your adventure.

ChinesePinyinEnglish
中国ZhōngguóChina
北京BěijīngBeijing
国家guójiānation
城市chéngshìcity
地方dìfāngplace
jiāhome or family
lóubuilding or floor
房间fángjiānroom
厨房chúfángkitchen
洗手间xǐshǒujiānwashroom
学校xuéxiàoschool
教室jiàoshìclassroom
图书馆túshūguǎnlibrary
公司gōngsīcompany
办公室bàngōngshìoffice
饭馆fànguǎnrestaurant
宾馆bīngguǎnhotel
商店shāngdiànshop
超市chāoshìsupermarket
公园gōngyuánpark
花园huāyuángarden
银行yínhángbank
医院yīyuànhospital
机场jīchǎngairport
火车站huǒchēzhàntrain station
road
街道jiēdàostreet
river
shàngon, above or last
xiàunder, below or next
左边zuǒbiānleft
右边yòubiānright
中间zhōngjiānmiddle
旁边pángbiānside
附近fùjìnsurrounding area
前面qiánmiànfront
后面hòumiànback
lǐ inside
wàioutside
dōngeast
nánsouth
西west
北方běifāngnorth or northern China

Note that words like 旁边 (pángbiān), 附近 (fùjìn) are used as nouns in Chinese:

  • 在我家的附近
    zài wǒ jiā de fùjìn
    in the surrounding area of my home
    Literally: “my home’s surrounding area
  • 附近有家银行。
    Fùjìn yǒu jiā yínháng.
    There is a bank in the vicinity.
    Literally: “Vicinity has a bank.”

A common mistake is to use them as adjectives or prepositions.

  • × 学校离我家附近
    Xuéxiào lí wǒ jiā fùjìn.
    Wrong way to say “The school is near my home.”

Use the adjective “近 (jìn)” instead:

  • √ 学校离我家
    Xuéxiào lí wǒ jiā jìn.
  • × 超市附近宾馆
    chāoshì fùjìn bīnguǎn
    Wrong way to say “the supermarket near the hotel”

    √ 宾馆附近的超市
    bīnguǎn fùjìn de chāoshì
    Literally: “hotel vicinity’s supermarket”

21 Chinese Measure Words  

Whenever you learn a new noun in Chinese, you have to memorize the corresponding measure word that goes with it. To pass HSK 3, you need to master 21 measure words altogether.

ChinesePinyinEnglish
generic measure word
yuánbasic monetary unit of China
kuàibasic monetary unit of China
jiǎo1/10 of Chinese Yuan
wèimeasure word for people
běnfor books
suì year (of age)
xiēsome
time (frequency of an act)
公斤gōngjīnkilo
meter
jiànfor affairs, clothes, furniture
zhāngfor flat objects
tiáofor long objects
liàngfor vehicles
for things with a handle
zhǒngtype
céngfloor
shuāngpair
duànspan of time or distance
quarter (time)

Note that Chinese measure words tend to work differently than their English counterparts, even if they share the same meaning.

For example: You can’t say 一双裤子 (yì shuāng kùzi) in Chinese like “a pair of pants” in English. Instead, you should say 一条裤子 (yì tiáo kùzi). This is because the measure word 双 (shuāng) can only used for pair of things that are separated, such as shoes, chopsticks, eyes, etc. It can not be used to quantify things like pants, glasses, scissors which are treated as one inseparable entity in Chinese.

Also note that sometimes people use different measure words to quantify the same item, and the choice would depend on which characteristic they wish to emphasize.

For example, 张 (zhāng),  把 (bǎ),  条(tiáo) – all these measure words can be used to count “chairs” in Chinese.

measure word zhang

一张椅子  yì zhāng yǐzi
measure word ba

一把椅子  yì bǎ yǐzi
measure word tiao

一条长椅  yì tiáo cháng yǐ

(We’ve written a detailed post on how to use these common measure words in Chinese. Read it here)

153 Chinese Verbs       

Verbs in language are used to help us express ourselves clearly. In the HSK 3 test, you will be tested on the following 153 verbs that contribute to over 1/4 of the official HSK 3 vocabulary list.

Chinese verbs can often contain several meanings of the English verbs, especially when they are combined with other words. In the below list, I simply focus on their most common meanings you need to know for taking HSK 3.

ChinesePinyinEnglish
zuòto do
shìto be
xìngto be surnamed
zàito be in
yǒuto have
zhùto live or to stay
láito come
to go
huíto return
jìnto enter
chūto get out
dàoto arrive
xiǎngto think
yàoto want
需要xūyàoto need
chīto eat
to drink
说话shuōhuà to speak
jiǎngto say or to speak
告诉gàosùto tell
wènto ask
回答huídáto answer
kànto look or to watch
看见kànjiànto see
tīngto listen
xiàoto smile or to laugh
to cry
见面jiànmiànto meet
遇到yùdàoto encounter
gěito give
sòngto give as a gift or to deliver
dàito bring
to hold or to take
fàngto put
jiàoto call
mǎito buy
màito sell
穿chuānto wear
kāito drive or to open
guānto close or to shut
zuòto sit
zhànto stand
to read
xiě to write
huàto draw or to paint
děngto wait
huāto spend or to cost
打电话dǎ diànhuàto make a phone call
介绍jièshàoto introduce
认识rènshi to know
知道zhīdaoto know
了解liǎojiěto know well  
觉得juédéto feel or to think
认为rènwéito think or to consider
以为yǐwéito think (wrongly)
dǒng to understand
明白míngbaito understand
zhǎoto find
发现fāxiànto discover
记得jìdeto remember
忘记wàngjìto forget
让 ràngto let
使shǐto make
yòngto use
希望  xīwàngto hope
帮助bāngzhùto help
帮忙bāngmángto help
wánto play
学习xuéxí to learn
jiāoto teach
复习fùxíto review
上网shàngwǎngto get online
工作gōngzuò to work
上班shàng bānto go to work
睡觉shuìjiàoto sleep
起床qǐ chuángto get up
刷牙shuāyáto brush teeth
洗澡xǐzǎoto bathe
喜欢xǐhuanto like
àito love
唱歌chàng gēto sing
跳舞tiào wǔto dance
旅游lǚyóuto travel
运动yùndòngto do sports
zǒuto walk
跑步pǎo bùto run
游泳yóu yǒngto swim
to ride
踢足球tī zúqiúto play soccer
打篮球dǎ lánqiúto play basketball
爬山pá shānto climb mountain
锻炼duànliànto work out
休息xiūxito rest
生病shēng bìngto get sick
发烧fāshāoto have a fever
感冒gǎnmàoto have a cold
téngto ache
to wash
开始kāishǐto begin
wánto finish
结束jiéshùto end
完成wánchéngto complete or accomplish
打算dǎsuànto plan
决定juédìngto decide
选择xuǎnzéto choose
准备.zhǔnbèito prepare
同意tóngyìto agree
解决jiějuéto solve
担心dānxīnto worry
生气shēngqìto get angry
欢迎huānyíngto welcome
bānto move
huánto return (sth)
jiēto catch or to pick up
比较bǐjiàoto compare
变化biànhuàto change
huànto exchange
jièto borrow or to lend
表示biǎoshìto express
要求yāoqiúto require
zhùto wish
注意zhùyìto pay attention to
表演biǎoyǎnto perform
参加cānjiāto attend
迟到chídàoto be late
出现chūxiànto appear
离开líkāito leave
经过jīngguòto pass
练习liànxíto practice
提高tígāoto improve
检查jiǎncháto check
打扫dǎsǎoto clean
相信xiāngxìnto believe
放心fàngxīnto rest assured
着急zháojíto worry
关心guānxīnto concern
照顾zhàogùto look after
fēnto divide or separate
zhǎngto grow
gǎnto dare
害怕hàipàto fear
小心xiǎoxīnto be careful
影响yǐngxiǎngto affect
结婚jiéhūnto marry
举行jǔxíngto hold (event)
huìcan (to know how to)
néng can (to be able to)
可以kěyǐcan (to be permitted to)
必须bìxūmust
应该yīnggāishould
愿意yuànyìto be willing to
下雨xià yǔto rain
刮风guā fēngto blow (wind)

In English, some words may work as both a verb and a noun. For example, “I plan to leave” vs “I have a plan”. This phenomenon is even more common in Chinese.

Examples:

  • 选择上大学。
    xuǎnzé shàng dàxué.
    I choose to go to college.

    这是一个聪明的选择
    Zhè shì yí gè cōngmíng de xuǎnzé.
    This is a smart choice.
  • 学校要求我们参加汉语考试。
    Xuéxiào yāoqiú wǒmen cānjiā Hànyǔ kǎoshì.
    The school requires us to take the Chinese exam.

    我只有一个要求
    Wǒ zhǐ yǒu yí gè yāoqiú.
    I only have one requirement.

To do well on the HSK 3 test, you have to dedicate yourself to mastering these common verbs and also pay attention to what part of speech they perform in a Chinese sentence.

109 Chinese Adjectives and Adverbs     

Adjectives and adverbs in language are used to describe people, things and actions. The below is the full list of the 109 Chinese adjectives and adverbs that you must know for taking the HSK 3 test.

Note that some seemingly simple adjectives in Chinese are truly versatile. One example is 难 (nán) – “difficult”. When combined with verbs, its meaning becomes much more diverse:

  • 这咖啡真难喝!
    Zhè kāfēi zhēn nánhē!
    This coffee is really disgusting! (“difficult to drink”)
  • 你别唱了!难听死了
    Nǐ bié chàng le! Nántīng sǐ le!
    Stop singing! Sounds dreadful! (“difficult to listen to”)
  • 这是一个难忘的故事!
    Zhè shì yí gè nánwàng de gùshi!
    This is an unforgettable story! (“difficult-to-forget” story)

Be sure to familiarize yourself with compound words like these before you dive into the HSK 3 test. (Read here to learn more)

ChinesePinyinEnglish
好   hǎogood
huàibad
chàbad (in quality)
big
xiǎosmall
duōmany
shǎofew
hot
lěngcold
kuàifast
mànslow
yuǎnfar
jìnnear
duìright
cuòwrong
chánglong
jiǔlong (in time)
duǎnshort
gāotall or high
ǎishort (in height)
low
pàngfat
shòuthin
xīnnew
jiùold or used
年轻niánqīngyoung
lǎoold (in age)
guìexpensive
便宜piányicheap
hēiblack
báiwhite
hóngred
huángyellow
lánblue
绿green
qíngsunny
yīncloudy
好吃hǎochītasty
tiánsweet
新鲜xīnxiānfresh
容易róngyìeasy
简单jiǎndānsimple
nándifficult
奇怪qíguàistrange
特别tèbiéspecial
重要zhòngyàoimportant
有名yǒumíngfamous
漂亮piàoliangpretty
聪明cōngmingsmart
可爱Kě’àicute
高兴gāoxìnghappy
快乐kuàilèhappy
难过nánguòsad
满意mǎnyìsatisfied
mángbusy
lèitired
饿èhungry
thirsty
bǎofull
相同xiāngtóngsame
一样yíyàngsame
主要zhǔyàomain
方便fāngbiànconvenient
安静ānjìngquiet
干净gānjìngclean
清楚qīngchuclear
健康jiànkānghealthy
舒服shūfucomfortable
热情rèqíngenthusiastic
认真rènzhēnserious or careful
努力nǔlìstudious or hardworking
hěnvery
非常fēichángextremely
extremely
tàitoo…
多么duōmehow…
dōuboth or all
not
méinot
每  měievery
zuìmost
zhēnreally
also
háistill
再  zàiagain
yòuagain
zhǐonly
jiǜat once
马上mǎshàngimmediately
cáijust
gèngmore
yuèmore
biédon’t…
xiānfirst
已经 yǐjīngalready
几乎jīhūalmost
一定yídìngdefinitely
一起  yìqǐtogether
一共yígòngaltogether
可能  kěnéngmaybe
其实qíshíactually
突然tūránsuddenly
正在zhèngzàiindicating action in progress
一边yìbiānat the same time
终于zhōngyúfinally
总是zǒngshìalways
经常jīngchángoften
一般yìbāngenerally
一直yìzhíconstantly

Pay attention to the synonyms in the list. For example, 再 (zài) and 又 (yòu): they are both translated as “again” in English. However, 再 (zài) is used to describe actions that have not yet occurred (the “future again”) and 又 (yòu) is used for actions that have already occurred (the “past again”):

  • 我明天来。
    Wǒ míngtián zài lái.
    I’ll come again tomorrow.
  • 他昨天来了。
    Tā zuótiān yòu lái le.
    He came again yesterday.

Besides, the two adverbs have some additional distinct usages. You’ll definitively be quizzed on how to use these words correctly on the HSK 3 test. So…be prepared!

12 Chinese Prepositions

“Good for me?” or “Good to me”? I have to admit that it took me ages to finally figure out how to use prepositions properly in English – even the most basic ones!

Now here’s the revenge from Chinese…

Joke aside, to do well on the HSK 3 test, you really have to know the below 12 Chinese prepositions well. Pay attention to the subtle difference in their usage. For example: 为 (wèi) is used to introduce the object of an action, and 为了 (wèile) is used to introduce the purpose or reason of an action:

  • 你高兴。
    wèi nǐ gāoxìng.
    I am happy for you.
  • 为了健康,我每天都锻炼。
    Wèile jiànkāng, wǒ měi tiān dōu duànliàn.
    For the sake of health, I work out every day.
ChinesePinyinEnglish
从 cóngfrom
 xiàngtowards
 away from
than
gēnwith
bèiby
wèifor (sb/sth)
为了wèilefor (purpose)
关于guānyúabout, regarding
xiàngas or like
除了chúlebesides or except
根据gēnjùaccording to

10 Chinese Particles     

Chinese particles don’t have a concrete meaning on their own, but they are used all the time in daily Chinese with other words, phrases to serve grammatical purposes in a sentence. To pass HSK 3, you need to learn two more particles on top of the eight required by HSK 1 and HSK 2.

Pay special attention to the three “de” in Chinese. Though they sound the same, each has very different usages: 的 is used to mark possession, working like ‘s (apostrophe + s) in English. 地 marks adverbs, or converts adjectives into adverbs. And 得 is used as part of a verb complement.

ChinesePinyinEnglish
depossession particle
destructure particle
destructure particle
leaspect particle
zheaspect particle
guòaspect particle
maquestion particle
nequestion particle
baquestion particle
aexclamatory particle

10 Chinese Conjunctions   

Conjunctions in language are those tiny little words that connect other words, phrases, and sentences. They re small but vital for making your sentences more logical. To pass HSK 3, you must master the below 10 basic conjunctions in Chinese.   

Take note that some conjunctions are supposed to be used together in one sentence. For instance, whenever you start a sentence with 虽然 (suīrán) -“although”, you have to follow it up with 但是 (dànshì) – “but” (or words alike) to clearly express contradiction or concession. To English speakers, this type of grammar pattern could take a little getting used to. (Read here to learn more)

ChinesePinyinEnglish
and
但是dànshìbut
虽然suīránalthough
因为yīnwèibecause
所以suǒyǐso
还是háishìor
或者huòzhěor
然后ránhòuthen, afterwards
如果rúguǒif
而且érqiěmoreover

8 Chinese Expressions  

Finally, Chinese expressions!

By now you should definitely be very comfortable using the expressions presented in the HSK 3 vocabulary list, as 7 out of 8 of them are already required by HSK 1 and HSK 2. Only one more expression – 当然 (dāngrán) is added. And of course, it means…”of course”.

ChinesePinyinEnglish
wèihello (on the phone)
谢谢xièxiethanks
不客气bú kèqi you’re welcome
再见zàijiàngoodbye
qǐng  please…
对不起duìbuqǐsorry
没关系méi guānxiit’s all right
当然dāngránof course

Easy-peasy, isn’t it?

Don’t take it granted! These simple expressions, when combined with other basic words, can mean a lot more! For example:

  • 别想当然
    Bié xiǎng dāngrán.

“Don’t think of course?” Guess what that’s supposed to mean.

Well, it means “Don’t take it for granted”! Another useful Chinese expression, isn’t it?

(You can learn more basic Chinese phrases and expressions in this article)

HSK 3 Vocabulary Practice: The Best Way to Memorize HSK 3 Words

HSK 3 vocabulary practice

All right, now you’ve seen the HSK 3 vocabulary list and know exactly what you should study. But what’s the best way to memorize all these words?

In my opinion, the best way to memorize the HSK 3 vocabulary (or any other level) is to use flashcards and create a maximum number of “exposures” to the new vocabulary in real life, that is, to surround yourself with the new words, allowing them to transfer naturally from short-term memory into long-term memory.

Here’s how you can do it with 3 simple steps.

Step 1. Select and Create Your Own HSK 3 Vocabulary List

Don’t sit on our HSK 3 vocabulary list just because it’s readily available for you.

Instead, select and create your own HSK 3 vocabulary list out of it by browsing our list first and then jotting down the words you don’t know in a notebook. The purpose here is to force yourself to see and write the words for yourself. Make them your Chinese vocabulary words, not anyone else’s.

Step 2. Use Flashcards

Flashcards are a highly-effective way to review Chinese words. You can do it the old fashion and make actual, physical flashcards. To do so, simply write down the words you’re unfamiliar with in your list, with characters on one side, and explanations and sentence examples on the other side. This process itself gives you additional exposure to the new words.

memorize HSK 3 vocabulary words

If you have less time to spend, then make use of flashcards apps such as Anki or Memrise which can run on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and any device with a web browser. You can review the words while commuting to school or work. These apps make use of spaced repetition – a smart algorithm that only shows you the flashcards that you’re about to forget. Amazing, isn’t it?

Step 3. Get Out There and Try New Words

It’s all very well to recognize the words from vocabulary lists or flashcards, but the tricky part is being able to use these words accurately and convincingly to pass HSK 3, and to speak Chinese.

So get out there and speak! Get more exposure! Force yourself to use these new words with native Chinese speakers near where you live or online. The way native speakers respond to your shaky, early uses of new vocabulary will reinforce the meaning and usage of these words like nothing else.

If you can’t find people to practice these words with you, look them up in a dictionary app such as Pleco and read the example sentences. These sentences will provide numerous more exposures to the words in context. You can even use Google or Baidu to identify how these Chinese words are actually used, a method that’s surprisingly effective.

Bottom line: it’s important to not just memorize Chinese words from a word list. Learn how the words are used in context, and they will more easily stick in your long-term memory.

And practice every day! Rinse and repeat until the test!

FAQs about HSK 3 Vocabulary

1. To pass the HSK 3 test, do I have to know all the 600 words required?

Technically you don’t have to. You certainly won’t encounter all the words in the HSK 3 vocabulary list in one single test, and you only need to score 180 out of 300 to pass the test, meaning you can chance it. But it goes without saying that the more you know, the better chance you stand. It’s worth pointing out that most of these 600 words are still among the most basic, essential words you’ll need to speak Chinese (at all), so you should master them anyway and build your vocabulary from there.

2. Do I need to know how to write these words to pass the HSK?

The writing section of the HSK 3 test is relatively short (only 15 minutes), but it does constitute 1/3 of the total test score (100/300). So take it seriously.

If you take the traditional paper-based test, you do need to know how to write down the characters. But if you take the internet-based test, you don’t have to write down every character physically, instead, you can type the Pinyin and then select the characters shown on the screen. Though you still need to know which character to apply, you can’t get the script of the character wrong this way. (Just learn that not all HSK test centers have adequate facilities to conduct the internet-based test)

That being said, it’s still a good idea to knock out the basic Chinese characters at an early stage. Characters help you remember vocabulary better, read with ease (making learning through native resources easier), and have a deeper understanding of how the Chinese language works. Click here for a quick brush-up on the HSK 3 characters.

What’s Next?

study for HSK 3

There are endless directions you can take for learning Chinese. Now that you’ve got the 600 HSK 3 vocabulary words, you can figure out what’s best for you and start applying it!

If you need more information on the HSK 3 test, then check out our in-depth guide to HSK 3 test preparation where you’ll not only find the latest test dates, centers, registration info, but also all the important tips, tricks, and study resources to help you ace the test!  

Not sure if the HSK 3 test is right for you? Then take our free HSK 3 practice test online to try it out! It’ll give you a good feel for what you can expect from the real test. We’ve also included a detailed explanation of the HSK 3 test pattern, section by section. Get it right here.

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