HSK Level 2: Your Complete Guide for 2024

HSK level 2

So you’ve learned a few basic words and phrases in Chinese and decided it’s time to move up a gear? Then HSK Level 2 is a good starting point!

If you don’t know yet, HSK 2 is a useful benchmark for learners to gauge their abilities in basic Chinese. Since it is the second-easiest HSK test, advanced knowledge of the language is not required. However, understanding of the core vocabulary and the basics of grammar is essential to passing both the listening and reading sections of the exam.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the HSK 2 test format, its structure, content, section by section, and show you a list of resources that you can utilize to make your HSK 2 studying much easier, and increase your chance of passing.

I’ll also cover the latest info on HSK 2 test dates, centers, fees, and a quick guide on how to register for the test. And if you want to get a feel for the exam, you can take a free practice test (or two) on your computer through the links I include in this article.

Sound good?

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

HSK 2 Introduction

If you are not familiar with HSK and its levels yet, here is some quick background information.

HSK is the acronym for “Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi”, which literally means “Chinese Level Test” but is usually translated to “Chinese Proficiency Test”. The organizer of HSK is Hanban (汉办), an affiliation of the Chinese Ministry of Education that also runs the Confucius Institutes worldwide.

HSK measures a learner’s mastery of Mandarin Chinese with 6 competence levels (6 independent tests), from level 1 to level 6The second level – HSK 2 is the second easiest test after HSK 1, and it is designed for beginners who’ve been learning Chinese for 2-3 months in a committed fashion. If you are now at a point where you can say (not reciting) simple sentences about yourself and your daily routine in Chinese, then it’s time for you to take HSK 2.

HSK 2 is a fairly easy test. It corresponds to basic Chinese skills, or A1+ when converted to the CEFR scale. At this level, you’re not occupied with Chinese characters yet as Pinyin is provided all along with characters on the test paper. And there is no writing section.

That being said, Hanban – the test organizer, did give a specific requirement on the minimum vocabulary you have to possess to pass the HSK 2 test: 300 words. Of course, you’re supposed to understand how these words work in context, as well as the grammar behind them at this level.

HSK 2 Test Format

HSK 2 test format

The HSK 2 test has two different formats: internet-based and paper-based. 

The internet-based HSK 2 is a 52-minute computer-adaptive test, whereas the paper-based HSK 2 is a 55-minute paper-and-pencil test. Though the name “internet-based” may suggest it, there is no way you can take the test on your own computer at home. For both formats, you need to go to a physical testing center.

The HSK 2 test contains two sections: Listening and Reading. It has neither speaking nor writing component. The overall test time of the paper-based exam is three minutes longer to allow you to transfer your answers from the test paper to the answer sheet in the Listening section.

Though the formats are different, both versions of the HSK 2 test have the same questions and timing for each section and are graded in the same way. You’ll always have 25 minutes on Listening, and 22 minutes on Reading.

HSK 2 Test Structure

The HSK 2 test consists of 40 questions (35 listening questions and 25 reading questions). Below is a quick summary of the overall HSK 2 test structure.

Section Internet-based HSK 2Paper-based HSK 2Number of Questions
Added Time/5 min (fill in personal info)/
Listening25 mins25 min35
Added Time5 mins (break)3 mins (fill out answer sheet)/
Reading22 mins22 mins25
Total 52 mins55 mins 60

You’ll have a 5-minute break in the middle of the internet-based test, between the Listening and Reading sections. This break is mandatory, meaning you must take it. You may take other breaks during the test, but you won’ be able to pause the timer for these.

Now I’ll guide you through the type of questions and content that you shall encounter in each test section so that you’ll have a deeper understanding of the HSK 2 structure.

1. Listening Section

In Listening – the first section on the HSK 2 test, you’ll listen to 35 short audio clips, each complete with 1 question. Each audio clip will be played twice. This section takes 25 minutes to complete.

The HSK 2 listening section involves 3 types of questions: answering true or false questions, choosing the picture that fits the dialogue, and multiple choice.

I explain how they work below.

  • Part 1: True or False

    There are 10 questions in the first part, where you’ll listen to 10 audio clips, each consisting of one sentence. In the meantime, a picture will be presented on the screen or test paper. You need to determine for each question if the picture is consistent with the statement you hear.
  • Part 2: Choose the Matching Picture

    The second part of Listening also contains 10 questions. In this part, you’ll listen to 10 short dialogues, each comprising 2 sentences. Several pictures will be presented on the screen or test paper in random order, and you need to choose the one that best fits the content of each dialogue.

  • Part 3: Multiple Choice

    In the third part, you’ll listen to 10 short dialogues, each containing 2 sentences. At the end of each dialogue, a third person will raise a question. For each question, three answer options will be given on the screen or test paper (the question itself will not be shown). You need to choose the best answer based on the content of each dialogue.

  • Part 4: Multiple Choice

    The last part of the HSK 2 listening section is still multiple choice. It’s quite similar to the third part, only that the dialogues you’ll hear are longer (each consists of 4-5 sentences). At the end of each dialogue, a third person will raise a question (the question won’t appear on the screen/test paper), and you need to select the best answer from the three available answer options presented. There are 5 questions in this part.

Here’s a chart that summarizes the content info of the HSK 2 Listening section.

Part Audio Clip TypeNumber of ClipsQuestions/Clip
True or FalseStatement101
Choose the Matching PictureDialogue101
Multiple ChoiceDialogue & Question101
Multiple ChoiceDialogue & Question51

2. Reading Section

Reading – the second section on the HSK 2 test mainly tests your knowledge of basic Chinese grammar and vocabulary in context. This section has altogether 25 questions (test items) and takes 22 minutes to complete.

There are 4 question types in this section: choosing the matching picture, filling in the blanks, answering true or false questions, and pair up sentences.

Let me explain each of the question types below.

  • Part 1: Choose the Matching Picture

    There are 5 test items in the first part, where you’ll see five pictures and five sentences in jumbled order on the screen or test paper. You need to find the correlation among them and link each sentence with the corresponding picture that reflects its content.

  • Part 2: Fill in the Blanks

    The second part of the reading section also contains 5 test items, each displaying one or two sentences with one word missing. You’ll be given a list of word options and need to pick the most appropriate word to fill in the blank space.

  • Part 3: True or False

    You’ll be looking at 5 test items in the third part of the HSK 2 reading section. Each of the items contains two sentences, and you need to determine whether the two sentences are consistent with each other.

  • Part 4: Pair up Sentences

    In the last part, you’ll encounter 10 items containing 20 sentences in jumbled order. You need to find the correlation among the sentences and pair them up.

Here’s a chart that summarizes the content info of the HSK 2 Reading section.

Part Number of Questions
Choose the Matching Picture5
Fill in the Blanks5
True or False5
Pair up Sentences10

HSK 2 Results & Certificate

Once you’ve taken the HSK 2 test, your test papers will be mailed to Hanban headquarters in Beijing for grading (if you take the internet-based test, they will be uploaded to the Hanban servers).

Your score report will be ready on the HSK website approximately 2 weeks after you take the internet-based test or 1 month after you take the paper-based test. Two section scores and one total score will be included in the score report. Depending on the total score, you either pass or fail the test.

Both the listening and reading sections are scored out of 100 points for a total of 200. To pass HSK level 2, you need to score at least 120 points in total.

If you pass the HSK 2 test, Hanban will give you a certificate to certify your Chinese competence. The HSK 2 certificate has permanent validity. It’s like a diploma. Once you receive it, it becomes your property and is valid forever.

If you plan to use your HSK scores to apply to a college or university in China, then your HSK scores will only be valid for two years commencing from your test date. Of course, no school would actually ask you for proof of your HSK 2 proficiency. Something between HSK 5 and HSK 6 is usually required to get admitted. (Learn the HSK requirements for major Chinese Universities here)

Should You take the HSK 2?

“Is it worth the time, money, and effort to take the HSK 2 test?”, I get asked all the time.

should i take HSK 2

My stance is clear: if you plan to learn Chinese to a high level (e.g. conversational fluency), you can just ignore the HSK 2 test and go straight for higher levels such as HSK 3 or HSK 4 – they are attainable within 6 months to 1 year of committed study. (Your Chinese will start to sound sane at HSK 3, and you’ll be independent to go about your business in Chinese at HSK 4)

Not all HSK levels have a point of reference in the real world, especially when you’re still on the basic proficiency levels. You won’t be able to get into a university program in China if you only reach HSK level 2. And if you’re banking on a Chinese proficiency certificate to get a job, then HSK 2 won’t provide much value on your CV or resume other than showing that you have a rough idea about Chinese. So hold it out until you have reached higher levels.

That being said, it’s not necessarily a waste of time and money to take the HSK 2 test. It could still be beneficial to you in several ways:

Taking tests is a useful study technique to help you improve quicker. When you take the HSK 2 test, you have to recall and apply all the 600 vocabulary words and language points you have learned. This process greatly improves your chances of remembering information. You can identify your strengths and weakness through the test, and use the results as the basis for planning the future of your studying.

Besides, taking the HSK 2 test may also give you a psychological boost. Learning Chinese is a long process, and keeping track of your progress is a great way to stay motivated. Many learners feel more calm and confident going into the next levels after taking the test.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. If you feel like taking the HSK 2 test helps you stay focused on Chinese learning and make the process easier or quicker, then I encourage you to do it!

Attention: HSK is like the SAT in a sense – it is intended mainly for students looking to attend a college or university program in China. Therefore, HSK focuses heavily on the formal, written language used in academic settings.

If your Chinese-learning goal does not align with the HSK requirements, or you’re learning Chinese simply because you enjoy it, then you can safely skip the HSK tests.

HSK 2 Practice Tests

“So what’s the HSK 2 test really like? And how much do I need to study for the HSK 2?”, you asked.

Only one way to find out: take a practice test!

So here’s a link to some practice tests we’ve created using real questions from past HSK 2 tests. They’ll give you a good feel for what you can expect from the actual exam.

We’ve included the audio materials as well as the answer keys. Try them out online or download and print out the paper version. They require no registration and are completely free!

HSK 2 Test Dates (2024)

How did it go with the practice test? Very well I hope.

All right, now I’ll talk about when you can take the official HSK 2 test.

Most students only need 4-6 weeks to progress from HSK level 1 to HSK level 2 (or 2-3 months starting from scratch). So you can schedule your test well ahead of time.  

The HSK 2 test is given 11 times a year globally, which means you have plenty of dates to choose from, so pick the test date most convenient to you.

Here are the official HSK 2 test dates for the year 2024.

Exam DateInternet-based HSK 2Paper-based HSK 2
Jan 13 (Sat)y (yes)y
Mar 16 (Sat)yy
Apr 21 (Sun)yy
May 19 (Sun)yy
Jun 22 (Sat)yy
Jul 21 (Sun)yy
Aug 18 (Sun)yy
Sep 08 (Sun)yy
Oct 19 (Sat)yy
Nov 16 (Sat)yy
Dec 08 (Sun)yy

As you can see, the HSK 2 tests are all administered on Saturdays or Sundays, with no exception. The test usually starts at 9:00 pm.

The registration deadlines for the internet-based HSK 2 are 10 days before each test date, whereas, for the paper-based tests, you must register at least 4 weeks in advance. (Refer to this page for details on the test deadline)

HSK 2 Test Centers

And now, you’re thinking “where can I take the HSK 2 test?”

As I mentioned earlier, regardless of which format of the HSK 2 test you choose, you must sit for the exam at an official HSK test center.

That said, finding a test center near you might be easier than you thought, given how popular the test is. As of 2024, more than 1,300 testing centers from over 150 countries administer the HSK test. Simply carry out a Google search by typing in  “[country/region name] + HSK test centers”, and you should find one near where you live. We’ve also pulled a list of HSK test centers worldwide on our website. 

Note that not all centers administer the HSK 2 test on every test date throughout the year. How often your test center offers the HSK 2 test depends on their funding and the popularity of the test is in your area, so double-check with your test center to see your available options. For instance, if you intend to take the HSK 2 test in September, make sure your test center will be administering it in that month.

Also, take note that some centers don’t have the facilities to administer the internet-based test. Those who don’t have access to the test via the internet must instead take the paper-delivered version.

HSK 2 Test Fees

The next question is: what does the HSK 2 test cost?

The test fees for taking the HSK 2 test will vary depending on your location. In 2024, it will cost you 250 CNY (≈ 35 USD) to take the test in China (same for both formats). The price for HSK 2 outside of China will be converted into local currency and typically fall into the 30-40 USD range.

Tests Price in CNY (China) 
HSK 1150
HSK 2250
HSK 3350
HSK 4450
HSK 5550
HSK 6650

Some test centers might charge an additional administration fee or postage fee on top of the test fee. This is usually specified on the test center’s website.

HSK 2 Test Registration

Once you’ve figured out when and where to take the HSK 2 test, register for it!

You can do walk-in registration at most test centers, and even by mail. But the easiest way to register for HSK 2 will be with your HSK account on the test website. It allows you to register 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The HSK website may seem a little overwhelming, so we wrote a step-by-step guide to explain the registration process.

Simply follow the nine steps outlined to complete your HSK 2 registration online. We’ve included screenshots to make the process easy to follow.

Getting Started: HSK 2 Study Resources

HSK 2 resources

Now that you know all the basic information about taking the HSK 2 test, let’s move on to the next topic: how to study for HSK Level 2 effectively.

Yes, it can be intimidating to know where to begin. But don’t get stressed about it. I’ve got you back with this list of truly useful learning resources to help you get ready for HSK 2.

HSK 2 Word List

When it comes to learning a new language, there is probably nothing more important than vocabulary acquisition. Without a sufficient understanding of words, you can’t understand others or express your own ideas.

Vocabulary is crucial for HSK too. According to Hanban, the test organizer, to reach HSK Level 2, you must learn 300 basic Chinese words and know how to use them in context.

We’ve crafted an HSK 2 vocabulary list specifically for you to prepare for the test. They are complete with characters, Pinyin, English translations, and explanations. Once you’ve understood the basic meanings and usages of these words, start applying them in your daily life.

HSK 2 Character List

懂, 离, 晴…

Do you know these characters yet? They’re some of the HSK 2 specific characters.

“Wait, I thought I don’t need to know Chinese characters for the HSK 2 test”, I can almost hear you thinking…

Right. Pinyin is still provided for all characters on the test paper. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t study them.

Characters help you memorize vocabulary better, read with ease (making learning through native resources easier), and have a better understanding of how the Chinese language works. If your goal is to progress to a decent level in Chinese, you would have to learn characters at some point, so why not knock out the basic ones at an early stage?

Check out this resource to learn the 300 most basic Chinese characters used in daily life and necessary for HSK 2!

HSK 2 Grammar Points

When it comes to learning a new language, it’s never enough just to acquire words and phrases. To put them together to make meaningful and coherent sentences, grammar is important to know.

At HSK Level 2, longer sentences are introduced and grammar starts to have a heavier weighting.

Making grammatical mistakes when you speak is a natural part of learning Chinese and this is fine. But to improve your accuracy and to do well on the test, having a good grip on basic Chinese grammar rules is essential.

Luckily for you, we’ve written a massive yet painless (promise!) guide to basic Chinese Grammar. It covers all the grammar points you need to know at this stage.

Once you’ve learned these fundamental rules (and a basic vocabulary), you’ll be able to get out there and speak proper Chinese already!

HSK 2 Textbook

Choosing the right textbook can help accelerate your Chinese learning process. So what’s the best book out there to study for HSK 2?

According to our readers, the Hanban-endorsed HSK Standard Course (Book 2) is the best book for learning HSK 2. The book is widely used in Chinese language schools across the globe. And it is the most helpful book I used for this very level.

HSK 2 book

With this book, you can learn Chinese and prepare for the HSK 2 test simultaneously. It’ll take you through all the vocabulary and grammar points required by HSK 2. There is also an accompanying workbook that you can use to do the exercises and check your progress.

HSK 2 Course

Having a good textbook by your side is helpful, but that alone will never help you learn Chinese.

Yes, you read that right. Chinese is a complicated language – its pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar are all different from European languages. Unless you’ve successfully taught yourself a couple of eastern Asian languages, don’t intend to learn it all by yourself.

The more effective way of learning Chinese is to follow the progression of an existing course, be it online or onsite, rather than fashioning your own.

So here are the top courses I recommend that will carry you straight through to HSK Level 2.


Following the success of their HSK 1 course, the online educator ChineseFor.Us has produced another high-quality course for HSK Level 2. The course is video-based and revolves around the vocabulary and grammar points needed for the HSK 2 test. 

Chinese Zero to Hero

The HSK 2 course created by Chinese Zero to Hero online is a great choice for those looking to add structure into their self-paced study routine or are preparing for the HSK 2 test. The course is based on ‘HSK Standard Course (Book 2). And the native Chinese teachers who produced this course made learning much more effective than cracking the book on your own. 

For those looking to attend a physical HSK 2 class, MandarinRocks will be my top recommendation. Their HSK preparation course is designed specifically to help you reach the HSK levels and passing the tests (with a 95% passing rate). The school is based in Shanghai but also offers courses online.

If your main goal is to speak Chinese rather than obtain a proficiency certificate, you might want to skip all the HSK courses – the curriculum of these courses is geared towards helping you pass the exam and offers little else.

Instead, choose a structured Chinese course that actually teaches you how to speak the language from day one. (see our recommendations)

HSK 2 Tutoring

Looking for something more interactive or flexible? Then find a native Chinese teacher to do some one-to-one tutoring. It gives you complete control over your HSK journey – you can learn at your own pace and choose the materials best suited to your learning style.

ShanghaiTutors is best known for its high-quality Chinese tutoring service (read our review here). They’ve got some great HSK teachers at affordable prices. The lessons can be arranged face-to-face in major cities in China as well as online for those living abroad. Let them know your goal, timeline, budget, and they’ll work out a custom learning plan to help you. 

HSK 2 Listening Practice

With all the vocabulary words and grammar rules to learn, listening practice is often put on the back burner by many Chinese learners.

However, you should never overlook the listening practice. It helps you tune your ears to the sound and rhythm of Chinese, improves your tones, and makes you a keener conversationalist.

With that in mind, I’ve included two great resources to help HSK 2 learners improve their listening skills. Be sure to use these resources to increase your exposure to Chinese. Soon you’ll be improving both your pronunciation and comprehension with this language, and you’ll get very comfortable with the listening section on the official HSK 2 test!

ChineseClass 101

ChineseClass 101 is a fantastic listening resource for HSK 2 students. It features a huge library of lessons with a focus on video and audio. All of the listening materials come with quite a bit of English explanation which is great for beginner learners like you.

ChineseClass 101 is a paid resource. The basic plan starts at $8 per month.

Popup Chinese

Popup Chinese is the other listening resource I recommend to HSK 2 learners. It has produced quite many informative and enjoyable podcast lessons for Chinese beginners. There is a paid version, but you can access most of its content with a free account.  

The only downside is that they’ve stopped adding new content since 2015, so the topics discussed in the lessons could be a little out of date, but I won’t complain about free stuff!

HSK 2 Reading Practice

HSK 2 tests your mastery of basic Chinese vocabulary and grammar in context, rather than in isolation. That’s why it’s important to practice reading at this stage.

Using a textbook is certainly helpful, but often dull. Fortunately, there are some other reading resources for HSK 2 learners who want to expand their horizons beyond the textbook. These materials are simple enough to keep you motivated to follow through while giving you ample reading practice through repeated exposure within the limits of your vocabulary.

Let’s take a look. 

The Chairman's Bao

The Chairman’s Bao is a news-based online graded reader for people learning Chinese in the written form. The news stories are rewritten and simplified. Each article is graded by HSK levels and comes with audio. There’s also a live dictionary that you can use after sign-up.

The Chairman’ Bao is available on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS. It requires a subscription and the plan starts at $6 per month.

Mandarin Companion

Mandarin Companion is a series of graded readers targeted at beginners and elementary learners of Chinese. There are currently 8 novels available at Level 1 (comparable to HSK 2) using only 300 unique characters. Each book is approximately 10,000 characters long and is written using controlled vocabulary and grammar that is a small step up from the HSK 1 level.

The books are available in paperback as well as for Kindle.

HSK 2 Tips and Hacks

HSK 2 tips

Now you know the best resources and tools out there to help you study for HSK 2, I’ll let you in on a few more tips that will make your learning even more effective.

1. Learn Vocabulary in Context

To help you pass the HSK 2 test successfully, we’ve crafted a specific HSK 2 vocabulary list. But don’t just sit on it because it’s readily available for you. Use it together with textbooks or dictionary apps like Pleco, read the sample sentences, and learn how to use the words for your daily life. Listen to the audio of the texts to tune your ears to their pronunciations and tones.

Make flashcards if you have trouble remembering new words. You can do it old school and make actual, physical flashcards. Write down the new words with Pinyin or characters on one side, and English definitions on the other – the process itself gives you the necessary exposure to the unfamiliar vocabulary. Or review them in flashcards apps such as Anki or Memrise. These apps make use of spaced repetition – a clever algorithm that only shows you the flashcards that you’re about to forget without bogging you down with the words you already know.

2. Focus on Sentence Structures

Understanding the foundation of Chinese grammar is crucial not only for the HSK 2 test but also for your future Chinese studies down the road.

So how do you get started?

I recommend focusing on the basic sentence structures first and get the hang of them. Pay special attention to the topic-comment structure – it might not sound natural when you translate it directly into English but is often the most natural way of expressing an idea in a Chinese conversation. Getting used to using this structure can be incredibly helpful.

Also take a good, hard look at our basic Chinese grammar guide. It explains every grammar rule you need to know as a beginner through examples. Do not skim, read on, and you’ll find Chinese grammar no longer intimidating. And with a little repetition, applying many of them will soon become second nature.

3. Make a Study Plan

You can do whatever works best for you, but make sure you have a structured plan for HSK 2 studying and commit to it.

For example, On Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday, you’ll study the new words and grammar following a course or with a private teacher. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you’ll review the lessons and work on your listening and speaking skills.

Language acquisition takes time. You can’t just study for one or two hours every week and expect miracles to fall on you. You have to put in a lot of work in the initial period to get the ball rolling. Take a look at your daily and weekly schedules and see how many hours a week you can spend studying for HSK 2. Ideally, you’ll want to set aside 1 to 2 hours every day for studying Chinese, five days a week.

4. Take Practice Tests in Full Length

Practice tests are always a great way to prepare for the HSK 2 exam. So make time to take our free practice tests online! They’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

By doing so, you will get to know the test format, experience the types of tasks you will be asked to undertake and build your confidence on the test day. Review every mistake you made carefully – they’ll point you in the right direction as to what area you need to focus on improving.

To get the most realistic HSK 2 test experience, take the practice test in one sitting without distractions, and keep strict timing on each section.

5. Speak, Speak, and Speak

Even though HSK 2 does not have a speaking section, you need to practice your speaking skills. Ultimately, you’ll want to communicate with people in Chinese. That’s the whole point of learning, isn’t it?

Truth is: no matter how much you study, you can never truly learn a language by just studying it. Chinese is not a collection of tones nor a table of grammar rules. It’s a means of communication. So get out there and speak!

Force yourself to practice your newly gained knowledge with native speakers near where you live or online. The way they respond to your shaky, early uses of new vocabulary and grammar points will reinforce their meaning and usage like nothing else.

If you’re skeptical about language exchange, then find a Chinese tutor. It’s helpful and not so expensive in China or online. If you really can’t find anyone to practice with you, then listen to the podcasts that I recommended and read the transcripts. They provide more exposure to the words and language points in context. You’ll get to see how they are used in a conversation and feel more comfortable using them next time you talk in Chinese.

FAQ about HSK 2

So, I’ve covered a lot of information.

But before I wrap things up, let me step back for a moment and answer some of the questions I hear the most often regarding HSK 2:

It depends on how much time you dedicate to learning Chinese every week. If you can set aside 2 hours every day, five days a week, then generally you can expect to progress to HSK Level 2 entirely from scratch in 2-3 months (or 4-6 weeks from HSK Level 1). If you study with a teacher, 100 hours of tutoring is usually sufficient to take you to this level.

According to Hanban – the HSK test organizer, you should have mastered a minimum of 300 Chinese words and expressions at this level (see the vocabulary list here). Plus, you are expected to have the ability to communicate simply on daily topics you are familiar with using this vocabulary and know some basic Chinese grammar to pass the HSK 2 test.

Many learners use HSK tests and levels as a tool to help with their Chinese learning. If you feel like you’ll be more motivated to learn Chinese or feel more confident going into higher levels after taking the HSK 2 test, then go for it.  

But if you want to use your HSK score to get into a program at a Chinese university or apply for a job, then hold out until you’ve reached higher levels. HSK 2 is still one of the basic proficiency levels and doesn’t have much value in the real world.

Finally, if your Chinese-learning goal does not align with the HSK scale, you can always ignore the test.

HSK Levels don’t fully correspond to CEFR. Though Hanban claims on its website that the HSK levels have a one to one correspondence to the CEFR levels: HSK Level 2 = CEFR A2 (Elementary), the statement is an overestimate and was refused by CEFR on multiple occasions. Based on our research, HSK 2 is slightly over CEFR A1 (Basic). You can read here for our full report on HSK levels.

Technically, the HSK tests are designed for adult learners, but there is no actual age restriction. Any non-native Chinese speakers can take the HSK 2 test.

No. HSK 2 is a standardized test of simplified Chinese. You will find Pinyin (Mandarin romanization) along with the characters on the test paper, though.

You can register for the HSK 2 test online, in person, and by mail. The easiest way is with your HSK account on the official test website www.chinesetest.cn (read HSK registration guide here). Test centers in China all offer online payment options for paying the test fee. If you take the test outside of China and your test center does not offer the online registration option, then you must go to the test center in-person to complete registration and payment on-site or use a courier service.

You can view your HSK 2 results on the HSK website two weeks after you take the internet-based test, or one month after you take the paper-based test. Simply enter your test registration number (as shown on your test admission ticket), and you can access your score online.

The physical score report and the certificate (you’ll get one if you pass) will be sent to your test center 1-2 months after the test date, and you should be notified either by email or telephone for a pickup. (They will be kept at the test center for up to 2 years after the test date)


HSK 2 is the second level of the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK). It’s a useful tool for beginner learners of Chinese to gauge how much they have learned in class or through independent study. To pass HSK 2, you need to have a working knowledge of 300 vocabulary words and some basic Chinese grammar.

Make sure to utilize the learning resources I recommended – they are reliable tools that you would need to study for HSK 2 and pass the test successfully. Listen, speak, practice. You’ll get to this level in no time!

Bear in mind that our website ImproveMandarin.Com is an excellent resource for you to hone your HSK and Chinese skills. If you have any questions or hiccups, we’ll do our best to help you.

Good luck in your HSK 2 endeavors!

Scroll to Top