HSK Test in India: The Complete, Definitive Guide for 2021

HSK test in India

If you are studying or interested in learning Chinese, you might have heard about the HSK, a Chinese language test you can take in India. But what is the HSK test exactly? How does it work? What can you use it for? And what do you need to know to take the HSK test in India?  

Have no fear if you are confused. In this guide, we’ll walk you through what the HSK is, its levels, formats, structure, and whether or not you’ll need to take it. We’ll cover every detail of the HSK test in India – test centers, dates, fees. At the end of this guide, you should know everything needed to register and prepare for the HSK test in India.

Let’s jump in!

Table of Contents

What Is the HSK?

what is HSK test

HSK stands for Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (汉语水平考试), which means “Chinese Proficiency Test” in Chinese. As the name suggests, HSK is a standardized test designed for non-native Chinese speakers (foreigners and Chinese ethnic minorities) as a way of certifying their knowledge in Mandarin Chinese. The organizer of HSK is Hanban (汉办), an affiliation of the Ministry of Education of China that’s also in charge of the Confucius Institutes in India and across the globe. HSK scores are primarily used by Chinese universities as part of the admissions process for international students

Typically, those who take the HSK want to attend university or graduate school in China. But anyone who wants to assess their proficiency in Chinese or need to demonstrate a mastery of Chinese for professional purposes can take the HSK. Test-takers that pass the HSK test will get an HSK certificate at their corresponding level.

The HSK focuses on how Chinese is used in an academic setting, which is why schools and universities in China use HSK scores for admissions purposes. The reading section in the HSK uses formal, academic language and high-level vocabulary rather than casual or conversational Chinese. 

HSK vs Other Chinese Proficiency Tests

HSK is a huge deal. This test has been going on for more than 30 years now, and it’s been taken millions of times around the world over 120 countries. Though popular, the HSK is not the only Chinese proficiency test you can take. Hanban administers several Chinese proficiency tests for different purposes.

If you want just one authoritative Chinese language proficiency certificate, you’ll most likely end up taking the HSK. But, if you want to prove your speaking skills in Mandarin, the HSK is not the right test for you because it’s a 100% written test predominantly assesses your listening, reading and writing skills, and has no speaking section.

If you’re seeking to certify your proficiency in spoken Chinese, then you need to take a different test called the HSKK (Hanyu Shuiping Kouyu Kaoshi, or “Chinese Proficiency Spoken Test”) instead. HSKK is a relatively new test organized by Hanban that specifically assesses learners’ pronunciations, tones, clarity, continuity, variety, and fluency in speech. It’s an independent test that you can take together or separately with the HSK test.

Business Chinese Test (BCT) is another Chinese language proficiency test. It assesses communicative skills in familiar business situations. It allows non-native speaking adults in training or activity to enhance their Chinese language skills in the world of work. This BCT test consists of two relatively independent tests: BCT (Listening & Reading) and BCT (Speaking & Writing). You can opt to take one or both of them at a time.

Young Chinese learners can take the Youth Chinese Test (YCT). It is a specially adapted version designed for primary and middle school students. The YCT is also divided into two independent tests – spoken and written to test youngsters’ abilities to use Chinese in their daily and academic lives.

HSK, HSKK, BCT, and YCT are all managed by Hanban and you can take any of these Chinese proficiency tests in India, depending on your age, academic and career goal. The certificates you will obtain are highly respected across the world except in Taiwan. If you plan to study or work in Taiwan, you may want to take the Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL) instead. TOCFL is Taiwan’s Mandarin Chinese proficiency test. As with the HSK in Mainland China, the TOCFL can be required in some Taiwanese universities and companies. For political reasons, TOCFL is not recognized in the Mainland.

Who Should Take the HSK? 

Indian students in China

The HSK is intended mainly for students looking to attend a university or graduate school program in China. But people can also take the HSK for other purposes. You may take the HSK if you want to:

  • attend a university program taught in Chinese in China
  • apply for an HSK/Confucius Institute scholarship
  • be licensed or certified in a particular field (teacher, translator, interpreter, tour guide…)
  • demonstrate your mastery of Chinese for employment purposes
  • apply for a work permit/visa to work and live in China
  • benchmark your progress in Chinese learning

Any non-native Chinese speakers can take the HSK test. There is no age restriction. But, we recommend that students be at least 7th grade (or 14 years of age) before attempting to take a high-level HSK test (Level 5 or 6). These tests require you to read some difficult passages and be familiar with some sophisticated vocabulary and most students are not exposed to this type of language before the 7th grade. Younger Chinese learners are recommended to take the YCT (Youth Chinese Test) instead.

Not every college or university in China requires incoming international students to take an HSK. Some schools will waive the need for you to take an HSK test if:

  • your program is based on English instead of Mandarin
  • you take their college admission exam instead (Mandarin is tested along with other subjects)
  • you earned a diploma or degree from another Chinese university

Why Take the HSK in India?

Many people in India take the HSK test to further their education in China. Before a Chinese university accepts you into an academic program, the admissions board needs to know that you can handle the course load of a Mandarin-based program: they use the HSK as a standardized metric for your Chinese skills.

Chinese university

To be able to follow a class instructed primarily in Chinese, a fair understanding of the language is needed. Therefore most universities in China require applicants to pass a high-level HSK test such as HSK5 or HSK6 for admission to degree programs.

Some schools may want a little more by providing a minimum cutoff score you must earn on the HSK to be accepted, since they have higher academic standards and require students to have a mastery or near-mastery of Chinese. (We’ll get to HSK levels and scoring in a minute).

You can also apply for scholarships using your HSK test results. The Ministry of Education of China awards scholarships to students who achieve excellent scores on their HSK exam to further their studies in Chinese universities or Confucius Institutes in India.

For professionals, HSK can be used as proof of language competency for job applications to Chinese companies and multinationals. When filling up your resume/CV, you cannot simply claim to speak “good enough” Chinese according to your own estimations. Especially, if the knowledge of Chinese is not just a bonus point but a job requirement (for example, a job description might ask for Indian applicants with “HSK5 or better”). In this case, you want to prove it by demonstrating an HSK certificate that is widely recognized.

Besides, the HSK certificate never expires and will always be a good testament to your Chinese proficiency. Saying it at a job interview will work in your favor and impress your potential employers. Even employers that don’t require Mandarin proficiency can get a more complete picture of you, knowing your strengths.

Indian professional working in China

Even if you’re currently undecided about your career plans, you might still want to think about taking the test, regardless. This will give you some flexibility for your future, whether or not you think you need an HSK certificate right now.

And if you wish to live in China, the HSK will be very handy at the time you apply for a work permit in China. China now implements a work permit scoring system through which every foreigner is graded according to their background, qualifications, and skills. You need to reach at least 60 points overall in that system to be granted the work permit/visa, and depending on the HSK level acquired, an HSK certificate can bring you 1-5 points.

HSK1=1 work permit point
HSK2=2 work permit points
HSK3=3 work permit points
HSK4=4 work permit Points
HSK5 or HSK6= 5 work permit points

(View the official work permit points table)

Outside of the academic and professional realm, the HSK might not seem that important on the surface, but it can still be very useful. It provides an objective assessment of your skills, defining which stage you’re at with your Chinese learning. Plus, tests are useful study techniques to help you improve quicker. When you take the HSK, you have to recall and apply what you have learned. This process greatly improves your chances of remembering information. The HSK test report also makes your future study sessions more productive by showing what you need to work on next.

HSK Levels & Requirements

The HSK tests how good you are at Chinese at 6 levels: HSK1, HSK2, HSK3, HSK4, HSK5, and HSK6. HSK1 is the easiest and HSK6 is the most difficult. At each level, you either pass or don’t pass.

You don’t have to undergo the HSK tests in level order, instead, you can choose any level at will. And you can take the same test as many times as may be necessary for obtaining the desired certificate.

That said, you may want to avoid wasting money and time on the wrong HSK test. So, what HSK level are you now? Which HSK level test should you take? Here’s the official guideline from Hanban:

  • HSK1: You can understand and use simple words and phrases
  • HSK2: You can communicate simply and directly on daily topics you are familiar with.
  • HSK3: You can conduct basic communication in daily life, study and work. You can manage most communication when traveling in China.
  • HSK4: You can discuss a relatively wide range of topics in Chinese and can communicate with native Chinese speakers fluently in common situations.
  • HSK5: You can read Chinese newspapers and magazines, watch Chinese films and TVs, and can write and deliver a full speech.
  • HSK6: You can easily understand what you read and hear, and express yourself smoothly in written and oral Chinese.

*For HSK1 and HSK2 tests, knowledge of Chinese characters is optional because pinyin is provided along with characters on test papers.

The following table gives an overview of HSK requirements on each level in numbers:

Level Words you need to know Characters you need to know Correspondence to CEFR* (claimed by Hanban)
HSK 1 150+ 150 (optional) A1 (beginner)
HSK 2 300+ 300 (optional) A2 (elementary)
HSK 3 600+ 600 B1 (intermediate)
HSK 4 1200+ 1000 B2 (upper-intermediate)
HSK 5 2500+ 1500 C1 (advanced)
HSK 6 5000+ 2500 C2 (proficient)

There’s no need to be overwhelmed! The HSK is known to be easier than other official language tests, such as the TOEFL exam for English learners or the DELE exam for Spanish ones.

We’ll explain a bit more about the HSK-CEFR correspondence and what your expectations should be when taking the test.

CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) is the international standard established by the Council of Europe to assess language learner’s ability to use 40+ Indo-European languages. Hanban claims that the HSK levels have a one to one correspondence to the CEFR levels: HSK’s level 1-6 to CEFR’s A1 (beginner)-C2 (proficient).

However, there have been lots of disputes over this claim. For instance, the Fachverband Chinesisch in Germany (an organization similar to the Confucius Institute) thinks that the HSK6 is only between B2-C1 levels in the CEFR.

We agree with this.

According to the Council of Europe that established the CEFR standard, a person at C2 level should be able to function in the language to the same ability as an educated native speaker. However, we interviewed many learners who had taken HSK5 or HSK6 as well as native Chinese students and teachers, and they unanimously concluded that the HSK-CEFR correspondence claimed by Hanban is an overestimate.

For starters, knowing 2,500 words is not enough for you to read Chinese newspapers and magazines, and 5,000 words is a low estimate of the vocabulary needed to be considered at an “educated native speaker” level. In fact, the level of Chinese used in Chinese universities is higher than HSK6. (read our report here)

The reason why Hanban made the HSK tests sound more awesome than they really are is simple: to encourage more people to learn Chinese and take the tests! For this, Hanban intentionally made the HSK tests a lot easier than before (the old HSK before 2010 consisted of 11 levels, and the current HSK6 only corresponds to level 8-9 in the old HSK system, where you needed a vocabulary of 10,000+ words to reach level 11).

So, here is our amended and more objective version of HSK-CEFR Correspondence:

HSK1=A1- (newbie)
HSK2=A1+ (basic)
HSK3=A2 (elementary)
HSK4=B1 (low-intermediate)
HSK5=B2- (intermediate)
HSK6=C1- (upper-intermediate)

Don’t be dismayed! Look at it this way: you can get a high-level Chinese proficiency certificate much easier than before! And that’s not bad at all: HSK6 is sufficient for most social, academic, and professional contexts, and if you keep on learning from that point, progressing further to total proficiency in Chinese won’t be too hard.

A single advanced HSK test for levels 7-9 is scheduled to be added to the current HSK system in 2021 or later. Meanwhile, no change will be made to the existing HSK tests for levels 1-6. Read updates on the New HSK here)

HSK level progress

HSK Test Structure & Passing Grade  

An HSK test is 35-130 minutes in duration depending on the level.

HSK1 and HSK2 are designed for basic Chinese learners and therefore quite short. The tests consist of only two sections: listening and reading. Each section is broken down into a number of questions (all multiple choices). Questions are presented in both pinyin and characters. There is no writing section.

Each section is scored out of 100. The scores of the two sections are then added together for a final, total score of 200 points, and you need to score at least 120 to pass the tests.

From HSK3 onwards, all the questions are presented only in Chinese characters. The tests consist of three sections: listening, reading (all multiple choices) and writing. The total score is 300 (100 each for listening, reading and writing sections), and you need to score at least 180 to pass the tests.

Here’s a chart that summarizes the test structure, time and scoring of each HSK test level:

Level Test Structure           Test Time Test Scoring  
  Listening   Reading   Writing     Full Pass
  Questions Time Questions Time Items Time      
HSK1 20 18mins 20 17mins None / 35mins 200 120
HSK2 35 28mins 25 22mins None / 50mins 200 120
HSK3 40 40mins 30 30mins 10 15mins 85mins 300 180
HSK4 45 35mins 40 40mins 15 25mins 100mins 300 180
HSK5 45 35mins 45 45mins 10 40mins 120mins 300 180
HSK6 50 40mins 50 50mins 1 45mins 135mins 300 180

* You’ll be given an extra 5 minutes to fill in your personal information.

After you take the test, the test papers are then mailed back (or submitted, if you take it on computer) to Hanban headquarters in Beijing. The test centers that administer the tests do not grade the test papers.

At each level, you either pass or don’t pass. To obtain the corresponding HSK certificate, you just need to reach the passing grade  thats all that matters.

However, if you intend to use your scores to apply to colleges or universities in China, be sure to always look up the HSK requirements for your specific schools and keep the cutoff score in your head as you study for the HSK. As mentioned, some schools may want a bit more than a passing grade.

pass or fail HSK test

HSK Formats in India

There are two different formats of the HSK in India – the internet-based HSK (also known as computer-based HSK) and the paper-based HSK. For both formats, you need to go to a physical HSK test center (though the name “internet-based” may suggest it, there is no way you can take the test on your own computer at home).

That said, the majority of the HSK test centers in India only offer the test in the paper-based format. Only the test centers at Space Computer & Training Academy in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh and Seacom Skill University in Birbhum, West Bengal offer both internet-based HSK and paper-based HSK at the moment.

The two HSK formats are exactly the same in difficulty level, test content and scoring criteria. The only difference is that if you take the internet-based HSK, questions will be presented on a computer screen and you will be required to submit answers through the use of a keyboard and a mouse. 

If you happen to live in Gwalior or Birbhum, then we recommend you to take the internet-based HSK if you are signing up for Level 3-6, as you don’t have to physically write every character in the writing section, which can be hard for some learners. But for those who don’t have the option, there is nothing to worry about. The paper paper-based version also has advantages such as note-taking and section-skipping (read the full comparison of the two formats).

In case you are wondering, universities and employers in China don’t have any preference in which format that applicants take the HSK, and you can crush the test with flying colors in either format.

2021 HSK Test Dates in India

HSK exam dates India

The HSK tests are offered 14 times a year in India, which means you have plenty of dates to choose from, so pick the best date for you and your schedule.

Here are the official HSK test dates for 2021.

Test Dates Internet-based HSK Paper-based HSK
Jan 09 (Sat) y (yes) y
Feb 06 (Sat) y y
Mar 07 (Sun) y  
Mar 20 (Sat) y y
Apr 10 (Sat) y y
May 15 (Sat) y y
Jun 19 (Sat) y y
Jul 18 (Sun) y y
Aug 22 (Sun) y y
Sep 11 (Sat) y y
Oct 17 (Sun) y y
Nov 06 (Sat) y  
Nov 20 (Sat) y y
Dec 05 (Sun) y y

As you can see, the HSK tests are all administered on a Saturday or Sunday, with no exception. HSK levels 2, 4, 6 usually start at 9 am and HSK levels 1, 3, 5 usually start at 1:30 pm.

Note that on March 07 and November 06, the HSK tests are offered exclusively in the digital format, only available at Space Computer & Training Academy and Seacom Skill University.

HSK Registration Deadline & Results Release

The registration deadlines for the internet-based HSK tests are 10 days before their respective test dates, while for the paper-based HSK, you must register 4+ weeks ahead of time.

Here are the details of the HSK registration deadline and results release for 2021.

Internet-based HSK

Test Dates (Internet) Registration Deadline Score Release
Jan 09 (Sat) Dec 30, 2020 Jan 25
Feb 06 (Sat) Jan 27 Mar 01
Mar 07 (Sun) Feb 25 Mar 22
Mar 20 (Sat) Mar 10 Apr 05
Apr 10 (Sat) Mar 31 Apr 26
May 15 (Sat) May 05 May 31
Jun 19 (Sat) Jun 09 Jul 05
Jul 18 (Sun) Jul 08 Aug 02
Aug 22 (Sun) Aug 12 Sep 06
Sep 11 (Sat) Sep 01 Sep 27
Oct 17 (Sun) Oct 07 Nov 01
Nov 06 (Sat) Oct 27 Nov 22
Nov 20 (Sat) Nov 10 Dec 06
Dec 05 (Sun) Nov 25 Dec 20

If you take the internet-based HSK test, your HSK test score will be available online at the HSK website two weeks after the test date, with the exception of the test date before the Chinese New Year (Feb 06). For this test, the release of score reports will be postponed by another week. The physical test report, on the other hand, 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.

Paper-based HSK

Test Dates (paper) Registration Deadline Score Release
Jan 09 (Sat) Dec 13, 2020 Feb 09
Feb 06 (Sat) Jan 10 Mar 13
Mar 20 (Sat) Feb 21 Apr 20
Apr 10 (Sat) Mar 14 May 17
May 15 (Sat) Apr 18 Jun 15
Jun 19 (Sat) May 23 Jul 19
Jul 18 (Sun) Jun 21 Aug 18
Aug 22 (Sun) Jul 26 Sep 22
Sep 11 (Sat) Aug 15 Oct 18
Oct 17 (Sun) Sep 20 Nov 17
Nov 20 (Sat) Oct 24 Dec 20
Dec 05 (Sun) Nov 08 Jan 05, 2022

You can view your score reports online at the HSK website one month after you take the paper-based HSK test, with the exceptions of the test dates before the Chinese New Year, May Day Holiday, and National Day Holiday (Feb 06, Apr 10, Sep 11). For these three tests, the release of score reports will be postponed by another week. The physical score reports are mailed to your test center 1-2 months after the test day.  

A Note on HSK Registration Dates and Deadlines

Though the test dates are already fixed for the entire year, most test centers won’t allow you to register for the test far ahead of your test date (registration usually begins 3-4 months before the test date). 

Also, take note that not all test centers in India administer HSK tests at every level on every test date. How often your test center gives the HSK at your level depends on their funding and on how popular it is, so double-check with your test center to see your available test dates.

Once you decide on your test date, it’s always better to register early than late, because test centers all have limited seating. Registration will always be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until capacity is reached. Besides, if you experience technical glitch registering online at the last minute, Hanban will not be able to make accommodations for you.

If you’re taking the HSK as part of a school application, you’ll need to schedule your HSK test date around your application deadlines. Make sure you read our tips on how to pick the right HSK test date for you.

HSK Test Centers in India

HSK exam centers in India

China’s growing importance in the world over the last two decades is certainly driving the boom in Chinese language learning in India. As a result, more Indians are taking an interest in HSK. As of 2021, there are 12 authorized HSK test centers across 8 states in India, with 2 centers offering both internet-based HSK and paper-based HSK and the rest offering the test in the paper-based format only.

The states where you can take the HSK test in India are Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, West Bengal.

Here’s the complete list of the 12 HSK test centers in India.

1. Space Computer & Training Academy (Madhya Pradesh)
Test Format: internet & paper-based HSK
Address: E-46, Balwant Nagar, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh 474011
Phone: +91 751 401 8259
Email: mukul@spaceacademy.co.in

2. Seacom Skill University (West Bengal)
Test Format: internet & paper-based HSK
Address: Kendradangal, Near Santiniketan, Birbhum, West Bengal 731236
Phone: +91-332 430 1674, +91 983 699 5550, +91 898 102 4701,
Email: applefh@gmail.com, seacomhsk@sina.com

3. Langma School of languages (Delhi)
Test Format: paper-based HSK only
Address: E 73, South Extension Part 1 (Near Bengali Sweets), New Delhi, Delhi 110049
Phone: +91 965 092 8449,+91 981 011 7094
Email: chinesedept@langmainternational.com, info@langmainternational.in

4. Learn From the Best (Delhi)
Test Format: paper-based HSK only
Address: SHF Indian Office, New Delhi, Delhi
Phone: +91 704 269 3803
Email: shf_lin@126.com

5. Safalya International Educare (Gujarat)
Test Format: paper-based HSK only
Address: 503, 5F, Heritage Plaza, Drive-In Road, Thaltej, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Phone: +91 922 751 2756
Email: info.safalyainternational@gmail.com

6. Malabar Aviation Academy (Kerala)
Test Format: paper-based HSK only
Address: 4F, Emarald Mall, Mavoor Road, Kozhikode, Kerala 673004
Phone: +91 702 536 1771, +91 495 272 5680
Email: 128307981@qq.com

7. Ceeco International Consultancy & Training Centre (Kerala)
Test Format: paper-based HSK only
Address: Honda showroom building, Near Co-operative Hospital, Manna, Taliparamba, Kannur District, Kerala 670141
Phone: +91 460 220 0121, +91 813 693 4666
Email: drjazeer@ceecointl.com, ceo@ceecointl.com

8. Confucius Institute at University of Mumbai (Maharashtra)
Test Format: paper-based HSK only
Address: 1F, Room No.8, Ranade Bhavan, Vidyanagari, Kalina Campus, Santacruz (East), Mumbai, Maharashtra 400098
Phone: +91 892 860 5977
Email: confucius-institute@mu.ac.in

9. K. J. Somaiya Center for Buddhist Studies (Maharashtra)
Test Format: paper-based HSK only
Address: II Floor, Management Building (S.I.M.S.R), Somaiya Campus, Vidyavihar, Mumbai, Maharashtr 400077
Phone: +91 226 728 3252
Email: director.buddhist@somaiya.edu, edusatyendra.u@somaiya.edu

10. Confucius Institute at Vellore University of Technology (Tamil Nadu)
Test Format: paper-based HSK only
Address: VIT University, Near Katpadi Road, Vellore, Tamil Nadu 632014
Phone: +91 416 220 2027
Email: msubaji@vit.ac.in

11. Arise Medical Academy (Telangana)
Test Format: paper-based HSK only
Address: 2F, Above Indian Bank, Nanal Nagar, Mehdipatnam, Hyderabad, Telangana 500028
Phone: +91 768 092 9292
Email: arisemedicalacademy@gmail.com

12. The School of Chinese Language (West Bengal)
Test Format: paper-based HSK only
Address: 190, Sarat Bose Road, 3rd Floor, Kolkata, West Bengal 700029
Phone: +91-759 601 1783/4/5
Email: chinese@zhongwen.in, principal@zhongwen.in

Now, choosing an HSK test center is actually not as simple as picking the one closest to you. You can be more strategic in your choice. We’ve come up with a few tips here to help you decide which center you should go to ace the HSK exam.

HSK Test Fees in India

The price of the HSK test will vary depending on which level you sign up for. For 2021 HSK tests in India, the fees (in INR) are 1500 (Level 1), 2500 (Level 2), 3500 (Level 3), 4500 (Level 4), 5500 (Level 5) and 6500 (Level 6). 

Test Price in INR
HSK1 1,500
HSK2 2,500
HSK3 3,500
HSK4 4,500
HSK5 5,500
HSK6 6,500

The fees are the same for both the internet-based HSK and the paper-based HSK at any test center in India.

Some test centers allow payment online while others will require you to pay in person. You can make a quick call or send an email to your test center to find out their policy if needed.

HSK Score Validity

The HSK certificate has permanent validity. It’s like a diploma. Once you receive it, it becomes your property and is valid for a lifetime.

However, if you wish to use your HSK scores to apply to a college or university in China, your HSK scores are valid for two years only from the date you take the test. The HSK score validity period is fairly short to ensure schools have accurate and current information about your Chinese skills.

How to Register for the HSK Test in India

The registration process for the HSK tests is simple and straightforward.

The easiest way to register for the HSK test in India is with your HSK account on the test website. It allows you to register 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Follow our registration guide here if you are not familiar with the procedure.

HSK Test Preparation in India

HSK test preparation in India

Now that you know what HSK is used for and what it tests, we’ll cover a few tips to do well on the test in India. Even if your Chinese skills are well above average, it’s a good idea to incorporate a few tips and strategies into your studying and test-taking. That way you can bring your “A” game on test day. 

So let’s go through a few HSK tips.

#1: Determine What HSK Level You Need to Take

If you’re taking the HSK test to attend a university in China, make sure you know the exact HSK level requirement for each school you are applying to. Most universities in China require their applicants to pass HSK5 for admission to degree programs, but some may want a little more or less. They might also waive the requirement if you meet other criteria.

First, make a list of all the Chinese universities to which you want to apply. Next, go directly to their websites or Google “[school name] + international admissions.”

Almost always, the first link that pops up will be the page you’re looking for. Here, you can check to see their HSK level/score requirements and other policies. If the school doesn’t say them clearly on the admissions page, then contact the school’s admissions office directly. After all, you don’t want to study and pay for a test if your school of choice won’t accept it!

If you’re taking the HSK test for employment purposes, you might want to skip the low-level HSK tests (1-3) and aim for higher levels (4-6). For the certificate to work, it’s common to aim for the highest levels: Level 5 or 6.

Well, if you simply want to assess your Chinese skills in a formal setting and have some time to spare, you are free to take whatever level test and as many times as you like. But you might want to take a free practice test first to find your current level (and save money!)

#2: Take HSK Practice Tests

To get a better idea of your current HSK level and how much you’ll need to study for the HSK test, it’ll be smart to take some practice tests. That way, you can see where your current areas of strength and weakness are and see how the test works before you take the official HSK.

We’ve created quite a few HSK practice tests (for all six levels) on our website using real questions from past HSK exams. You can click here to try them out online or download and print out the paper version. They require no registration and are completely free.

Best Books to Help Prepare for the HSK test

You can also purchase HSK preparation books that include access to practice tests on Amazon.com. Our top recommendations are:

-Official Examination Papers of HSK (2018 Version)
This book series is published by People’s Education Press and is available at all 6 HSK levels. Each book consists of five retired HSK tests at the respective level, accompanied by an audio CD for the listening section and detailed answers.
Book name in Chinese: 汉语水平考试真题集(2018版)

HSK Simulation Tests (2nd Edition)
This book series published by Beijing Language and Culture University Press contains 10 mock tests with realistic questions at each level. The books come complete with an audio CD and answers.
Book name in Chinese: 汉语水平考试模拟试题集(第2版)

Once you’ve got a practice test and are ready to take it, try to recreate a real testing environment as closely as possible: find a slightly noisy place to take your test in, and time yourself using official time limits.

#3: Make a Weekly HSK Study Plan

Look at your daily and weekly schedules and see how many hours a week you can spend studying for the HSK. Even if your HSK date isn’t for several months, you’ll still want to try to budget at least 46 hours of studying Chinese each week. 

Studying Chinese doesn’t always have to mean textbooks and grammar drills. If you don’t use much Chinese in your daily life, then start incorporating the language into your daily routine bit by bit. 

Watch TV shows, movies, YouTube videos in Chinese. Read news articles, magazines, books, or blogs in Chinese. See if you can find someone with whom you can practice speaking Chinese. They are just as important as sitting down and studying grammar and vocabulary.

Learning and retaining a language happens over time, and you can’t really cram for it or just study for one or two hours a week. It’s a good rule of thumb to study at least one hour each day, five days per week.

#4: Attend an HSK Preparation Course

HSK course in India

If you find it challenging to study for the HSK on your own, why not take an HSK preparation course in India? A good teacher familiar with the HSK structure can save you considerable time and effort. You will learn the exact grammar structures, vocabulary and sentence patterns you need to put you in great shape going into your HSK Test. 

Best HSK Preparation Courses in India 

Many institutions in India run special HSK preparation courses, and here are our top picks:

1. Langma School of languages (New Delhi)
Langma School of languages has established a strong reputation in the field of teaching foreign languages. They have an experienced teaching team for HSK preparation and a high passing rate. Their course can be personalized based on your schedule and requirement. The school also serves as one of the twelve official HSK test centers in India.
Link: www.langmainternational.com

2. Inchin Closer (Mumbai)
A well established Mandarin school in Mumbai endorsed by the Consulate General of China. They have some very experienced and skilled teachers in HSK preparation and are happy to work out a personalized solution to help you prepare for the HSK exams.
Link: www.inchincloser.com

3. The School of Chinese Language (Kolkata)
The School of Chinese Language in Kolkata has an experienced and dedicated teaching team from China who know exactly the tools you need to pass your HSK Exam. The school was inaugurated and recommended by the Consulate General of China.
Link: www.zhongwen.in

#5: Relax on the Test Day

The HSK is a test but it’s not the be-all and end-all. If you’re relaxed, you will be far more likely to do well, and if you fail, you can always retake the test after more study.

One of the best ways to help yourself relax is to make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before, eat a good breakfast, arrive at the test center at least half an hour before the test and make sure you study enough past papers to let you know what to expect. Being familiar with the structure, timing and content of the test will help to put you at ease. 

Also, drink enough water before and during your test to stay hydrated, so you won’t feel weary and lose your concentration.

Recap: Taking the HSK Test in India

taking HSK exam in India

The HSK is the world’s most popular Chinese proficiency test. Any non-native Chinese speakers can take the HSK test if they’re interested in assessing their knowledge of Chinese. An HSK certificate can be a great boost to your academic and career potential.

It’s easy to take the HSK test in India with 12 authorized test centers in the country and 14 test dates a year. You can choose to take an HSK test from 6 existing levels (HSK1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and 2 formats (internet-based, paper-based), and can take the test as many times as you want to. The HSK certificate has permanent validity (if you’re taking the HSK as part of a school application, then the scores are valid for two years).

To pass the HSK, you need to accurately determine your level, take some practice tests, make a study plan, stick to it, study hard, relax on the test day and let your instincts flow. If needed, you can take an HSK preparation course in India to help you crush the test.