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Shi Tong

What can you do with the HSK?

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Shi Tong

Hello all.

I dont know if this is the right place to ask this question, but I think I need to ask it somewhere and I dont want to start new threads which will bung up the system, so here goes.

As everyone probably already has been bored into knowing, I dont have any formal qualifications in Mandarin and I'm looking to get some.

I've looked at a couple of links to some sample exams for both GCSE and HSK qualifications. The ones I've looked at seem easy to me, but these are level 1 and 2 HSK (the ones I just looked at), and GCSE papers look easy too. I would assume that they would be.

So, without going into any crazy details, if I took the HSK exams, what will they give a learner/ passer? Does it add up eventually to a degree/ an "a-level", a GCSE equivalent? What can I "do with it" once I've passed the grades.. am I then able to apply to Chinese colleges? Does it have any links with Taiwanese colleges? Can I even use those qualifications to apply to colleges in the UK?

I've tried looking at the site links on here to the HSK, but it looks quite intimidating and hard to navigate, so if anyone can spread some simple light, at least I'll know first what it can do for me.

Thanks in advance!! :)

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roddy

New threads *are* the system.

I just wrote a longer reply but my browser ate it. Basically:

Employers may not know what the HSK is, but they'll presumably be pleased you set yourself a goal and achieved it. It's a bit more concrete than just saying you speak Chinese.

Chinese universities: an HSK 6 lets you jump into third year of the four year Chinese-for-foreigners BA courses, and HSK 3 (science) or 5 (arts) are required for entry to other undergrad degrees (check those numbers if it's actually important, I may have them wrong). And I haven't seen what New HSK levels you're meant to have for any of this (and if the MoE wants to annoy Hanban, they might just insist on old HSK levels. Who knows)

I've never seen a UK institution ask for an 'HSK X', but presumably it would go a long way to demonstrating a certain level. Savvy admissions folk may be aware though that, ie, you can get up to HSK 8 without opening your mouth or doing any real writing.

For most western takers of the exam, I suspect it's just a bit of goal-setting and motivation, something to work towards.

There aren't any direct equivalences with exam certificates or degrees. The New HSK appears to be benchmarking itself against the Council of Europe framework, but I can't see what practical value that is to the student.

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Questyn

In a similar way to what Roddy suggested about the HSK, I used my 7 results (on the intermediate test) as a means to show my employer that I had a solid level of Chinese ability. My employer also had a nonChinese speaker of Chinese (unbeknownst to me!) listen in on my sample teaching lesson & she said my pronunciation was good. I think that the HSK results helped them to take me seriously in the application process.

But besides that kind of thing, it was a goal during my in-China Chinese language study that motivated me to learn more. I missed getting an 8 by one item in the writing section: 杂志的杂。You can bet I looked it up later! It hasn't been something I've heard US colleges (etc.) really understand or seek though.

I thought that the advanced HSK does have an oral interview and an essay section. Is that wrong? Sounds like the HSK is being changed quite a bit soon.

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doraemon

It's basically just an indication of your level of proficiency in Chinese. It's a really useful achievement to have if you want to study and work in China. I think for most universities you need an HSK Certificate, and a lot of companies looking to employ foreigners will be wanting some sort of indication of your Chinese ability too. :mrgreen:

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Shi Tong

Ooh.. ok.. Thanks for all the replies, and thanks Roddy for helping me move/ create this new thread.. I didn't want to make a new one if there was something already appropriate for it.

I think then that the HSK may be something worth me looking into.

Is it something which you can do online at *any* time by just simply taking the test online (I think I've seen a couple of indications that it works this kind of way), because I really need something to work on and finish quickly.

You'll understand that I already feel like I'm at a certain level, but as Roddy said, you cant say "yeah, and I speak Chinese BTW" to someone who would be employing you or trying to interview you. They'll want to see some kind of evidence.

So what I need is a ladder I can climb up quickly without too much hassle (other than the study), which will give me a certificate which says "yeah, he can speak Chinese" (or he can read it and listen to it! haha!!).

In reply to Questyn, I bet that was annoying because 杂志的杂 doesn't even look like a hard character to write or remember.. but if you dont know it, you dont know it.:oops: How annoying for you.

Does anyone have any experience of what the level jumps between HSK levels are like? I looked at samples of 1 and 2 and they looked very easy to me, but it looks like higher levels get a lot more difficult. I think renzhe was saying he thought level 6 was difficult, or more difficult than he expected. If 1 and 2 are super easy, does then 3 become much more challenging?

Thanks so much for the replies!:mrgreen:

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edelweis

@Shi Tong

For the New HSK, there is now a listening/reading/writing test offered in many places, and a speaking test (I don't know whether that one is offered anywhere yet...).

Regarding the listening/reading/writing test:

On http://www.chinesetesting.cn there is information about the various levels ("about test") and there is some online level evaluation ("Practise", reading and writing only) and there are also some downloadable sample papers including audio on this page.

This enables you to test your level and select which test level you should apply for.

Then you need to look at test centres in your country and check which ones offer the level and when ("Test center").

Some centers require online registrations, some require on-site registration, so the actual registration procedure varies.

You need to take the test at a test center to get a certificate.

There is additional information on this confucius institute page:

http://www.confuciusinstitute.qut.edu.au/study/proficiency.jsp

The "guidelines" links contain PDF files (sample test + required vocabulary + grammar for levels 1-3) and the accompanying mp3 file for the listening part.

Regarding levels:

My Chinese level is still very basic :mrgreen: but apparently in this New HSK the higher you get, the greater the gap between levels...

The required vocabulary goes like 150/300/600/1200/2500/5000+ so for each level you need to double your vocabulary :mrgreen:

Other points of interest:

levels 1 and 2 have pinyin in addition to characters, and you don't need to write characters.

levels 3 and 4 have some basic writing (reorder words to make sentences, and write a few words or sentences).

levels 5 and 6 have actual text writing - not sure how that is graded.

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doraemon
Is it something which you can do online at *any* time by just simply taking the test online (I think I've seen a couple of indications that it works this kind of way), because I really need something to work on and finish quickly.

Ummm...no. Unfortunately it's not something that you can do over the Internet. You must go to a test centre to take the HSK and there are set dates throughout the year in regards to when this test will take place. You also have to pay to do it. The lower the level the cheaper it is though...:mrgreen:

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edelweis

Regarding what uses the HSK certificate could have:

- if I manage to get one, I'll put that on my resume. Even if the job I apply for has nothing to do with China, it can be a useful topic for discussion in interviews...

- I've thought about combining my job (software engineering) and my interest for exotic scripts by getting a Master in language processing software. One of the requirements of the school I'm eyeing is "Bachelor level in a non-european language" (It also requires a Bachelor degree, but the subject can be anything). I guess a 5 or 6 HSK certificate would help.

(and beyond these future possible uses, I am just unable to study seriously if I don't have some kind of deadline like a test date or planned trip, if I do something just for the fun of it then my level stagnates)

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Scoobyqueen
I'll put that on my resume

Put: Official profiency test in Chinese (HSK)

You can then discuss the results at the interview if they are interested.

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imron

If I was an employer looking to hire someone with Chinese ability who would need to be using Chinese as part of their job, and if I was using their HSK score as a factor in deciding that, I probably wouldn't consider hiring anyone with a score less than a 7, but preferably I'd be looking for an 8 or above.

Anything lower than that says "I've learnt some Chinese, but I've still got a way to go before I can use it". It's a nice talking point for a resume, and maybe it means if you have Chinese clients visiting you can exchange smalltalk, but it wouldn't convey confidence to me about your ability to use the language for work.

That being said, I've never taken the HSK, so if that was the sole criteria used to judge, I wouldn't be able to hire myself :mrgreen: so I would also use other means to test a person's Chinese abilities.

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knadolny
Employers may not know what the HSK is, but they'll presumably be pleased you set yourself a goal and achieved it. It's a bit more concrete than just saying you speak Chinese.

I just used my HSK score for the first time on an interview here in Japan. It gave them some concrete evidence that yes I know Chinese. I think Asia likes to base your level on tests so it carries more weight then in the US.

In the US we would make you sit down and talk with someone in English. Especially since many foreigners can do great on English tests yet can't speak English.

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chrix

Yeah I've made the experience too that they know what the HSK is in Japan. But a short explanatory note on your CV never hurts...

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knadolny

Oh sorry...I wasn't commenting about that. My company actually had no idea what the HSK was, but they understood it was a standardized test from the Chinese characters. I had to explain my level and what it means.

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Scoobyqueen

Your chinese level can be tested at the interview stage if being able to Chinese is secondary to the position.

I test out applicants who put down "fluent" (about the languages I am involved in) on their CV and find that many candidates exaggerrate their level of fluency on their CV.

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tooironic

Candidates exagerrating on their CVs? Why, surely not.

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Scoobyqueen
Candidates exagerrating on their CVs? Why, surely not.

it is a great source of entertainment to see them squirm.

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knadolny
Your chinese level can be tested at the interview stage if being able to Chinese is secondary to the position.

I test out applicants who put down "fluent" (about the languages I am involved in) on their CV and find that many candidates exaggerrate their level of fluency on their CV.

I guess that was the point I was trying to make. I've been working with this company for six months, one of my project managers is Chinese (and we talk Chinese together), I met the manager of our Shanghai office, but yet still at my interview they were very interested in hearing what my HSK score was and what it meant. I am now working for a Japanese company, worked "part time" for six months and am now hired as a full time career employee.

While my coworkers surely understood that I can speak Chinese, my interview was with the company executives who I met for the first time at my final interview.

I took the HSK because we could do it for free during my time at BLCU. While I didn't prepare for the HSK, took it about five years ago, and I don't think my score adequately reflects my ability I am happy that I finally put that test score to use after five years.

So who knows what you can do with your HSK score now, but sometime in the future it might just come in handy.

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Shi Tong

Wow! Thanks for all these very useful replies again!:mrgreen:

First of all, just to make Imron laugh, let me finish your sentence more accurately for you:

If I was an employer looking to hire someone with Chinese ability who would need to be using Chinese as part of their job, and if I was using their HSK score as a factor in deciding that, I probably wouldn't consider hiring anyone with a
n inability to write pinyin correctly?:mrgreen::lol:

Interesting that you say levels 7-8 though. I was considering trying for a degree (eventually) and I might branch out to the business side of the language instead, since being capable of interpreting literature may be a little pointless when trying to strike complicated deals with (hopefully) lots of 0's at the ends of the numbers.

I dont have time RIGHT now, but later I will look very closely at those links edelweis, I'm sure they will be rediculously useful, and it's nice to know I can "skip" up to the right level for me, hence illiminating the need to do tests which would bore me to death.:mrgreen:

Everyone else, thanks again, it's interesting to know that people dont necessarily know what it means to have "an HSK", but I guess if it's explained as to what it is, and I think someone mentioned being able to skip into a degree course at a higher level/ later year, this would give me plenty of keys to some important doors.

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Shi Tong

Hello edelweis.. the last link you posted was gold dust, now I know what to expect.

The first two didn't work :(

Thanks for the last one though, I'm listening to level 3 at the moment which seems pretty easy with the exception of a couple of words I'm not used to. One problem for me is that a lot of them use mainland Chinese phrasiology which can be different from the Taiwanese stuff, though I can probably guess a lot of them.

EX: 空调 is called 冷气 lěng​qì​ (air conditioning (used in Taiwan)) but kongtiao is easy to remember as well.:mrgreen:

I'll see what 4 and 5 are like, and then really start getting nervous. :lol:

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edelweis

@ Shi Tong: the site seems very slow tonight for some reason...

I see you're in the UK, here is the site information.

Only one site seems to have a test date scheduled for now. Perhaps you can contact the other sites for more information about their schedule.

But this chinesetesting website is devoted to the new HSK, it is possible that the old HSK is organised somewhere in the UK as well... however I don't know where to find information about that.

=============

Confucius Institute for Scotland in the University of Edinburgh

Test Center Code: 652

Telephone: 0044-131-6622180

新汉语水平考试HSK 15 may 2010

Levels I to V, onsite registration (so don't need to access the website)

==========

The University of Sheffield

Test Center Code: 651

Address: Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield 301 Glossop Road Sheffield S10 2TN, United Kingdom

Telephone: 0044-114-2228332

Fax: 0044-114-2228334

Email: confucius A T sheffield.ac.uk

============

China . HSK. UK. Committee Head office

Test Center Code: 634

Address: 124 Euston Road London U.K. NW1 2AL

Telephone: 0044-2073-888818

Fax: 0044-7940-533012

Email: tinachen A T uk-china.net

=============

The University of Nottingham Confucius Institute

Test Center Code: 647

Address: Confucius Institute, Orchards Building, Nottingham University, Nottingham

Telephone: 44-(0)115-823-2113

Fax: 44-(00115-846-6324

Email: Rongrong.yang A T nottingham.ac.uk

=============

Language Centre, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Test Center Code: 650

Address: London Confucius Institute SOAS Language Centre University of London Thornhaugh Street London UK WC1H 0XG

Telephone: 0044-20-7898-4873/4762

Fax: 0044-20-78984889

Email: Lci A T soas.ac.uk

Edited by edelweis
removed @s - no need to have the british test sites spammed

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