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Friedrich

Definition of HSK Levels

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Friedrich

Does anyone know of a good Chinese or English definition of the 6 new HSK levels?

All I found was

http://www.chinesetesting.cn/gonewcontent.do?id=677487

which describes them in one sentence each. Is there a more detailed definition around somewhere - my Chinese is not good enough to really search in mandarin, but I guess Hanban should have issued some official description there.

I just cant find it...

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edelweis

you can also check this page

The first link in the 手册类 section is the general HSK manual in Chinese and English (page 29). 2012年HSK考生手册(中英对照)

The 考试大纲类 section has a description of all levels in Chinese only, with a sample paper and vocabulary list. Levels up to 3 also have a grammar brief (sample sentences).

You can download the audio for the sample papers by clicking on the corresponding 听力音频文件 link.

Past papers are available in the 样卷类 section.

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hanyu_xuesheng
The six new HSK level equal the levels of The Common European Framework Reference for Languages


That's very questionable: http://bit.ly/xQEqHj (in German / Chinese / English).

 

Edit: Direct link to pdf, as above link no longer works. R. 

According to this article:
HSK 3 = CEFR A1
HSK 4 = CEFR A2
HSK 5 = CEFR B1
HSK 6 = CEFR B2

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roddy

I don't know if they still have that claim up on their website because they are deluded enough to think it's true, or they just can't figure out how to remove the article. Or more likely, they're not even aware there's an issue.

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yialanliu

From entrance exams for college:

Level 6 gets you into graduate programs taught in Chinese to locals

Level 5 gets you into Graduate certificate programs (NJU/JHU for isntance) as well as undergraduate programs taught in Chinese(all fields) PKU for MBA only required a level 5 this year where prior it was level 6.

Level 3 typically gets you into Chinese undergraduate programs for Chinese as a second language, kind of like learning chinese for a chinese language degree.

My personal opinion:

Level 6 is you are pretty close to fluency.

Level 5, advanced learner.

Level 4, intermediate and should be able to easily survive in China.

Level 3, probably enough to survive especially if you have a dictionary with you.

Level 1-2 are jokey in terms of the limited material that is tested.

By survive I mean be a part of the local community as in non expat areas. If you are living in expat areas then obviously you don't know to know that much Chinese at all.

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Elizabeth_rb

Sorry to resurrect an old-ish topic, but I was just wondering if any of the HSK level definition critics had actually taken an HSK. From what I hear and my own experience with the former TOP (Taiwan's version), you not only need the level of vocab etc stated, but you need it at lightening speed. The tests are incredibly fast and don't compare in the least to the types of language testing we have in the West where you get to listen twice (or more!) and then get plenty of time to select your answer and to read the passages in the reading sections as slowly as you like.

Oriental language proficiency tests expect you to perform as fast as a native does and therein lies the real difficulty. You may actually have the knowledge for level 5 or 6 of the HSK, or one of the others (TOCFL, JLPT etc), but is it firmly enough lodged in your brain to produce it at top speed? That's the point. So the syllabi in terms of vocab level etc can look quite insultingly low when compared to Euro languages and CEFR levels. However, the speed you need to perform takes it two or more levels beyond in real terms.

Just a thought. :P

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dnevets

Hanyu_xuesheng wrote:

That's very questionable: http://bit.ly/xQEqHj (in German / Chinese / English).

According to this article:

HSK 3 = CEFR A1

HSK 4 = CEFR A2

HSK 5 = CEFR B1

HSK 6 = CEFR B2

.....

Sorry, but that it utter balls. Look at this: http://www.ielts.org/home/researchers/common_european_framework.aspx

I passed new HSK level 5 last year, and if it is level B1, then I'm equivalent to an english-learner at IELTS level ~4.5?! Erm... no!

I work with international students at a UK university (including being responsible for assessment of their language proficiency) so I know a thing or two about this topic. I'm way ahead of ~4.5. I'd say my Chinese is equivalent to the English levels of my students that are scoring about 6.5 - 7.0, so I'm of the opinion that HSK level 5 is ~B2+/C1-.

Note that it is VERY difficult to get an IELTS 9.0 (and, therefore, a C2) - plenty of native English users wouldn't be able to get this without training.

These might help to define what each level is:

http://www.ielts.org/institutions/test_format_and_results/ielts_band_scores.aspx

http://www.ielts.org/PDF/UOBDs_SpeakingFinal.pdf

English and Chinese, comparing apples with oranges? Well, CEFR levels are meant to allow comparison of different languages, and IELTS levels are pretty well defined and recognised. So.... well, just my ideas.

Elizabeth_rb:

1) IELTS listening tests only get played once...

2) For HSK you don't need to be "lightening fast"... perhaps "quite fast" is a more accurate description!

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外国赤佬

HSK5 is quite easy and is probably B2. Not sure about HSK6, will attempt it the next month.

As for the speed, I found the 听力 rather slow, much slower than normal native speech, to the point where it sounds unnatural. The old HSK's 听力 was much more demanding. As for the texts, yes, you have to be able to read the chinese characters at a reasonably fast speed, but then again, nothing exceptional.

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Elizabeth_rb

I agree that HSK 5 should be B2/C1. I haven't yet done HSK, but I did do TOP and that was pretty darned quick. I'll be interested to see how it compares. I know I need to improve my reading speed as I'm a lazy lump who rarely bothers to read Chinese! My hubby did TOP 3/4 (supposed to be B2 level) and he reads more than I do and couldn't finish the reading section in time.

Can't comment on IELTS as, of course, I haven't taken it :P but my German hubby said the Cambridge Advanced and Proficiency exams you heard the listening parts twice. I'm hoping to take Goether Institut German exams soon too and will be interested to see how relaxed the exam format is when compared to Chinese proficiency tests too. If it is fairly easy going in terms of time allowed etc, than that might account for that German body's having 'looking at the documentation' (so says their article) and proclaimed the HSK as too high up on the CEFR scale.

We shall see.... I hope to get to the HSK 5 test this year some time and will be in a better position to comment then. I know the old HSK was said to be fierce!

Good to know HSK5 doesn't seem too fiendish!! I'll be interested to know how you get on with level 6 next month, if you don't mind sharing.

BTW, what's your background in Chinese language? (Just for comparison purposes and interest in what these darned levels really are!!)

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edelweis

@dnevets: do you perhaps have stats on how much study time Chinese people need to reach a given English level? (Of course, Chinese students study English in middle/high school, so perhaps we can't really compare their progress speed to that of English-speaking people learning Chinese...)

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陳德聰

I don't think you can really compare based on study time in this case. Chinese students don't really learn English in middle/high school, they learn almost solely grammar.

I think study time needed to achieve a certain level is largely irrelevant to the comparison between definitions of levels, since we have had language learners show that there is no specific time it takes to learn to a certain point and that it is very much an individual thing (not going to bring up the specific guy who comes to mind).

I believe dnevets is comparing the definitions of the levels and the ability of the learners who have been designated at those levels.

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Elizabeth_rb

I agree! You can't compare study time for any groups - even within a group at times - as so much depends on how much the student puts into it. You could have 2 people who went to the same classes all through university, one could barely scrape a passing grade on the very lowest proficiency test and the other could ace a decent level of test.

I've seen this sort of thing happen in my own experience both as a student and a teacher where a number of students start at the same time, some come out with good fluency and are able to use their language skills professionally, whereas others never really worked at it and leave their rather poor Chinese behind on graduation.

Setting definitions of levels is a tricky thing! Can be almost as hard to see where you fit on the scale!! :lol:

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dnevets

The theory is that an English learner can improve their overall IELTS grade by 0.5 with 300 hours of study. I'm certain there is a page somewhere out there in the interwebs that explains where this figure came from but I can't find it at the moment.

Sounds a bit vague though, doesn't it? I belive that figure of 300 relates to "doing stuff, using English", so not necessarily studying in an English class. For example, the students I work with study 9 hours of English per week, but the rest of their timetable is full with business, science, or whatever else we're providing foundation courses for. But these are taught solely in English so count towards that figure of 300 hours. Incidentally that isn't just for Chinese students, I think it is for any non-native English learners... so I imagine it must be an average with a fairly large standard deviation (i.e. who'd learn faster/in the least time? A native speaker of Dutch/German, or a native speaker of Chinese/Arabic?).

And if you have a bad student and a good student (whatever their definitions might be) sitting together through 300 hours of 'English', I'm sure they wouldn't improve by the same degrees.

To complicate matters further, students can be taught certain techniques which will boost their scores quite quickly; IELTS isn't purely about being able to speak English, it also tests how well they can structure an essay, for example.

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edelweis

thanks dnevets.

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Basil

I read a while back about how some German Profs. slammed the HSK, saying that it did not in any way correspond to the European Framework of languages.

 

You can download it here, if you're unfamiliar with it.

 

Statement of the German Association of Chinese Teachers on the new HSK structure

 

then

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages

 

 

I was wondering if anyone has any idea, from personal experience or otherwise, how exactly the HSK levels correspond with, say IELTs. 

 

And if the German Profs are correct and HSK 6 is only equivalent to B2, then what Chinese language tests C1/C2 ability?

 

 

 

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imron

Merged with existing topic.

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mokushiroku

I think it's more important to look at the levels in a subjective way: as in how you relate to each level.

 

Defining them objectively might be useful for the govt' to justify Hanban and the scores' roles in getting into uni and work. But as a Chinese learner, your goal should simply be passing the tests, not thinking too hard about them.

 

Here's a quick post on this subject:

 

http://hsktests.com/hsk-levels-2/

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jiasen

That's very questionable: http://bit.ly/xQEqHj (in German / Chinese / English).

 

Edit: Direct link to pdf, as above link no longer works. R. 

According to this article:

HSK 3 = CEFR A1

HSK 4 = CEFR A2

HSK 5 = CEFR B1

HSK 6 = CEFR B2

 

 

I mostly agree with that article, except I think that HSK 6 is a fair bit harder than HSK 5. You need a larger vocabulary than they claim to pass the test, and you need to know those 5000 specified words very well. So I would put it somewhere between B2 and C1. If anything, the listening section is too easy, and it would be more appropriate to increase the speaking speed, level of vocabulary and diversity of accents to be more realistic. Without that listening ability, you will struggle to function in Chinese schools or workplaces.

 

I think it seems appropriate for these Chinese tests to be a little easier than their CEFR counterparts. Somebody like Julian Gaudfroy would be at C2 level, and I haven't met too many people with his level of proficiency. I mean the guy is obviously very talented with languages and yet he spent 5 years doing nothing else but studying Chinese to achieve that.

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