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I am sitting HSK elementary level in October after two years of self study.

Does anyone have any comments regarding how they found the test and/or tips.

I would much appreciate any feedback on how they mark the test, the results people got and whether the range of HSK prep material on the market really does help.



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hi Phil,

I got your pm about this too, but I may as well reply here...

I took the elementary/intermediate test in may, but I haven't got my results yet, so I can't tell you how I got on! I've been studying chinese for three of the last four years, one in taiwan and two in london. I'm not planning on using the HSK for anything at the moment, so I don't really mind how I did, I just wanted to get an idea of my level.

Personally, I found the listening skills section much harder than the reading, the grammar section didn't seem too bad, and the final section (where you have to fill in the characters) the hardest. I guess it just depends on what your strenghts are, but a lot of people seem to find the final section hard. Even though I write quite a bit of chinese, there is only one right answer, and if you don't know that specific character there is no chance to choose an alternative you do know.

If you haven't already got the HSK handbook which lists all the required vocab, you can get it from any HSK office. They do seem to stick religiously to the printed list, so its definitely worth getting this and trying to work through it. I concentrated on the first two levels of vocab, 3000 words in total, although the elementary/intermediate book also includes the next level with an extra 2000 words in it. They also list required grammar patterns in the back.

There are also some books on the market which just have five sets of practice tests in them with a tape to go with it for the listening section. I didn't have much chance to prepare with them but I would recommend it if you can get hold of them. I think just working through lots of practice questions would be the best way to prepare.

One thing about the listening test is that some of the questions are very general, even on the harder passages. Something like where the scene took place (the hospital? the airport? etc) or was the person angry, bored? etc So if you have just listened to three minutes of chinese and only understood the most basic points, there's still a good chance you'll be able to answer the first question.

Good luck with your preparation. If you have any other questions you think I could help with, let me know.


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No the book that comes with the test fee is the 考生手册 (kao sheng shou ce), which has all the test instructions and stuff. The one with the vocab listing (and a practice test) is the 考试大纲 (kao shi da gang). I had to buy it separately. It says 18RMB on the back, although I had to pay around

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Hi JoH

You took the HSK in London Euston? I was wondering would it be possible if you could give me the telephone number for the test centre.

I was going to take the hsk in Shanghai in May but it was cancelled :( so 2nd time lucky for me maybe?


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Hi hikki, these are the details for the China HSK UK committee (as they call themselves):

124 Euston Road

email: hsk@uk-china.net

phone: 020 7388 8818

You can call in there if you are in the area - it's inside the china travel agency place near Euston station. The women I dealt with (I can't remember her name) was very helpful. The test was actually held at SOAS in Russell Square.

Hope that helps, Jo

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  • 1 year later...

Hi, all. I'm in Taiwan, so I've never seen an HSK, actually. My old language school, 師範大學 has a test of their own, that they use instead. From what I've heard not much of anyone respects that test, and HSK is the way to go. But, I don't know too many 簡體字. Is it possible to take a 繁體字HSK? I mean, I'll learn simplified someday, but as I'm not that literate in traditional yet, I'm not quite ready to move to mainland.

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  • 1 month later...


don't worry about Simplified characters. If you take the Elem-Inter HSK they'll let you use traditional for the fill in the blank part.

I only got to Beijing at the end of august. Prior to that the only exposure I've had to simplified was when my classmates used it (so the book had both) and the teachers from mainland China. When I got here, I got used to it so quickly that I thought traditional is definitely the best form to learn if you plan to be able to use both in the future. Once I go back to my school in the US, I will switch back to traditional. Here, I take all my classes in simplified bec. that's how all the books are but some of my teachers let me write in traditional sometimes.

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