Lesson Transcript

嗨大家好,我是李殷如. Hài dàjiā hǎo, Wǒ shì Lǐ Yīnrú.
Hi everyone, Yinru Li here. Welcome to ChineseClass101.com.
If you’re not sure what HSK is, which level you are at and how to prepare for the test, you’ve come to the right place. After this video, you’ll have all the answers to these questions.
First, what is HSK?
HSK stands for “Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi” 汉语水平考试 Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì, which means Mandarin Proficiency Test. It is a standardized test for non-native Chinese speakers to assess their language abilities in daily, academic and professional lives.
The test has 6 levels, level 1 being the most basic and level 6 being the most advanced.
There are fees to take the tests. Level 1 costs 150 RMB, which is about 20 American dollars, and it’s 100 RMB more for each level higher.
One good thing to know is that you don’t have to be physically in mainland China to take the test, you can either do it online or find a test center close to you. To register for the test, you can go to the official website chinesetest.cn and find the section for “HSK”.
Coming up, I will show you some questions from the sample HSK exams, so you can get a better idea of what the tests are like.
Level 1 requires you to know 150 Chinese words and very basic grammar patterns. In the test, there’s a listening section and a reading section. The test lasts about 40 minutes.
You will be tested on basic vocabulary and daily expressions.
For example, you’ll be shown a few pictures in one part of the reading section. One of the pictures is a man in a doctor’s uniform. Another picture is a bullet train. And the third picture is a woman reading a book, and in the fourth picture there’s a guy closing his eyes.
Below these pictures, there are sentences marked with Pinyin, like this:
Tā hěn xǐhuān zhè běn shū.
她很喜欢这本书.
Tā zài shuìjiào ma?
他在睡觉吗?
Wǒmen míngtiān zuò huǒchē qù.
我们明天坐火车去.
What you need to do is to understand what these sentences are saying, and find the pictures with the related information.
For 她很喜欢这本书. Tā hěn xǐhuān zhè běn shū.
“She likes this book very much.”
Your matching picture will be the woman reading a book.
For 他在睡觉吗?Tā zài shuìjiào ma?
“Is he sleeping?”
The corresponding picture will be the guy taking a nap in the chair.
And for 我们明天坐火车去。Wǒmen míngtiān zuò huǒchē qù. meaning “We’re taking a train there tomorrow.”
The correct picture will be the one with a train.
Pretty simple and straightforward.
Level 2 requires you to know 300 words and related grammar patterns. The test also has a listening and reading part. The duration is about 55 minutes.
Let’s see what the listening section for HSK Level 2 could be like.
In the audio recordings, you’ll hear some sentences and dialogues. Each sentence or conversation will be read twice. After that you’ll be answering a question about the statement or dialogue.
yào shàngbān
A. 要上班
yào kǎoshì
B. 要考试
yào kāihuì
C. 要开会
For example, you’ll hear a dialogue. In the meantime, you’ll see this on your answering sheet:
And the dialogue goes:
-小王,你女朋友呢?
-她没来。她下午要考试。
小王的女朋友为什么没来?
小王,你女朋友呢?Xiǎo Wáng, nǐ nǚpéngyou ne?
“Xiao Wang, where’s your girlfriend?”
她没来。她下午要考试。Tā méilái. Tā xiàwǔ yào kǎoshì.
“She didn’t come. She has to take a test this afternoon.”
The first speaker says:
小王,你女朋友呢?Xiǎo Wáng, nǐ nǚpéngyou ne?
“Xiao Wang, where’s your girlfriend?”
Xiao Wang answers:
她没来。她下午要考试。Tā méilái. Tā xiàwǔ yào kǎoshì.
“She didn’t come. She has to take a test this afternoon.”
The question is asking why Xiao Wang’s girlfriend didn’t show up. And the three choices are:
要上班 “has to work”
要考试 “has to take a test”
要开会 “has to attend a meeting”
The correct answer is B. 要考试. She has to take a test. 她下午要考试。Tā xiàwǔ yào kǎoshì.
We can tell from the sample question that this level requires a little more than just basic vocabulary and sentences.
At this level, you should have the ability to conduct daily communications such as doing self-introductions, describing weather and moods, making comparisons, etc.
To get to level 3, students are expected to know 600 words and related grammar patterns.From level 3 up there’s an additional writing section. Plus there will be no Pinyin. Level 3 is about 90-minute long.
Let’s take a look at one example of part of the writing section.
You are given a few words and phrases in random order.
妹妹, 最, 吃, 我, 苹果, 爱.
You’re supposed to put these words and phrases in the correct order to make a sentence that follows the grammar rules and makes sense.
妹妹 mèimei is “younger sister”
最 zuì equals to “most”
吃 chī means “to eat”
我 wǒ could mean “I, me” or even “my” in some cases
苹果 píngguǒ: “apple”
爱 ài:”love”
The correct sentence order should be:
我妹妹最爱吃苹果。Wǒ mèimei zuì ài chī píngguǒ.
“My younger sister loves to eat apples the most.”
To be able to pass this level, you should have the language skills to get involved in more sophisticated conversations such as asking other people for suggestions, using conjunction words to express your own opinions, using specific measure words, being able to express present, past and future events, etc.
When you’re at level 4, you are expected to master 1200 words. With a listening section, a reading section and a writing section, the test will be about 105 minutes.
In the listening section each sentence and dialogue will only be read one time. The materials used in the reading section will be more in-depth. You’ll see what I mean by looking at this part of the reading section.
什么是真正的朋友?不同的人总有不同的理解。
我的理解是:在需要帮助的时候,朋友会勇敢地站出来,及时帮你走出困境, 解决问题; 在受伤难过的时候, 朋友会陪在你身边,逗你开心让你快乐; 无论你是穷人还是富人,真正的朋友永远值得你的信任。
★ 根据这段话,朋友可以帮你:
获得爱情 B. 照顾家人 C. 解决难题 D. 走出贫穷
★ 这段话主要介绍的是:
困难 B. 亲情 C.爱情 D. 友情
The passage is about what a true friend is. Your understanding of this passage is tested by finding the correct answers to the two multiple choice questions:
根据这段话,朋友可以帮你:“According to this passage, what can a friend help you with?”
1. A. 获得爱情。 “get into a romantic relationship”
B. 照顾家人. “take care of your family”
C. 解决难题. “find solutions to a difficult problem”
D. 走出贫穷 “get rid of poverty”
这段话主要介绍的是:”What’s the theme of this passage?”
2. A. 困难 “hardship”
B. 亲情 “love between family”
C. 爱情 “romantic love”
D.友情 “friendship”
Once you’re at this level, you will be able to read Chinese newspapers and magazines and carry out conversations on a wide variety of topics with native Chinese speakers.
It’s also worth pointing out that passing HSK level 4 is one of the requirements for non-native Chinese speakers to study in some Chinese universities.
Now, what is Level 5 like? One of the standards mentioned in the HSK outlines is you should be able to make a public speech in Chinese, and you’ll need 2500 Chinese words in your word bank.
Of course with the questions being more complicated, you need more time, about 125 minutes in total to finish the test.
Let’s get a taste from a listening question:
Listen to the dialogue while reading the multiple choices.
A: 男的手机坏了
B: 男的下载了一个没有声音的视频
C. 男的下载了一个新软件
D. 男的没有开电脑的声音
男: 你帮我看看? 这个视频怎么没有声音。
女: 我看看。是你下载的吗?
男: 是啊,有画面但是没有声音。
女: 怪不得听不到声音,你的电脑调成静音了。
问:根据对话,可以知道什么?
You can tell the dialogue is getting longer, and the speed is faster, close to the regular speed that native speakers talk in daily conversations.
To understand what they’re saying you need to have more extensive vocabulary, in this case computer related words, such as 视频 shìpín ”video”, 下载 xiàzǎi “download”, 画面 huàmiàn “image” and 静音 jìng yīn “mute”.
You also need to be able to make conclusions and inferences from the dialogue. Was the guy’s phone having problems? Did he download something without sound? Did he download a new app? Or did he forget to turn on the volume?
Alright, we’ve finally come to the ultimate level 6!
Level 6 test is also made up of the listening, reading and writing sections. You should have at least 5000 Chinese words to consider taking this level.
Before I show you an example of part of the test, I wanted you to know that, if you can pass level 6, your Chinese is as good or better than the average native Chinese speakers!
Let’s take a peek at the final part of this test: writing.
You have 10 minutes to read a story that’s about 600 words long. While reading the story, you are not allowed to take notes. When the 10 minutes are up this piece of paper will be taken away from you, leaving you 35 minutes to paraphrase the story in about 400 words.
Do you think you can do that?
How to prepare for the HSK?
I hope after my explanations with the sample questions you’ll have a better idea which level you’re at. If you’re
determined to take the test, here’re some tips on preparing for the HSK tests:
The very first thing that I strongly recommend, is to go to the website chinesetest.cn and study the outlines of the 6 levels of the HSK tests very closely. In the outlines, you’ll find information about what language skills are required at each level, which vocabulary words and grammar points will be tested, plus a complete mock test with answers.
Once you have all the language skills listed in the outlines, take the mock exams. Treat them like the real exams, find a place where you won’t be interrupted and take the exams inside the time limit.
The next thing to do, which is a great learning method, is to collect the questions you got wrong. Put them in categories and find out where your weaknesses are.
Is it a certain sentence pattern or grammar point? Or do you need to work on your reading speed? Can you improve your listening scores by doing more listening drills?
When you’re done with one mock test, search for more mock tests and do at least two tests every week, until your test date. If you can prepare yourself like this, I guarantee you will find the real HSK tests to be as easy as pie. Last but not least, get a good night's sleep before your big day. Good luck!
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This is the end of the lesson. Please share your HSK experience and tips in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you. See you next time! 再见!

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