Writing Chinese characters is difficult, but I can copy them easily enough. Presumably, I won't be able to utilize my mobile phone, a dictionary, etc., during the HSK, but it seems there might still be one legitimate source where I could copy characters from: the exam materials themselves.

The reading and listening sections would contain a vast number of characters which I can read, but for which I haven't memorized how to write.

Question: If I forget how to write a character during the HSK, can I copy it from the supplied exam materials?

I'm interested if this is prohibited, or somehow thwarted by the examiners.

  • Just curious - do you have to write down the characters on the test? Maybe only on HSK 6?
    – Blaszard
    Oct 28, 2017 at 18:59
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    I just took a practice HSK3, and there were a few characters you had to write. The HSK4+ exams have writing sections where you need to write whole sentences in Chinese.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Oct 29, 2017 at 0:48
  • Isn’t it just done on a computer?
    – Mou某
    Oct 29, 2017 at 2:10
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    @Becky李蓓 I just found that there are two types of tests - paper-based and computer-based - and you must write in the characters by hand if you choose the paper-based exam. In a computer-based one, you just type in pinyin.
    – Blaszard
    Oct 29, 2017 at 4:20
  • @Blaszard: That's a massive difference in difficulty. I feel like it's somewhat pointless learning how to write Chinese by hand now.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Oct 30, 2017 at 5:16

4 Answers 4


I remember when I was in middle school 语文 test, I forgot how to write a character, I jumped to following questions, then occasionally I found that character in question descrpition. That moment..., it is like I found Blackbeard's treasure.

I don't think it is cheating, it is a gift. No one would stop you to look at your exam paper and copy them.


It's been some time since that was asked but I happen to have been mislead by this answer. I just took the hsk3 exam and, having read this topic a few weeks ago, was counting on the supplied material to give me a hand for the writing part in case I forget how to write a character.

For everyone taking the "new" exam (this is 2020 already): So the answer I got from the clerk was no, we cannot use the supplied material from the other parts of the exam (reading and writing) as a support for the third part. Sincerely,


2017 Becky, you have taken the handwritten HSK5 and HSK6 exams, so in these cases:

HSK5: Yes, you can. You can also write on the exam paper. (PS. You didn't need to do so; the general advice is to keep it simple and avoid making concrete mistakes.)

HSK6: It's not possible, not because it's prohibited, but because you don't have the other exam materials during the writing portion. After the reading section, you hand in the exam script. Afterwards, you're given 10 minutes to memorize a ~1000汉字 story, which is also taken away. So during the writing section, it's just you and a pencil and paper. (Consider using a synonym, or rephrasing the sentence instead.)


I have only taken the HSK 4. From what I recall you are free to navigate back and forth through all of the sections of the test, so theoretically you can pick characters from earlier reading to write in. Not sure if that is the case for other levels.

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