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I found a brief note on Wikipedia that since 2020, HSK is going to be restructured. It links to a tweet, which shows a page in Chinese. Is there any more information compared to what Wikipedia currently states? If not, are there any educated guesses that can be made based on prior two changes to HSK structure and the way Hanban works?

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  • I saw two close votes claiming I'm asking for learning resources here. How's this question about HSK2020 structure different than others?
    – d33tah
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 10:17
  • 3
    Yeah, you're right. Doesn't look like a resource request to me. I've protected it now, but that doesn't necessarily stop close flags.
    – Mou某
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 11:16
  • I don't see anything about this on chinesetest.cn.
    – imrek
    Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 19:07
  • It's also astounding that there's very little information on this change available in English from Hanban and related organizations. For those advanced it shouldn't be a problem to read the Weixin posts and that paper, but for those just trying prepare for the entry levels (1-2-3...) it must be infuriating.
    – imrek
    Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 19:44
  • They've finally realized that HSK6 is basically just CEFR B1-level. This could mean that jobs would now require HSK >6 levels and people who'd given up studying once they've got their 6 need to get working again.
    – Lily White
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 15:30

3 Answers 3

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TL;DR (28 December 2023): According to the official standards (watermark removed; English translation (paid)), there are 9 levels (elementary: 1,2,3; intermediate 4,5,6; advanced; 7,8,9). The standards introduce three new components: spoken Chinese, translation (to Chinese), and handwriting. The first level-(7,8,9)-combined exam was on the 26th November 2022. This didn't have a handwriting component, but this may be due to COVID.

Levels 1-6 will not be immediately adjusted, but will be gradually adjusted over the next 2 to 3 years. This is actively discussed in detail on Chinese-Forums.

Resources: Chinese Zero to Hero course (paid, includes vocabulary [incomplete] and grammar); Mega Mandarin flashcards (paid); HSK3.0 vocabulary by A-V-A-Weyland along with other sources such as Chinese Forums (free), and github (HSK-official-Query-System (free) and elkmovie (free)); and ChineseTest.cn via the link 《标准》查询 (free); Anki decks (free) e.g. 1 2 and Hanzi and vocab; TofuLearn (free) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7-9a 7-9b.

Textbooks: Quick Vocabulary Handbook 《词汇速记速练手册》 for levels 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7-9上, 7-9下; handwriting 《汉字书写手册》 for 等; grammar 《语法学习手册》 for 等; and a dictionary 《国际中文学习词典》 for levels 1-3 (初阶) on Taobao.

There's also a new official HSK app called Wo Hui Mandarin, and practice exam website HSKMock.


At the time of writing, the best guess is that the HSK 3.0 vocabulary list is in the recently-published book:

汉语国际教育用词语声调组合及轻重音格式实用手册
A Practical Manual of Tone Patterns and Formats of Stressed and Unstressed Syllables in Mandarin Words for the Application of Teaching Chinese to the Speakers of Other Languages
刘英林, et al.

(Edit: Note this manual is different to the official standards, e.g. 爱 is level 1 in the official standards, while 爱 is level 2 in this manual.)

A redditor posted images of some of the pages from this book on Imgur (from this post; I transcribed some of it here). I bought this book from JingDong (also available here), and posted about it on Reddit. The guess is primarily based on a tweet from an account called HSK Official:

HSK is about to be reformed. #HSK In 2020, the Chinese Proficiency Standards will usher in a new change: a hybrid paradigm of “Three Stages and Nine Levels” characterized by integration and all-in-one.

There are also reports on QQ: here and here. (Note the tweet links to the first QQ post, which mentions 刘英林 and other authors.) These posts use screenshots from the recently-published paper:

汉语国际教育汉语水平等级标准全球化之路
刘英林, et al. (available here)

[Edit (6 August 2023): I deleted this part to reduce my character count. Check the version history. This book is not very relevant nowadays.]

Update:

  • 18 July 2020: A Redditor posted an Anki deck containing levels 7 through 9.

  • 3 August 2020: One Redditor posted a visualization of the change from HSK 2.0 to HSK 3.0 in the context of CEFR:

    enter image description here

    Another Redditor posted another visualization of the change from HSK 2.0 to HSK 3.0:

    enter image description here

  • 2 November 2020: the Redditor goeastmandarin (from the company Go East Mandarin) posted a photo of a meeting about HSK3.0 (also on Twitter). The photo in the slide is identical to the table above. The Chinese says:

    汉语国际教育汉语水平等级标准
    [My translation:] Chinese international education Chinese-level standard grading

    HSK3.0只增加7-9级,1-6级不变
    HSK3.0 only adds levels 7 through 9, levels 1 through 6 are unchanged

    Above, "unchanged" seems interpretable as "unchanged as a whole". (Specifically, if a vocabulary word belongs within levels 1 through 6 in HSK2.0, then it will belong within levels 1 through 6 in HSK3.0.) The numbers in the table are not consistent with individually unchanged HSK levels.

    Redditor A-V-A-Weyland includes a Dropbox link to the HSK3.0 vocabulary (i.e. from the abovementioned book).

  • 18 November 2020: Redditor A-V-A-Weyland provides Pleco flashcards for the HSK3.0 vocabulary (i.e. from the abovementioned book).

  • 1 April 2021: There was an official announcement of changes to the HSK, and it includes a 260-page document describing the changes in detail (see also: version with watermark removed). The changes are reported to be implemented on July 1, 2021.

    The changes are summarized in a GoEast post: New HSK levels for learning Chinese (Update April 2021). What we didn't expect already is item 4 from this post:

    4: Hanzi handwriting and translation skills are added, in addition to listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills

  • 13 April 2021: Anki decks containing the new HSK vocabulary and characters are provided via Reddit. Ninchanese has a "fact vs. rumor" post. They point to this Tweet by the official HSK account (made in March this year):

    There will be no changes for HSK 1-6 this year

  • 15 April 2021: Chinese-Forums user mungouk claims to have received an email from chinesetest.cn, stating:

    • The current HSK 1-6 levels will not be changed for the present.
    • Under the premise of ensuring the stability of HSK 1-6, the advanced HSK (level 7-9) is under development, which is mainly aimed at international students who are majoring in Chinese language and literature, and international students in other majors with a high level of Chinese, overseas Sinology researchers and so on.
    • The advanced HSK (level 7-9) is scheduled to be launched as early as the second half of this year.

    The latest information about HSK will be released on our official websites (http://www.chinese.cn/ and http://www.chinesetest.cn/), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HSKTestOfficial-107674817613428) and twitter (https://twitter.com/HSKTestOfficial), please keep an eye on our official publicity.

  • 22 April 2021: A HSK Official tweet asserts:

    目前正在实施的HSK1-6级近期不会调整,考试效力、考试内容、参考词汇及考试形式不变,将继续稳定实施。参加HSK1-6级的考生成绩仍然有效,已取得的证书效力不变。
    [Google Translate]: The currently implemented HSK 1-6 levels will not be adjusted in the near future, and the test effectiveness, test content, reference vocabulary and test format will remain unchanged and will continue to be implemented stably. The scores of candidates participating in HSK 1-6 levels are still valid, and the validity of the certificates already obtained remains unchanged.

    They also discuss the HSK7-9 rollout in a QQ post:

    依据《标准》科学研制HSK7-9级需要一个过程,目前计划于2021年12月试考,2022年3月正式推出考试。
    [Google Translate]: It takes a process to scientifically develop HSK Levels 7-9 according to the "Standard". Currently, it is planned to take the test in December 2021 and officially launch the test in March 2022.

  • ~2021: Chinese Zero to Hero has a searchable webpage with the HSK7-9 vocabulary, including e.g. English translations.

  • 2 March 2022: A new textbook 国际中文教育中文水平等级标准·语法学习手册(初等)has been released (see also news at chinesetest.cn). It's a grammar textbook for the HSK 3.0 levels 1-3. It's available for purchase at Jingdong, Taobao, and Dangdang where you can preview some pages (the Dangdang link has the whole table of contents). The QQ page states that the intermediate and advanced levels will be released in the third or fourth quarter of 2022:

    《语法学习手册(初等)》已于2022年1月出版,中等和高等分册预计2022年第三、四季度出版,欢迎订购及持续关注。

  • 1 April 2022: There's a new official HSK app called Wo Hui Mandarin which I think is related to the HSK 3.0. It's in development and you can sign up for a test account.

  • 18 May 2022: New HSK levels 7-9 had a trial run (see QQ page):

    2022年5月15日,国际中文水平考试HSK高等(7-9级)考试进行了试测。本次试测共在全球9个考点同时举办,来自韩国、日本、泰国、越南、美国、俄罗斯等国的500多名考生通过线上居家网考的形式参与了此次试测。
    [Baidu Translate]: On May 15, 2022, the international Chinese Proficiency Test HSK advanced (level 7-9) was tested. The test was held in 9 test sites around the world at the same time. More than 500 candidates from South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, the United States, Russia and other countries participated in the test in the form of online home online test.

    汉考国际将根据试测结果和考生问卷分析,优化试卷结构及试题内容,今年下半年正式推出HSK高等(7-9级)考试。目前正在实施的HSK1-6级考试在未来几年内不会进行难度调整,考试内容与考试效力不变,将与即将推出的7-9级考试同步实施,欢迎广大中文学习者根据自身情况报考相应级别的HSK考试。
    [Baidu Translate]: According to the test results and the analysis of candidates' questionnaires, CETC will optimize the structure and content of the test paper, and officially launch the HSK advanced (level 7-9) test in the second half of this year. The hsk1-6 test currently being implemented will not be subject to difficulty adjustment in the next few years. The test content and effectiveness will remain unchanged and will be implemented simultaneously with the upcoming level 7-9 test. Chinese learners are welcome to apply for the corresponding level of HSK test according to their own conditions.

  • 20 May 2022: a Reddit user describes their experience taking the trial HSK7-9 exam:

    The set up was the same as that of the current take home HSK tests - download the software, and film yourself in a group video conference. But I didn’t appreciate the significance that you had to download different Chinese input software, which meant I couldn’t type answers and had to withdraw halfway. Previously this input software wasn’t required.

    Fortunately there are no more grammar questions. Just comprehension questions.

    ...

    They had a section in which you had to put whole paragraphs in order in an essay. Which seems like something that should be very coachable.

    The software was sogou pinyin.

  • 21 May 2022: An elementary-level (levels 1,2,3) learner's dictionary 《国际中文学习词典》 was released (JingDong; sample page).

  • 21 May 2022: A YouTube video (in Korean and Chinese) gives a description of the HSK7-9 trial exam. If it's correct, the exam has 4 sections: listening (3 parts); reading (3 parts); writing (2 parts); speaking (2 parts). Translation is into Chinese, and is part of the writing and speaking sections. She didn't mention handwriting. There's more about this at Chinese-forums.

  • 3 July 2022: Chinesetest.cn now has a webpage with the HSK 3.0 vocabulary (click 《标准》查询).

  • 14 July 2022: A series of videos discussing the reform is here. The video by 黄蕾 includes how levels 7-9 break apart:

    levels 7-8: splits into 4 parts (listening, reading, writing, speaking) and 12 sections

  • 19 July 2022: A paper 《国际中文教育中文水平等级标准》的中国特色和解读应用 by 刘英林, 李佩泽, and 李亚男 was published about the standards. Of most relevance to the readers here are:

    它有两个重要标志:一是建立现代汉语规范口语主导型的新型等级标准,以词语的通用性作为最重要的标准——初等水平和中等水平略倾向于普通话口语,高等水平略倾向于普通话书面语。

    This highlights how the post-reform levels 1-6 will lean towards oral Chinese, whereas levels 7-9 will lean towards written Chinese.

    目标体系中音节、汉字、词汇、语法“四维基准”之间的优化配比

    They discuss HSK 3.0 design decisions, and in particular highlight the above proportionality. (音节 = "syllable"; 汉字 = "hanzi" (Chinese characters); 词汇 = "vocabulary" (vocabulary items); 语法 = "grammar" (grammar items); 音节与汉字比 = "proportion of syllables to hanzi"; 词汇与汉字比 = "proportion of words to hanzi".)

    The also comment that the elementary level is also called a "popularization level" (初等水平也称为普及化水平), depending on how you translate 普及.

  • 21 July 2022: An English translation of the official standards is now on sale; see report:

    英文版由上海大学外国语学院张新玲教授团队翻译,内容充实详尽。其词汇表涵盖“三等九级”整个框架,共收入约1万个词语,每个词语不但标注拼音、词性,还以英文列出了从本义到引申义的所有义项,词汇表几乎相当于一本简明汉英词典;语法等级大纲的所有例词、例句均有英译,文字通顺地道,帮助读者通过实例掌握较为抽象的语法知识。

    The book is described as having definitions and parts of speech, and is equivalent to a concise Chinese-English dictionary. It can be purchased at JingDong, DangDang, SinoBook; etc. (Thanks to shawky.nasr at Chinese Forums.)

  • 7 September 2022: It may not be related to the HSK 3.0, but the paper version of the HSK in 中国地区(含港澳台) (China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan) in 2023 (starting January next year) is reported to require the HSKK (汉语水平口语考试):

    报名HSK3级须同时报名HSK口试初级。
    报名HSK4级须同时报名口试中级。
    报名HSK5、6级须同时报名HSK口试高级。

    This is the current situation for at home exams outside of China and within China.

  • 28 September 2022: The intermediate grammar textbook 国际中文教育中文水平等级标准·语法学习手册(中等)has been released; available for purchase here.

  • 20 October 2022: The inaugural HSK 7-9 exams have been announced! They're reported to start on 26th November worldwide, and there's currently there's no paper-based test.

    The format of the HSK 7-9 exam is given below:

    Listening; Reading; Writing; Translation; Speaking

    It says the testing time is 210 minutes long in total; it's a very long test:

    the full exam lasts from 9am to 2.30pm

    See my post at chinese-forums for a translation.

  • 26 October 2022: While the chinesetest.cn website enables you to enroll for a mock HSK7-9 exam. I tried it just now and it doesn't start, and instead gives the popup:

    Login attempt: 准考证号或密码错误,请重新输入!Wrong examination certificate number or password, please re-enter!

    准考证号或密码错误,请重新输入!
    Wrong examination certificate number or password, please re-enter!

  • 3 November 2022: The website HSKMock.com has been launched, with mock exams for HSK levels 1-6. See announcement in English and Chinese.

  • 3 January 2023: There are two new vocabulary textbooks 国际中文教育中文水平等级标准 词汇速记速练手册 (something like "rapid vocabulary learning") at levels 1 (JD, Tianmao) and 2 (JD).

  • 13 January 2023: The 语法学习手册 grammar textbook advanced 高级 is now available, e.g. at JingDong and TaoBao.

    A handwriting manual 汉字书写手册 is available in beginner 初级 (JingDong; TaoBao), intermediate 中级 (JingDong; TaoBao), and advanced 高级 (JingDong; TaoBao).

    I note the HSK-(7,8,9) practice exam is available on YouTube: part 1 and part 2; I'm not sure if these are intended to be "leaked" online.

  • 31 July 2023: A meeting regarding "HSK reform and development" is advertised for August 5. The two presentations are:

    黄蕾,HSK发展历程与新发展趋势 (HSK development course and new development trends)
    罗莲,对HSK1-6级考试题型的思考 (Thoughts on the HSK 1-6 exam question style)

  • 6 August 2023: I watched the livestream of the above-mentioned presentations, and tried to jot down what I thought was relevant (apologies for any mistakes):

    • 黄蕾 mostly talked about the history, and transitioning from HSK 1.0 to HSK 2.0, and the number of test takers. She emphasized HSK 3.0 will focus more on communication, academia, and Chinese culture. She said the work to 修订大纲、词汇 (revision) will begin in 2023, and 开展 (launch) will begin in 2023 or 2024. She mentioned mock HSK7-9 exams for 2024.

    • 罗莲 shared her ideas for HSK1-6 reform. She systematically went through the four sections listening 听, reading 读, writing 写, and speaking 说 (but not translation), and the six levels HSK1-6, and how they might change. There was way too much info being presented to keep up with.

      • 听: She said HSK1-3 does not include enough 书面语, but HSK4-6 contains too much 书面语 and the talking speed is too fast; she mentioned HSK4-6 might also contain accents and dialects.

      • 读: Like with listening, she said HSK1-3 does not include enough 书面语, but HSK4-6 contains too much 书面语. She strongly criticized how there is pinyin on the HSK1-3 exams. She criticized the HSK6 语病 ("faulty wording") questions, saying they give you four unrelated sentences, and she would prefer a paragraph. She praised the HSK6 "fill in the blank with a sentence" section.

      • 写: For HSK1-4, she gave examples where the student is given a sentence, and they're asked to rewrite it using a particular grammar pattern (I recall 是……的 and 宁可……也 in particular). For HSK4 I saw mention of cloze sentences and different writing styles. She criticized how HSK5 students are not writing long sentences, and specifically criticized the "five words" writing section of the HSK5. She criticized the HSK6 缩写 section as only having one task, and listed 3 writing tasks, including 中长篇 and 读后写.

      • 说: (She was running out of time, so we had to rush.) She strongly emphasized how 朗读 (reading aloud) is only suitable for elementary students. She also wanted speaking to be more interactive.

      Beyond this, there was mention of handwriting (but I didn't catch anything specific), and writing better reports (to give students better feedback).

      The biggest surprise for me was: she talked about collaborating with AI companies. (Again, the relevant conversation was really quick, due to time.) She talked about using AI to interact with students in the oral section, and she flashed up a slide, and it appears that they're thinking about doing virtually all the HSK exam marking via AI (it listed ~5 uses for AI in the HSK 3.0).

    Edit (14 January 2024): Notes for the livestream are here. A screenshot of a slide discussing the listening section is here:

    enter image description here

    They also describe the use of AI thusly:

    另外,罗老师还介绍了HSK2.0改进过程中基于AI的测试研究,以及考试大纲与新标准的衔接问题。
    [Google Translate]: In addition, Teacher Luo also introduced the AI-based testing research in the improvement process of HSK2.0, as well as the connection issues between the examination syllabus and the new standards.

  • 1 November 2023: A sample HSK7-9 exam is available from chinesetest.cn: script and audio. (Thanks to u/yoshimelaine for pointing this out.)

  • 21 December 2023: Mega Mandarin created this nice HSK 3.0 vocabulary graphic (sourced from their Anki deck demo):

    Two plots: they plot the number of words vs. frequency for HSK 2.0 (left) vs. HSK 3.0 (right)

  • 28 December 2023: HSK7-9 vocabulary textbooks are now available for sale: and .

  • 17 January 2024: A HSK3.0 Anki deck was posted on Reddit by u/ChickenSoup_and_Rice.

  • 29 February 2024: A beginner (初级) grammar textbook for teachers is now for sale here; see this for details and screenshots (here's an example for the measure word 场).

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  • 6
    The usage of a dot to indicate 轻读 is quite common in printed dictionaries, such as 现代汉语词典. To be more precise, the introduction in the dictionary says that it means "一般轻读", meaning that even though a word is listed with a full tone, it's common to reduce it anyway.
    – Olle Linge
    Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 15:49
  • I'd put a warning at the top of your post to remind people to wait for Hanban/Confucius Inst. to confirm the vocabulary lists before rushing to buy a book that could cost up to $50 with shipping, fees, etc. depending on the location. I don't see anything official on the new test on chinesetest.cn, but a lot of speculation on forums and social media. Let's wait until Hanban bureaucrats finally post something thorough, concise and complete, and not just drop some selective info on social media.
    – imrek
    Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 20:23
  • So more is expected for the exam than what is being taught? That seems odd.
    – mic
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 6:07
  • Reddit link to the Pleco Flashcards is incorrect - it's pointing to his profile. Link to the thread is here: reddit.com/r/ChineseLanguage/comments/juncoq/…
    – user26909
    Commented Dec 2, 2020 at 6:16
  • Ah, the Pleco flashcards link seems okay (it's the same link (?)), but the one to the comment about the Dropbox link wasn't correct. Anyway, I'm guessing it's okay to just link directly to the Dropbox file now.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Commented Dec 2, 2020 at 10:29
5

《国际中文教育中文水平等级标准》发布

2021-03-31 来源:教育部

http://www.moe.gov.cn/jyb_xwfb/gzdt_gzdt/s5987/202103/t20210329_523304.html

The web page has a link to a PDF of the 260-page draft standard. Official implementation date is 1 July.

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  • People on Chinese forums are also getting OCR versions, making Pleco decks, etc. if anyone is interested. Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 18:22
  • Is this the CCP equivalent of a legislation draft bill that would take effect upon publication on July 1?
    – J.C
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 11:30
  • It's an educational standard. I don't understand the question about CCP.
    – mungouk
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 23:29
0

There are a bunch of new things coming to HSK starting June 1st. Heres a list of new things that'll change going into the new HSK!

  1. There will now be 9 HSK levels instead of 6!
  2. There will be 300 new characters
  3. Because of this, the amount of new words in each level vary
  4. But, this will lead to level 1,2,3,4 becoming much harder
  5. Achieving a HSK9 would mean you have to know 5636 Mandarin Chinese Words!

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