Will HSK change to 9 levels?

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Recently there was a “news” that HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi – Chinese Langauge Proficiency Test) will change from current 6 levels to 9 levels. Is this news true and what this will affect you if it is true?

Firstly, let’s seek the source of the news. It was published on 20 May 2020 . To help you understand the contents, we put the Chinese and Google translate as below

2015年起,孔子学院总部在数十名中外专家学者和中国国家语委的支持下,开始了新的标准研发。经过5年的努力,新的《汉语水平等级标准》诞生了,主要有三方面突破:一是体现汉语独特性,确定音节、汉字、词汇、语法的四维语言量化指标体系,以准确锚定学习者的汉语水平;二是根据汉语教学和学习进阶分为“初、中、高”的惯例,以及CEFR、ACTFL等国际语言标准分为初级、中级和高级三个阶段的习惯,结合海外学习者和HSK考试现状,将新的标准分为三等九级(如表1)。与HSK的考试要求相比,不仅增加了音节、汉字的项目要求,而且对词汇量,特别是高等7-9级的词汇要求有较大提高;三是借鉴广受认同的语言学习理论,特别是巴赫曼等的交际语言能力模型,结合汉语特点,对各等、级,采用语言量化指标、言语交际能力和话题任务内容3个语言水平维度和听、说、读、写、译5个技能维度,即“3+5”的新路径对学习者的汉语水平进行全方位、立体系统地描述(如图1)。

2015 Nián qǐ, kǒngzǐ xuéyuàn zǒngbù zài shù shí míng zhōngwài zhuānjiā xuézhě hé zhōngguó guójiā yǔ wěi de zhīchí xià, kāishǐle xīn de biāozhǔn yánfā. Jīngguò 5 nián de nǔlì, xīn de “hànyǔ shuǐpíng děngjí biāozhǔn” dànshēngle, zhǔyào yǒusān fāngmiàn túpò: Yī shì tǐxiàn hànyǔ dútè xìng, quèdìng yīnjié, hànzì, cíhuì, yǔfǎ de sìwéi yǔyán liànghuà zhǐbiāo tǐxì, yǐ zhǔnquè máo dìng xuéxí zhě de hànyǔ shuǐpíng; èr shì gēnjù hànyǔ jiàoxué hé xuéxí jìn jiē fēn wéi “chū, zhōng, gāo” de guànlì, yǐjí CEFR,ACTFL děng guójì yǔyán biāozhǔn fēn wéi chūjí, zhōngjí hé gāojí sān gè jiēduàn de xíguàn, jiéhé hǎiwài xuéxí zhě hé HSK kǎoshì xiànzhuàng, jiāng xīn de biāozhǔn fēn wéi sān děng jiǔ jí (rú biǎo 1). Yǔ HSK de kǎoshì yāoqiú xiāng bǐ, bùjǐn zēngjiāle yīnjié, hànzì de xiàngmù yāoqiú, érqiě duì cíhuì liàng, tèbié shì gāoděng 7-9 jí de cíhuì yāoqiú yǒu jiào dà tígāo; sān shì jièjiàn guǎng shòu rèntóng de yǔyán xuéxí lǐlùn, tèbié shì bāhè màn děng de jiāojì yǔyán nénglì móxíng, jiéhé hànyǔ tèdiǎn, duì gè děng, jí, cǎiyòng yǔyán liànghuà zhǐbiāo, yányǔ jiāojìnénglì hé huàtí rènwù nèiróng 3 gè yǔyán shuǐpíng wéidù hé tīng, shuō, dú, xiě, yì 5 gè jì néng wéidù, jí “3+5” de xīn lùjìng duì xuéxí zhě de hànyǔ shuǐpíng jìnxíng quán fāngwèi, lìtǐ xìtǒng de miáoshù (rú tú 1).
Since 2015, the Confucius Institute Headquarters has started the development of new standards with the support of dozens of Chinese and foreign experts and scholars and the Chinese National Language Commission. After 5 years of hard work, the new "Chinese Proficiency Level Standard" was born, with three major breakthroughs: First, it reflects the uniqueness of Chinese, and determines the four-dimensional language quantitative index system of syllables, Chinese characters, vocabulary, and grammar to accurately anchor learners Chinese proficiency level; second, the practice of being divided into "beginner, intermediate, and advanced" according to Chinese teaching and learning advancement, and the international language standards of CEFR, ACTFL, etc. are divided into three stages: primary, intermediate, and advanced, combined with overseas learners According to the current status of the HSK test, the new standard is divided into three levels and nine levels (see Table 1). Compared with the HSK test requirements, it not only increases the syllable and Chinese character project requirements, but also greatly improves the vocabulary, especially the advanced vocabulary requirements of grades 7-9; the third is to draw on the widely recognized language learning theory, especially It is Bachman's communicative language ability model, combined with Chinese characteristics, for each grade and level, using language quantification indicators, verbal communication ability and topic task content 3 language level dimensions and 5 skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing and translating The dimension, the new path of "3+5", describes the learner's Chinese proficiency in a comprehensive and three-dimensional manner (Figure 1).
Advanced9 Grade
8 Grade
7 Grade
Intermediate6 Grade
5 Grade
4 Grade
Beginner3 Grade
2 Grade
1 Grade
New HSK 9 Grades as suggested

This article has been translated into English, Japanese and other languages and there are many discussions about this new HSK change.

This is because HSK has become one of the most recognised Chinese Language Proficiency Test and certificate today.

The official HSK started in 1990 in China and started overseas exam in 1991. It had three standards (Advanced, intermediate and beginner) and 11 levels. By 2003 (12 years later) there were 46 test sites over 29 countries and more than 260,000 people took the HSK test.

In 2009 the new HSK standard started. The new HSK still has three standards but reduced the levels from 11 to 6. Five years later, “HSK Standard Course” was published in 2015. The series has six levels (HSK 1 to HSK 6) according to the new HSK six levels, HSK 1 to HSK 3 standard course have one volume each, but there are two volumes each for HSK 4 to HSK 6. Total 9 volumes. “HSK Standard Course” textbooks are so popular that over 1.5 million people have used this series worldwide. As of the end of 2019, there are 1,229 HSK test sites in 150 countries. In 2019, more than 800,000 people took the HSK test.

Will HSK change from current 6 levels to 9 levels?

We couldn’t find any confirmation on this matter on the official websites. This might be under review and may change in the future, but it will not affect you now. From the article above it seems the most changes will be at a higher level. (Update: we talked with the HSK Standard Course publisher and was told this is currently in review. The HSK will change to 9 levels, but the new 9-level system will be away for at least 2 years) .

We are using the official “HSK Standard Course” as our textbooks and we found they are very good. The current HSK Standard Course textbooks should be in use for another 2 – 3 years. The new textbook can only be published after the new 9-level HSK system.

Should you want to learn Mandarin Chinese as a professional please join our HSK courses now. You should be able to pass HSK1 & 2 in 30 hours each and HSK3 & 4 in 40 hours.

  1. HSK 1: Pronunciation and listening. 150 vocabularies and simple sentence. 30 hours (15 weeks x 2 hours).
  2. HSK 2: Dialogue and speaking. 300 vocabularies and long sentences. 30 hours (15 weeks x 2 hours)
  3. HSK 3: Listen, Speaking, read and write. 600 vocabularies and complex sentences. 40 hours (20 weeks x 2)
  4. HSK 4: Listen, Speaking, read and write. Further 600 vocabularies and complex sentences on a wilde range of subjects. 40 hours (20 weeks x 2)

We are now offering Zoom lesson as well, so you can learn from whereever you are.

If you can dedicate to 100-hour study and follow our instructions, we can guarantee you pass HSK3.

Need help? Book a free consultation.

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