HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) or the Chinese Proficiency Test is an international standardized exam which tests and rates Chinese language proficiency. It assesses non-native Chinese speakers’ abilities in using the Chinese language in their daily, academic and professional lives. HSK test was developed in 1984 and the first HSK test was held overseas in 1991. Since then, the Chinese testing centers have spread all over domestic and foreign lands.
HSK test began to be designed by Beijing Language Institute at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU). In March 2010, the new HSK test was introduced. The new HSK test was launched by Center for Language Education and Cooperation (CLEC) in an effort to better serve Chinese language learners. The test is the result of coordinated efforts by experts from different disciplines including Chinese language teaching, linguistics, psychology and educational measurement.
The new HSK test combines the advantages of the original HSK while taking into consideration recent trends in Chinese language training by conducting surveys and making use of the latest findings in international language testing. The new HSK test has a new test structure and style of language tested. When the old HSK test structure was often criticized for testing the formal and impractical language, the new HSK test format is designed to test usage of more daily and practical language. Both old and new HSK test had held for a while, but now test takers can only take the new HSK test.
The new HSK test consists of a writing test and a speaking test, which are independent of each other. There are six levels of writing tests, namely the HSK (level I), HSK (level II), HSK (level III), HSK (level IV), HSK (level V), and HSK (level VI). There are three levels of speaking tests, namely the HSK Speaking Test (beginner level), HSK Speaking Test (intermediate level), and HSK Speaking Test (advanced level). During the speaking test, test takers’ speeches will be recorded.