New HSK Test 2021: Changes You Should Know!

HSK Test (汉语水平考试 Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì, translated as the Chinese Proficiency Test) is the official standardized test for Mandarin since 1992 (HSK 1.0). Curent HSK (HSK 2.0) was released in 2010. In April 2021, Official standards wer released, starting July 2021, the New HSK standard (HSK 3.0) will replace current HSK.
The New HSK is more rigorous than the old one. These changes will take effect from July 1, 2021 (HSK 3.0). Let’s have a brief overview o f the New HSK 3.0.


1, New HSK Level will have three Stages and Nine Levels

Three Stages and Nine Levels
Advanced Levels Level 9 Note: Within levels 7-9, there will be no specific quantitative indicators for each level, and they will be integrated.
Level 8
Level 7
Intermediate Levels Level 6 Note: Within levels 1-6, a set of quantitative indicators including the number of syllables, characters, words, grammar points, etc, will be applied to each level. The standards for each level are relatively independent.
Level 5
Level 4
Elementary Levels Level 3
Level 2
Level 1


 Overview of Quantitative Indicators (Set) for Three Stages and Nine Levels
Syllables Characters Words Grammar
Advanced Leve 7-9 +202/1100 1200/3000 +5636/11092 +148/572
Intermediate Level 6 +86/908 +300/1800 +1140/5456 +67/424
Level 5 +98/822 +300/1500 +1071/4316 +71/357
Level 4 +116/724 +300/1200 +1000/3245 +76/286
Elementary Level 3 +140/608 +300/900 +973/2245 +81/210
Level 2 +199/468 +300/600 +772/1272 +81/129
Level 1 269 300 500 48
Total 1100 3000 11092 572

It was published by the International Chinese Education (世界汉语教学 shìjiè hànyǔ jiàoxué)

For Level 6 of the Intermediate Stage, you’ll need to learn 908 syllables, 1,800 characters, 5,456 words, and 424 grammar points.
For  Level 9 of the Advanced Stage, you’ll have to master all 1,100 syllables, 3,000 characters, 11092 words, and 572 grammar points.

2, HSK new words increased, some outdated words excluded.

Lots of new words are added to each new HSK level. Some outdated words dropped, for example, Fax.

Let’s compare the old HSK and New HSK vocabulary

Old HSK                   New HSK
Hsk level Vocabulary required HSK Vocabulary required
HSK 1 150
HSK 2 150/300
500  Band 1
HSK 3 300/600
HSK 4 600/1200
772/1272 Band 2
973/2245 Band 3
HSK 5 1300/2500
1000/3245 Band 4
1071/4316 Band 5
HSK 6 2500/5000
1140/5456 Band 6
5636/11092 Band 7,8,9

Old HSK 1 to HSK 3, might be regards as New HSK“”Elementary Level, Band 1/2.
HSK 4 (old)- Band 2 (new);  HSK 5 (old)-  Band 3 (new), HSK 6(old) – Band 6 (new).

It is obviously to see Band 1, 2, 3 4 will become harder, but band 5 and 6 will become easier.
the NEW HSK will be more difficult.

3, Chinese characters handing writing and translation skills are added.

chinese characterBesides listening, reading, speaking, and writing tests, the New HSK 3.0 will examine Chinese character hand writing ability, you will write a certain amount of characters and copying the provided characters.
Lets take example new hsk 1,2 and 3.

Level   Characters Hand Writing Speed
1  100 10 characters/minute
2 200 15 characters/minute
3 300 20 characters/minute

Notes: copy Chinese characters.

From Band 4, you will be required to have basic translation ability for both spoken and written Chinese.

4, New HSK Advanced Level (HSK 7, 8 and 9)

newhskThe biggest change is advanced level, they added new level 7, level 8 and level 9, targeting  a high proficiency level. New HSK level 7- 9 will higher than the old HSK 6.

According to The Confucius Institute  of Barcelona, The advanced HSK test (HSK 7,8,9) is mainly designed for foreign students who specialize in Chinese language and literature and students of various majors, coming to study in China.

5, Download New HSK  Vocabulary List

The Ministry of Education in China have released the full word list for each level of the new HSK, with the exception of Level 7 onwards as this will be released in due course

You can download Full NEW HSK Vocabulary List in PDF, there are 260 pages in total.Please note:
1, A large file in PDF ( 260 pages, 48.7 M).
2, Syllable, Page 9-15;  Chinese characters, Page 15-36;  Words, Page 36-170;  Grammar, Page 170-260;

6, Why is HSK Changing?

1), Curent HSK (HSK 2.0) is old.

Curent HSK (HSK 2.0) was made in 2010, ten years ago. The current HSK levels could no longer meet development of the the new situation, and do not accurately reflect the levels of fluency that they were purported to correspond with.

2) To align with the CEFR

The nine levels will be sub-divided into three larger stages that mark the test-taker’s current progress, which is apparently inspired by the most popular European language test, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
For example, if you are at HSK 5 on the CEFR scale, you should be proficient in the language, but current HSK 5 is intermediate (2500 words); If you are at HSK 6 on the CEFR scale, you should be at a “near-native” level, but current HSK 6 (5000 words)

HSK Levels Estimated CEFR Level
HSK 1 A1   newbie
HSK 2 A1+   basic
HSK 3 A1+   basic
HSK 5 B1   low-intermediate
HSK 5 B2    intermediate
HSK 6  C1 upper -intermediate

7, What does this change mean for you?

1) More challenging, but more closer to real life.

You need to learn more vocabulary words, grammar concepts and content, but you will learn more modern words to adapt the current society. More new and practical words have been added, outdated or realy used words have been dropped. These changes will help you learn useful and up to date contens in real life.

2) Your learning experience will be more efficient.

With the development of society, Chinese language also changed. Lots of textbooks were published 10 or 20 years ago, they were outdated. The NEW HSK standard will inspire more morden, up-to-date learning materials come to market.

Latest News on HSK from Hanban (April 20):
1, HSK level 1-6 will be no change in 3-5 years.
2, HSK level 7-9 to trial in December 2021 and to be set for March 2022.

We will continute to update the latest information about NEW HSK. If you have any question or want to take HSK preparation course, contact us!