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HSK Exam

Chinese Language Examinations: HSK

They say that the best way to learn a language is whilst you’re living in the same country. After the first few months of living in Tianjin, I could order food, grab a taxi and generally get around town and make basic conversation. I thought that it was time to start working towards gaining some sort of qualification that would surely aid me in the future.

I was also taking Chinese lessons twice a week and I was advised by my Chinese teacher when to take a HSK exam. He waited until I was nearly ready for my HSK 2 exam, before suggesting that I sit my HSK 1. This erased a lot of nerves upon first sitting a test in a foreign country and unfamiliar surroundings. My advice is certainly to be patient with HSK 1, as that will make your higher level HSK exams enjoyable instead of stressful.

The cartoon is based on my HSK test. I sat both my HSK exams at the Tianjin Foreign Language University where the support that I got was second to none. One of the HSK exam admin staff members speaks brilliant English and he kindly assisted me in preparing an envelope in which on my exam certificate arriving at the university, he would mail it back to my home in England for a cost of only CNY 25. I achieved a pass for my most recent HSK exam and received my certificate, in England, six weeks later. A top class service from the university and I would highly recommend sitting your exams there.

The environment in which the exams were taken was very relaxing too. It tok place in an air-conditioned room at the top of one of the university buildings so it was quiet and stress free. Also, you don’t have to start writing and speaking in the examinations until HSK 3. HSK levels 1 and 2, having only reading and listening components in the examination, are great as the workload is halved

A great way to boost your preparation for the exam is to visit a large bookshop in Tianjin and find the practice HSK exam books as they are laid out in exactly the same style as the formal examinations. There is of course an audio CD provided with the books, which costs around CNY 60 each. This is an excellent price and a great resource. I would often practice alongside a Chinese native speaker and this was an exceptionally helpful and enjoyable way of studying.


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