Passed the new HSK level 5, as well as the intermediate spoken Chinese test

I sat both HSK tests last November, but didn’t see the results until yesterday—- what a great way to start off the year!

I did extremely well on the spoken test, as well as the listening section of the HSK 5 (fifth level of the new six-level scheme); however, my reading and writing scores are definitely telling me that I need to do more practice in those areas.

It’s worth noting that the written section of the test requires you to write chinese characters by hand— if you’re used to typing chinese, you may find it easy to compose text by inputing pinyin and ‘choosing’ the correct character, but it can be a bit of a challenge to recall the character when you’re stuck clutching your pencil.

As I recall, there were a few different kinds of questions in the writing section— some involved putting sentence fragments in the correct order, and others involved being given three or four words (eg: 电脑, 游戏, 学校) and having to compose a sentence.



11 thoughts on “Passed the new HSK level 5, as well as the intermediate spoken Chinese test

  1. Hi,

    I would be taking the HSK Level 5 test soon and I would like to ask you more about the test. Did you find it very challenging and what did the essays involve? Also, do you have any online/soft copy study guides that I could also make use of?

    Thank you.

    • Hi there— If you’re not that familiar with the test (have you ever taken HSK 4?), then the first thing that I would recommend is going to, creating an ID and trying one of their online sample tests— that site is run by Hanban, so it’s the same people that run the HSK test. Start from there and see how it goes. Best of luck!

      • I have not taken HSK 4 but did study Chinese for an extensive amount of time, first time attempting the HSK.

        Thanks a lot for your help!

  2. A belated congratulations on passing the HSK tests! I am wondering whether you remember how the mock tests compared to the actual HSK tests. I’ve been downloading the practice papers from here: I’m taking the new HSK 5 soon and I’ve been scoring quite highly in the practice papers but I’m worried the real test will be of a greater difficulty.

    Thanks in advance, any help is much appreciated!

    • I remember feeling like the mock tests were reasonable for letting you get used to the test. Overall, I remember thinking HSK 5 was easier than I had originally feared; my particular challenge was/is reading speed while paying attention for particular meaning (i.e. you’re not skimming a passage for meaning, but looking for answers to specific questions). If you think that the tests are ‘easy enough’ for now (i.e. you’re scoring highly), then you should be skimming the internet looking for reading material that challenges you. The passages are diverse enough that any kind of reading is suitable. Best of luck—let me know what you think after the test.

      • thanks for that! 🙂 i will let you know after taking the test.

        i am a bit worried about the writing test, the second part where i have to write a short essay of 80 characters, i’m unsure of how to structure this. are you aware of how they expect you to structure in this section? i wasn’t able to find anything useful in the handbook.

      • Don’t worry so much about the structure as making sure you write good sentences. I think the real test here is that they want to see you write characters and not simply answer multiple choice questions.

      • i passed! reading was my worst mark but i expected that since i was so rushed for time in it. overall, it wasn’t as bad as i had expected. writing could’ve been worse, in the section where you were given several words and had to incorporate them into a small essay, i understood all the characters whereas in the mock there was always one or two that i didn’t understand.

        thanks for all your great help! 🙂

  3. Hey just to clarify since I have been reading many different things – on the HSK Level 5 test writing section you can type the pinyin instead of writing the characters by hand, right?

    • unless they’ve changed something, it’s always been a paper test for me. You should be prepared to write in pencil, by hand. As I recall, they gave you ‘key words’ and asked you to write a passage/note/e-mail/etc. I’ve never seen/experienced a computer and/or keyboard of any kind (on any of the HSK tests). Again, if Hanban is experimenting with an online/computer test, it’s quite possibly something new.

      Having said that, the writing section is worth significantly fewer marks, when compared to the listening and reading sections. It’s fair that handwriting is on there, but it’s not meant to fail a student who is reasonably capable with listening and reading.

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