HSK Preparation Course
The different between new HSK and old HSK
1 TO 6 Levels, and around 8 times tests/year;
New HSK has 6 certificates;
1 TO 11 Levels; and around 2 or 3 times tests/year;
Current Structure of HSK
Hanban (中国国家对外汉语教学领导小组办公室（简称国家汉办）; China National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (Hanban)) is currently responsible for the HSK exams and introduced a new format in November 2009.
The new format's emphasis is "comprehensive language and communication ability". Most notable is the inclusion of spoken and written segments at all levels (not just Advanced), reformation of the ranking system, and use of new question structures.
The new ranking system reduces the three test formats to Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced. Each level has two sub-levels: "acceptable" and "with honors."
Hanban also provides examples of the exam for the different levels together with a list of words that need to be known for each level. Currently this page is only available in Chinese. These examples are also available (together with the audio for the Listening Test) on the website of the Confucius Institute at QUT
The Ranking of HSK
Formerly, there were 11 possible ranks (1-11) and 3 test formats (Basic, Elementary/Intermediate, and Advanced).
A student taking the Basic test (基础HSK) could attain a rank of 1 through 3 (1级-3级), or fail to meet requirements and thus not receive a rank. The Elementary/Intermediate test (初中等HSK) covered ranks 3-8 (3级-8级), with ranks below 3 not considered. Likewise, the Advanced test (高等HSK) covered ranks 9-11 (9级-11级), with scores below 9 not considered.
It is not uncommon to simply refer to a standard or level of proficiency by the HSK level number, or "score." For example, a job description might ask for foreign applicants with "HSK5 or better."
The Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, (simplified Chinese: 汉语水平考试; traditional Chinese: 漢語水平考試; pinyin: Hànyǔ Shǔipíng Kǎoshì), abbreviated as HSK, is the People's Republic of China's only standardized test of Standard Mandarin Chinese proficiency for non-native speakers, namely foreign students, overseas Chinese, and members of ethnic minority groups in China. It is also known as the "Chinese Proficiency Test"
Development began in 1984 at Beijing Language and Culture University and in 1992 the HSK was officially made a national standardized test. By 2005, over 120 countries had participated as regular host sites, and around 1 million had taken the test. While today one may register online, all testing is still done in person, and all assessment is still handled within China.
Why take HSK test?
The HSK test approximates the English TOEFL, and an HSK certificate is valid without any limitation in The People's Republic of China. The test aims to be a certificate of language proficiency for higher educational and professional purposes. Based on the test's original (pre-2010) format, a rank of between 3 and 8 was needed to enroll in a Chinese university, depending on the subject being studied. A score of 9 or higher was a common business standard.
Each year HSK certificates are issued to those who meet required scores. The HSK is primarily administered in Simplified Chinese. In addition test takers with outstanding results can win a scholarship for short-term language study in China.