A Surefire Method to Study for HSK Exams

There are in total six levels of the HSK tests. Levels one and two, only have listening and reading parts but levels three to six have an additional writing part. How do you get yourselves prepared for every part? Here are our suggestions.

Part One: Listening

  1. Listen to materials in previous tests. Listen to each question twice: the first time to get a general idea about the topic and the second time to understand every word. This is a very efficient way to accumulate your vocabulary for one specific level. Here’s a link to download some previous tests. http://www.chinesetest.cn/godownload.do
  2. There are a few main categories of questions such as sports, time, plans, relationships, locations, reasons, manners, etc. Try to summarize the categories for your level and list the words related to each category. This will help you react quickly to the topic by reading the options in the given answers to the question.

Part Two: Reading

  1. Going through the words list is the last thing you want to do for your HSK preparation. Without a context, even if you memorize every word, it’s still hard to figure out the meaning of a whole sentence.
  2. Do some of the reading exercises in previous tests. As for the test, reading is not just about understanding words and sentences, it’s also about your speed. Try to limit the time to one minute for each question. A lot of students fail because there isn’t enough time to answer questions even when they were quite easy. So limit your time to answer practice question and then go back to each question to learn the new words.
  3. Its worth it to read some supplementary materials based on your level. Our App DuChinese will be of some help.

Part Three: Writing

1. Make a Sentence with Given Words

In level three, in the first writing part, you need to arrange some given words to make a correct sentence. It’s a test of your vocabulary and grammar. If you take the internet-based test, you can just drag words to make a sentence. So getting familiar with the sentence structures will help a lot. Take a look at the examples.

  • S. + Adv. + Adj.
    • 她Tā (she) + 很 hěn(very) + 漂亮 piàoliang (pretty)
  • S. +( V. )+ O. + V + 得(de) + Adv. + Adj.
    • 我 (wǒ )+说 (shuō) + 汉语 (hànyǔ) + 说 (shuō) + 得 (de)+ 很 (hěn) +流利 (liúlì)。  

2. Make Sentences Based on Key Words and Picture

This will be only seen on the HSK4 test. It won’t be a good idea to write sentences that are too complicated. Try to use the key word in the right way. This is the most important part and can guarantee you a better score. A good way to get yourself prepared is to pick a few common verbs, nouns, and adjectives for each question, write a sentence with each one and have someone correct them for you.

3. Write a Short Composition or a Summary

This kind of writing is in HSK5 and HSK6 tests. It’s a long-term thing and will take lots of hard practice to get right. Go over the requirements from previous tests and follow these steps to prepare. Don’t forget to get the articles you’ve written reviewed by a native speaker. One can’t learn more than from our own mistakes.

  • Step one: practice writing articles with a certain number of words.
  • Step two: practice writing within limited time.
  • Step three: review all the mistakes from your practice before the real test.

Maria writes columns for the GoEast Blog on studying Chinese and Chinese language. She completed her MA atBeijing Foreign Studies University and has over 6 years experience teaching Mandarin. She founded GoEast together with Wang Rong in 2010.