(Chinese Proficiency Test)
HSK, the acronym for Hanyu shuiping kaoshi (Chinese Proficiency Test), is a standardized test developed by the HSK Centre of the Beijing Language and Culture University to assess the Chinese-language proficiency of non-native speakers, including foreigners, overseas Chinese and national minorities. There are three HSK tests: HSK Basic (or Jichu HSK, levels 1–3); HSK Elementary and Intermediate (or Chu-zhongji HSK, levels 3–5 and levels 6–8 respectively), which is the regular type of test if not otherwise specified; and HSK Advanced (Gaoji HSK, levels 9–11), including an oral test. The highest level in HSK Basic overlaps the lowest level in HSK Elementary-Intermediate.
Those who pass the different levels of one of the three HSK tests will be issued the corresponding HSK Certificate from the State HSK Commission under the Ministry of Education. All foreign students who apply for an undergraduate programme must reach minimum Level 3.
Level 6, however, is necessary for the Arts, and Level 9 for all graduate studies. Otherwise, foreign students must first take Chinese language courses. The regular HSK test dates back to 1988 in Beijing. By the end of 2002, 540,000 people from 120 countries had taken HSK tests in China and abroad. There are currently forty-four testing centres in twenty-seven cities in China, including Hong Kong and Macao, and almost sixty testing centres in twenty-four countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas. In 2002, 14,000 people from around the world took the HSK test.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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