Registration deadline Thursday 21 February for offline HSK exam on 23 March

HSK is a globally run standardised test of Chinese language proficiency for non-native speakers. Whether to ensure eligibility for scholarships offered by Hanban, to gain an advantage in the job market or a related academic field an HSK pass will serve you.  And of course, for many adult learners, an exam is a great motivator for learning!

Our Institute can offer three opportunities to sit the HSK and HSKK (oral) exams in 2019. Dates for the exams are

  • Saturday 23 March 2019
    Register by 21 February for HSK and HSKK offline exam
    Register by 7 March for HSK online exam 

    Exam workshop: Saturday 9 March 2019
  • Saturday 11 May 2019
    Register by 11 April for HSK and HSKK offline exam
    Register by 25 April for online exam 

    Exam workshop: Saturday 27 April 2019
  • Saturday 30 November 2019
    Register by 31 October for HSK and HSKK offline exam.
    Register by 14 Nov for online exam
    Exam workshop: Saturday 16 November 2019

Please view our short video to learn more about this global exam and read on for detailed information on the various levels and FAQs.

If you are interested in working or studying in China or in applying for a Confucius Institute Scholarship in the future, then HSK, the Chinese Proficiency Certificate, is of interest to you.


Applications for HSK exam will be available via the University of Edinburgh’s ePay website.  Please note this system does not offer a ‘shopping basket’ function. If you want to book more than one exam level or to book both HSK and the oral exam, HSKK,  you need to go through the booking process for each item you wish to book.

In addition to the online application and payment system please note you must also send two signed passport photographs (per exam) to the Confucius Institute for Scotland, Abden House, 1 Marchhall Crescent, Edinburgh, EH16 5HP.

An exam admission ticket will be posted to the address you provide on the form. You MUST bring this admission ticket and the identification document you used when registering with you.

March 2019 HSK and HSKK exam registrations are now open.

HSK Preparation

Prior to each exam diet the Institute will run a free workshop to introduce candidates to the exam format and strictures. It is highly recommended that all first time candidates attend this workshop.

A briefing will also be provided to those candidates taking the oral element of the HSK known as HSKK.

You can download sample papers online. Check out Hanban’s free online assessment website where these materials can also be found.

Online or Offline?

Candidates can sit the HSK in an on-line or off-line format. Generally we recommend that more advanced students, who are comfortable with using a keyboard to input pinyin and select the appropriate character, opt for the on-line exam. For less experienced students the off-line i.e. paper format exam is recommended.

The exam duration varies from 40 minutes at Level 1 to 135 minutes for Level 6.


What is HSK? Levels 1-6: explanation of the different levels.
Why should I take an HSK exam?
What is the exam entry fee?
How do I find out which level of the test I should take?

What is HSK?

HSK (Hanyu shuiping kaoshi, i.e. Chinese proficiency certificate) is the official PRC standardised exam to assess Chinese language proficiency of non-native Chinese speakers. This category includes British, other nationalities, overseas Chinese and Chinese national minorities.

HSK is conducted at six levels running from 1-6. Please see the detailed information sheet outlining the examination standard for each level using the PDF links below.

pdfHSK-level-1 2018
For students who have studied for 40-80 hours, have a vocabulary of approx 150 words and the corresponding grammar points

pdfHSK-level-2 2018
For students who have studied for 80-120 hours, have a vocabulary of around 300 basic Chinese words and related grammar points.

pdf HSK-level-3 2018
For students who have studied between 120-180 hours who have acquired around 600 basic Chinese words and related vocabulary points.

pdfHSK-level-4 2018
For students who have studied Chinese for two academic years, 2-4 classes per week and achieved 1200 words and related grammar points.

pdf HHSK-level-5 2018
For students who have studied Chinese for more than 2 years (2-4 classes per week) who have a vocabulary of 2500 basic Chinese words and related grammar points.

pdf HSK-level-6-2018
For students who have at least 5000 basic Chinese words and related grammar.

Why Should I Take an HSK Exam?

HSK is the only official Chinese language certificate accepted in mainland China. It is used by educational institutions and potential employers to:

  1. Certify that the holder has acquired the required Chinese proficiency to enter Chinese educational institutions as an undergraduate or postgraduate student
  2. Certify that the holder can be exempt from studying Chinese courses at certain levels
  3. Ensure suitable level of language skills as a reference point for employers recruiting non-native Chinese staff
  4. Eligibility for some scholarships requires HSK certification
  5. Adult learners are motivated to learn through assessment

What is the exam entry fee?

  • In 2019 the HSK Level 1 exam fee is only £10
  • In 2019 HSK Levels 2 and 3 have an entry fee of £30
  • In 2019 HSK Levels 4, 5, and 6 entry fee is £40

For those candidates who wish to test their speaking skills we also offer an Oral Examination component known as HSKK. This is offered at an additional cost of £15 and is optional but recommended.


Should you have any questions please do get in touch:

Confucius Institute for Scotland in the University of Edinburgh,
Abden House,
1 Marchhall Crescent,
Edinburgh, EH16 5HP

Tel: +44 (0) 131 662 2180
Fax: +44 (0) 131 662 2199