HSK Basic

This is the most basic of levels, suitable for those with up to 800 hours of Chinese study behind them. There are three sections, Listening, Grammar and Reading, taking a total of two and quarter hours.

The questions for this exam are based on the most common 3000 words, made up from 1600 characters.

Here's a part by part breakdown of what you'll see in the exam.

* Listening: This lasts about 35 minutes with 50 questions.

  1. Part 1. One speaker makes a statement describing a situation. You have four pictures on your exam paper and you need to choose which picture matches the statement. 15 questions. The nice thing about this is that you don't need to read the questions - just look at the pictures, and as if that wasn't enough, you even get to here the statements twice.
  2. Part 2.You hear one speaker ask a question, and have to choose the one correct answer from the four given on the answer sheet . Again, you get to hear the question twice. Total of 20 questions.
  3. Part 3. You'll hear a conversation between a man and a woman, or a longer statement by one person and then one or more question. You choose one of the four answers given. The conversations or statements are not repeated in this section.

* Grammar. Two parts with a total of 40 questions, to be done in 40 minutes.

  1. Part 1, 20 questions. You get four sentences, only one of which is correct. Can you find the correct one. Of course you can . . .
  2. Part 2. 20 questions. Now you get one sentence, but this time there is a missing word and you have to choose between 4 possible words to fill it.

* Reading. 50 questions with one hour to do them in. This divides into 2 parts.

  1. Part 1, 20 questions. You get four or five paragraphs to read, each with a number of words removed. Each gap has four possible words it can be filled with. All you have to do is . . . yeah, you know already. Ok, Ok.
  2. Part 2, 30 questions. 8 - 10 reading passages, ranging in length from a few dozen characters to about 200. There are up to 6 questions for each passage.

Assuming you reach a minimum level, you are given a Foundation A, B or C grade. Foundation A is considered equivalent to Elementary C (see the elementary / intermediate exam) and therefore considered adequate for entry to certain undergraduate courses.