There’s a big change for HSK exams coming. If you take the HSK exam (HSK3, HSK4, HSK5, or HSK6) from January 2023 onwards in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao (and other areas soon to follow), you’ll get an additional spoken exam. This also means: no more dedicated HSKK tests from 2023.
More details below!
More info about HSK exams:
- HSK Exam preparation courses
- New HSK levels
- 2022 HSK exam dates and other details
- Why we love HSK for studying (& teaching) Chinese
- How to take the HSK exam online (from home)
- How to register for a HSK exam
- Mock HSK exams download
What is the HSKK Speaking test going to be like?
The speaking test now is called HSKK, but in the future, it’s just going to be an HSK exam. HSKK stands for 汉语水平考试口语Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì Kǒuyǔ (Word by word translation: Chinese proficiency exam spoken language), and focuses on spoken language. This’ll be a new part of the HSK exams in the near future. Sometimes you need to answer by repeating, summarising, or replying to the question or sentence in a recording. And the answer can be written down (in Pinyin for Primary and Intermediate, in Hanzi characters for Advanced), or spoken into a recording which then later is assessed for your grading.
Top tip: Examinees can write down outlines on paper when they are preparing for the question, and then either write down or speak out the real answer when prompted.
Here is a sample passage from the advanced oral test, on the topic of robots, and you will be asked to repeat the content. This is from the advanced Chinese level exam.
Pretty difficult, ha? Here are the breakdowns for all the levels and detailed questions:
The HSK Speaking Test (Primary Level) is comprised of three parts, containing 27 items in total.
|Section||Number of items||Duration (mins)|
|Part 1: Listen & repeat||15||4|
|Part 2: Listen & reply||10||3|
|Part 3: Answer the questions||2||3|
The duration of the test is 17 minutes (including 7 minutes for preparation):
- There are 15 items in Part I. For each item, a sentence recording will be played. The test taker should repeat the sentence.
- There are 10 items in Part II. In each item, the recording of a question will be played. The test taker should provide a brief answer.
- There are 2 items in Part III. There will be two questions on the test paper (in pinyin). The test taker should answer these questions using a minimum of 5 sentences per answer.
The HSK Speaking Test (Intermediate Level) is comprised of three parts, containing 14 items in total.
|Section||Number of Items||Duration (mins)|
|Part 1: Listen & repeat||10||3|
|Part 2: Picture description||2||4|
|Part 3: Answer the questions||2||4|
The duration of the test is 21 minutes (including 10 minutes for preparation):
- There are 10 items in Part I. For each item, a sentence recording will be played. The test taker should repeat the sentence.
- There are 2 items in Part II. Each item consists of an image. The test taker should say something based on the picture.
- There are 2 items in Part III. The test taker should answer the two questions (in pinyin).
The HSK Speaking Test (Advanced Level) is comprised of three parts, containing 6 items in total.
|Exam date||Number of items||Duration (mins)|
|Part 1: Listen & repeat||10||3|
|Part 2: Read aloud||2||4|
|Part 3: Answer the questions||2||4|
The duration of the test is 24 minutes (including 10 minutes for preparation).
- There are 3 items in Part I. The recording of a passage will be played, and the test taker should repeat the content.
- There is 1 item in Part II. There will be a passage on the test paper, and the test taker should read it out aloud.
- There are 2 items in Part III. The test taker should answer the two questions on the test paper (in Chinese characters).
There is still a chance to take your HSK test in 2022
There are 3 more tests for the old HSK (without speaking tests) in 2022:
- October 16th
- November 19th
- December 4th
The deadline registration dates are about a month before there (Sep.19th, Oct.23rd, Nov.7th). See the full schedule of the 2022 HSK exams here.
It’s not easy to achieve speaking progress with short-term preparation, while reading and writing skills can be improved tremendously with our specific and technical guidance. What do we offer to help you prepare for your test efficiently in the last 4 months?
- About 25 – 45 hours of structured live classes with an experienced teacher.
- Preview and review homework
- Key vocabulary practice
- Test tips
- Mock test practice
Schedule a trial
With this preparation, let’s make it happen together. Here you can find the link to schedule a 30 minute free trial class to assess your level and understand the course structure better.
Of course, in the long run, we think “speaking ability” is super important for learning a language, that is why if you are learning with GoEast from the very beginning, we emphasize a lot on your listening and speaking abilities; our teachers give a minimum of 60% time for the learners to talk during a lesson! For intermediate level and above, we also offer specific “Spoken Chinese” courses as well.
Exam certificates are good milestones to achieve. Therefore, we encourage you to take these HSK exams! Of course, to be able to enjoy learning and use Chinese with confidence is the ultimate thing we want for you at GoEast Mandarin.
How is the Speaking Test in HSK Exams Graded?
One of the most common questions about the speaking test being added to the 2023 HSK exams is: “How is the speaking test graded?” Let’s go through the evaluation criteria for the speaking test in HSK, originally from HSKK.
Pretty hard to get zero!
First, we want to share some good news with you. It is almost impossible to get a zero score on your exam. The only possible way is if you don’t say anything. Not bad, eh? Put a smile on your face first. And then, let’s dig into how to get pretty scores on your answers.
Your answers will be categorized into three scales
Before the evaluators (yes, you will get more than one evaluator) give out a specific score on each question, they need to agree on which scale to put you in.
The factors that matter the most are 1) the amount of information, 2) fluency, 3) and grammar mistakes.
The three scales and their criteria are:
The Low Scale:
The test taker’s answer is inappropriate, with little and incoherent information.
You usually get a score below 50%.
The Medium Scale:
Can answer questions, but with less information, more than normal pauses, repetitions, and grammatical errors.
You usually get a score between 50% to 90%
The High Scale:
- You can answer questions with the right content, with only a few pauses, repetitions, and grammatical errors.
- You usually get a score between 90% to 100%.
Detailed Criteria for six different types of questions
There are six types of questions on the Chinese Speaking test, six ways of the examinators will test your speaking ability:
- Repeat after listening
- Answer after listening
- Retell after listening
- Read aloud
- Look at pictures and talk
- Answer questions
Here we break down the criteria of each one for you:
1. Repeat after listening
Applicable questions: Primary Speaking Test questions 1-15, Intermediate questions 1-10.
Answer requirements: Play a sentence for each question and ask the examinee to repeat it after listening.
- High: Candidates can accurately repeat the sentences heard.
- Medium: The candidate cannot repeat the sentence heard completely.
- Low: The candidate’s repetitions are poorly correlated with the sentences played.
2. Answer after listening
Applicable questions: Primary Speaking Test questions 16-25.
Answering requirements: Play a question for each question, and ask candidates to answer briefly after listening.
- High: Candidates can answer questions correctly and concisely.
- Medium: Candidates can answer questions correctly, with pauses, repetitions, grammatical errors, etc.
- Low: The candidate’s answer is unclear.
3. Retelling after listening
Applicable questions: Advanced Speaking Test questions 1-3.
Answer requirements: Play a paragraph for each question and ask candidates to repeat it after listening.
- High: Candidates can repeat the main content of the material completely and fluently, with less pause and repetition.
- Medium: Candidates can repeat part of the material content, pause, repeat a lot, and have grammatical errors.
- Low: There is a large discrepancy between the content of the test taker’s recitation and the raw materials, the language is messy, and the amount of information is small.
4. Reading aloud
Applicable questions: Advanced Speaking Test question 4.
Answer requirements: A paragraph of text is provided on the test paper and candidates are required to read it aloud.
- High: Candidates read aloud fluently, and have a good grasp of pronunciation, intonation, etc., with a small amount of misreading, repetition, and pauses.
- Medium: Candidates can read most of the content, but there are many mistakes, pauses, repetitions, etc.
- Low: Candidates can read only a few sentences.
5. Look at the pictures and talk
Applicable questions: Intermediate Speaking Test questions 11-12.
Answer requirements: Provide a picture for each question, and ask candidates to say a paragraph in combination with the picture.
- High: The candidate’s answer is consistent with the content of the picture, and the expression is fluent, with a few pauses and repetitions.
- Medium: The candidate’s answer is basically consistent with the content of the picture, but there are many pauses, repetitions, and grammatical errors.
- Low: The candidate’s answer is basically irrelevant to the content of the picture, and the amount of information is small and messy.
6. Answer the questions
Applicable questions: Primary Speaking Test questions 26-27, Intermediate questions 13-14, Advanced Level Questions 5-6.
Answering requirements: Two questions are provided on the test paper, and candidates are required to answer the questions.
- High: Candidates can answer questions with rich content and fluent expression, with a few pauses, repetitions, and grammatical errors.
- Medium: Candidates can answer questions, but with less information, more pauses, repetitions, and grammatical errors.
- Low: The test taker’s answer is inappropriate, with little and incoherent information.
How can you assess your own level?
You can use the above criteria or you can always schedule a video call with a GoEast language consultant. The assessment will be totally free, no strings attached.