Learning a language requires a lot of time and effort so it's only natural that you would rather like to have something to show for all of your work - in this case, a nice, shiny HSK certificate. The Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì (a.k.a HSK, 汉语水平考试) is the only standardised Mandarin Chinese proficiency exam for foreign students, overseas Chinese and Chinese ethnic minorities. The six HSK testing levels correspond to the six levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF) (see image). Structure Each exam includes a listening, reading and writing component. An oral exam (HSKK) is available but is taken separately and it not available as frequently as the written exam. The oral exam has only three levels. Date & Time The test takes place monthly at test locations across China and overseas. It is worth bearing in mind that at overseas locations while there are tests every month, not all levels are run every month. Character Requirements and Time per Level Exam Level I 150 words 40 minutes Level II 300 words 55 minutes Level III 600 words 90 minutes Level IV 1200 words 105 minutes Level V 2500 words 125 minutes Level VI 5000 words 140 minutes Test Registration Test registration for the written exam normally opens a month before the test date or two weeks before for the computer exam. Grading In the exam, each component has a maximum score of 100 points. Since in HSK 1 and 2 the writing component is not included so they only have a maximum score of 200 with 120 points required to pass. The higher levels have a maximum of 300 points with 180 points required to pass. There is no minimum amount of points required for each of the components as long as the sum is over 120 or 180 points respectively. Good luck everyone - if you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch!