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Chinese Vocabulary Lists

Browse All Lists Writing Sheets What are the HSK exams?

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These Chinese vocabulary word lists are part of the Chinese language courses at LittleNex.com and are all free to LittleNex members. Consider subscribing for a semester with us!

Level 1

The Basics  Numbers  About Time HSK Level 1  Food & Drinks  Social & Family Life  At School  Daily Life  Chinese Radicals  Zi Words  Menu Items  Fruit  Animals & Insects  HSK Level 2  New Technologies  Being Human Home Equipment  Grains, Nuts & Vegetables  Cooking  Clothing & Sewing  Classifiers  HSK Level 3

Level 2

 At The Museum  Ecology Sports  Philosophy & Politics Landmarks  Online & Computer World  Geography & Cities  Music & Entertainment  Most Common Clan Names  Urban Landscape & Architecture  Weather Forecast Kinship Terms  Corporate World  Job Seeking

Level 3

 Geology Flowers & Vegetation  Ancient Numbers  Army & Police  Weapons  Aeronautics  At The Hospital  Astronomy  Space Exploration FinTech  Chemistry Countries of the World

What's in our Chinese Vocabulary Lists

Each vocabulary list features over 50 relevant and useful Chinese words and expressions with their English translation and their pinyin transcription (phonetics). Click on up to 12 words in the list to highlight them and have them appear as cards. Click to delete each card as you gradually memorize the Chinese vocabulary words from the list.

Note on Pinyin

Pinyin is the system for transliterating Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet, officially adopted by Mainland China in 1979. Note that pinyin has its own pronunciation keys and MUST NOT be read as English.

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What are the HSK exams?

HSK stands for Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, which literally means Chinese Level Exam. It is the equivalent of the TOEFL for Mandarin. The HSK certificate is valid for two years.

The HSK test started in 1984 as a Chinese proficiency test for foreigners and Chinese citizens for whom mandarin was a second language. It began to be used in the mid-1990s as part of the admissions process for applications to Chinese universities.

A new HSK test appeared around 2005 alongside the classic one. The new HSK test consists of 6 levels of proficiency. The classic version of the HSK test has 4 categories (Beginning, Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced). This situation lasted until 2010, when it was decided that only the new version would be recognized. However, the classic HSK continues to operate as an advanced proficiency test. In contrast, the new HSK test aims to appeal to students with minimal mandarin proficiency. The first level of the classic exam (Beginning) corresponds to about level 4 on the new HSK exam, while the remaining new levels correspond roughly to the classic Intermediate level.

The new HSK test is made up of listening comprehension and reading comprehension sections, and contains a total of 40 items to be answered within 40 minutes. Students must score at least 120 points to pass the exam. Students who successfully pass the HSK Level I can understand 150 commonly used words and basic grammar patterns, use very simple Chinese sentences, and meet basic needs for communication. The HSK Level 1 is intended for students who have studied Chinese for a semester with 2 to 3 class hours each week.


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