How long will it take to pass level 6?
May 11, 2012
How does the new HSK differ from the old HSK?
May 11, 2012

I took the old HSK! What about my grades?

Converting Old HSK Grades


Even though the new HSK does not test nearly as much as the old HSK did (read: the new HSK is much easier), Hanban, the creators of the HSK have made a set of equivalences between the two tests, so that takers of the old HSK can reinterpret their grades in terms of the new standard.


old hsk levels

If you cannot understand the above chart, the conversion goes like this:

  • You scored 2 or below on the old HSK: Not stated*
  • You scored 3 to 5 on the old HSK: You passed level 4 of the new HSK
  • You scored 6 to 8 on the old HSK: You passed level 5 of the new HSK
  • You scored 9 or above on the old HSK: You passed level 6 of the new HSK

*Although it is not listed what happens if you got a 2 or below on the old HSK, I would estimate a 2 being equivalent to a 3 on the new HSK. And a 1 on the old HSK is probably equal to a 1 on the new HSK.


If applying to a university or employer, you may want to emphasize that you took the old HSK for two reasons:

  • The old HSK was harder
  • The old HSK is old, implying that your Chinese has likely improved since that time.

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Quinn Cash
Quinn Cash
Quinn Cash is a contributor to HSK Tests Online and a Chinese/English translator.


  1. Rafael says:

    You probably know how well you coeprmhend spoken Mandarin by talking to people. Since this doesn’t count toward your degree, does it matter what grade you get on it? Tell me again what Hainan means. I know nan means south

    • Cash says:

      Sometimes schools in China want evidence that you can speak Chinese before you go to university or grad school. In this case, your grade matters.

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