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Summer in Beijing: Take the HSK Proficiency Test in Beijing with CIEE

Hey everyone, this is John Urban, Student Services Coordinator for CIEE here in Beijing. This post is about an exciting new program we have here in Beijing. As non-native speaker of Chinese myself, I can acutely understand the rigors of studying Chinese as well as setting goals to compel yourself to study!

Starting summer 2014, we are excited to announce that for students in our Beijing summer program who are interested and meet certain requirements, we will now offer an HSK Test Preparation elective during the summer program, as well as an optional HSK preparation add-on week after the eight week CIEE summer program ends. 

Focus your language learning by taking the HSK in Beijing

The HSK is a proficiency test that can show you have attained a certain level of language competency. In mainland China, this test is called the 汉语水平考试/hanyu shuiping kaoshi, or HSK, which literally translates as Chinese Proficiency Test. This test developed by the Chinese government has become more widely accepted across China and around the world as China's economic influence has spread.

Thus we provide this content in addition to our intensive Chinese language programming. This module contains two separate parts The first part during is a course during the semester will cover less in terms of nitty gritty content, and teach you how to study for the HSK and other similar tests in China. This course is for credit and is open to anyone. During the HSK add-on, the second part, which takes places the week after the language program ends, you will take an HSK cram session taught by CIEE that will offer preparation for the test itself.

Please do note that this add-on is strictly optional. But if you, yourself, are not sure about your goals, this may be a good way to give yourself a goal and narrow your focus, and be useful for some school or job applications (see below).

Why should I do this?

Like I mentioned above, taking the HSK is a great way for you get an independent, widely-recognized assessment of your Chinese language level. For many of our students who plan to have careers in China, the HSK looks great on a resume or CV. If you are worried about transferring credits to your school, this will be something that can help you transfer credits.

Majoring in Chinese at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I was lucky enough to have two chances to study abroad in my college career. One was a summer program arranged by Wisconsin, and the other happened to be here in Beijing at Peking University for the very center I now work for.

One advantage of the Wisconsin program was that since my university designed and ran the program, they could control the curriculum and content. Admittedly, with a program like CIEE, it can sometimes be hard to quantify the progress you make during one of our semester, yearlong or summer programs in relation to your own school's language offerings.

Some schools make students take a placement test when they get back to campus, whereas some students simply put you in the next level - this will really depend on your university's academic and study abroad offices! In this case, by having Wisconsin’s credits transfer, this put me ahead in my major courses. By having an HSK score, perhaps this can be your motivation to come and improve your Chinese, and have something to prove for your time here!

Who's eligible?

Students who have intermediate or advanced level Chinese

How much does this cost, and what does it include?

Cost: 500 USD; this includes:

  • On-site housing in double occupancy hotel for one week after program end date.
  • Fees for written HSK test, levels 5 or 6.
  • Weeklong intensive preparation session taught by CIEE totaling 15 contact hours.
  • Transportation to testing location
  • Mailing of test results to US.

Things to keep in mind:

  • We teach for the HSK-5 or HSK-6 level tests. These are the two highest levels.
  • HSK-class during summer term does not mean you have to take the HSK Add-on course.
  • If you do take the HSK Add-on course, then the HSK class during the summer is required.
  • We will make it clear if we think your language level is appropriate to sit for the HSK, but we cannot guarantee a certain score or that you will pass the HSK for the level you apply for.
  • The 2014 exam will take place Sunday, August 17.
  • Students would then leave Beijing on August 18, 2014.  Students wanting to participate in the HSK preparation add-on should select the HSK Test Preparation elective during the summer (see website), and make sure their plane tickets and visa are good through Monday, August 18.

What about my visa?

Depending on where you apply for your visa, length and number of entries will vary from place of issuance.  You can request a visa through August 18, and if your visa still does not cover the entire stay of the program, you can work with Peking University to extend it once on site for an extra fee.

What about my plane ticket?

If you are not sure about whether you want to take this course, we recommend that you purchase a plane ticket that has minimal or no penalties about changing departure dates.

When do I get my results back?

Results are typically released one month later, and will be sent to the CIEE Beijing Study Center. We will then mail them to you in the US or home country.

Have any questions? Then contact us (jurban [at] with any questions.

-John, and the entire CIEE Beijing resident staff.


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