HSK 1: All You Need To Know About HSK Test Level 1
HSK 1 requires a vocabulary of 150 words and is designed for students who just started learning Chinese. It only has listening and reading parts (no writing) and shows Pinyin along with the characters. This HSK 1 study guide provides all the information you need to get started preparing for HSK 1 including all HSK 1 vocabularies with Pinyin and English translations.
The HSK 1 test is structured into a listening and reading part. The exam lasts 40 minutes starting with 5 minutes of filling in your personal details on the exam sheet followed by around 17-18 minutes for each of the two parts (listening and reading). Both listening and reading consist of 20 questions each totalling in 40 questions for the test overall. Below we have laid out the test structure in more detail so you know what to expect:
HSK 1 listening part
Questions 1-5: You listen to a sentence or short phrase twice and then need to determine whether the image shown has anything to do with the text you listened to or not.
Questions 6-10: You again need to listen to a sentence or short text twice and then determine, which of the three pictures presented to you on the test sheet best corresponds to what you heard.
Questions 11-15: You listen to a dialog twice. On the exam paper you will see various images with letters. You are then required to enter the letter for the picture that corresponds best to the dialog you’ve listened to into the box next to the question number.
Questions 16-20: You listen to a sentence/question pair twice. First a sentence or short phrase is read by one voice followed by another voice asking a question based on that sentence. You then need to determine which of the options presented to you on the exam paper best answers the question.
HSK 1 reading part
Questions 21-25: You are presented with a picture and a vocabulary or phrase and you need to determine whether or not the two have anything to do with each other.
Questions 26-30: On the exam paper you see several images with letters (more than in the picture above). Your task is then to read the sentence or phrase and put in the letter for the image that best corresponds with the phrase.
Questions 31-35: You see five questions on the left with five answers on the right. Each of the answers has a letter associated with it and your task is to match up each question with the right answer by putting the correct letter in the box next to the question.
Questions 36-40: The final task is to take some words presented on the top (all with letters in front of them) and correctly put them into sentences by adding the corresponding letter into the gap.
How to prepare for HSK 1
There is no right or wrong way to prepare for HSK 1. The most important thing is to familiarize yourself with all 150 HSK 1 vocabularies and with the grammar patterns for HSK 1, both of which are described in more detail below. Apart from that, there are a couple of things that might help you with your preparation:
HSK 1 flashcards
Flashcards are a great way to learn vocabularies and with the number of websites and apps providing flashcards nowadays, it’s difficult to know which one to pick. We suggest you'll use Anki which is a free flashcard application with countless flashcard decks for any language. Simply download the application to your computer or download their app to your mobile phone (small payment required for iOS). Then either purchase our HSK vocabulary deck online or search for one of the free HSK decks within the shared Anki decks and you should be ready to go!
HSK 1 practice tests
Once you have internalized all 150 HSK 1 vocabularies and the grammar patterns, mock exams are probably the most efficient way to prepare for the exam itself. Below you can find 4 websites that provide a number of past exam papers for you to go through:
In terms of books, there are two types of books we suggest you take a look at. The first ones are our HSK vocabulary books, particularly our HSK 1 study guide with all 150 vocabularies. This guide allows you to learn vocabularies in combination with example sentences, which not only will make it easier for you to remember the vocabularies but also enables you to understand grammar and its application much quicker.
The second type of books are HSK 1 mock exams. Those exams are very similar to the practice tests listed above but any one of those books usually contains a lot more of them. You can purchase those kinds of books in any good book shop if you are in Mainland China or on Amazon if you are living abroad.
HSK 1 grammar
There is a certain number of vocabulary and grammar patterns you have to know for passing HSK 1. You can see the words and patterns listed below as a kind of checklist to go through and make sure you know each of the characters, understand how to use them in a sentence and understand the patterns further down and what they mean. For more examples of HSK 1 sentences consider purchasing our HSK 1 study guide.
Amount of Money
After a Number
Special Sentence Patterns
State of Action
HSK 1 vocabulary list
Below you can find a list of all HSK 1 words with Pinyin and translation. For more extensive learning material, check out our HSK 1 Vocabulary Guide and other books at the end of the page. Those books not only provide vocabularies, but in the case of the HSK 1 Vocabulary Guide also contain example sentences that will help you understand and remember the 150 HSK 1 vocabularies even quicker. You can have a look at the example sentences in the book on our HSK 1 example sentences page.
We have answered most of the general questions regarding HSK test on our HSK Frequently Asked Questions page. Below are a couple of questions and topics that are HSK 1 specific:
HSK 1 scores
There are 100 points for each of the two parts available, 100 points for listening and 100 points for reading. Therefore, a score of 200 would be maximum points. 120 points are needed to pass HSK 1.
HSK 1 exam dates
You can find the official HSK exam dates by going to the official HSK website from Hanban (Chinese only unfortunately, but a good learning experience). To make sense of that page, a couple of terms explained:
This is the normal HSK test
This refers to the new HSK online test
Time of test
Pen and paper test
Date the results come out
How much does HSK 1 cost?
Fees for HSK tests vary depending on country and test centre. When writing this article (March 27, 2019), the fee for HSK 1 at the Confucius Institute in Nebraska was USD 20, at Hong Kong University it was HKD 260. So costs do vary and will probably change over time, simply contact your test centre or teacher for more information.
Can I take HSK 1 online?
Yes and no. There is now a 网络考试 available, however, to take that test, you would still have to go to a test centre that supports computer based HSK tests and take the test there. So strictly speaking, you would take the test online (as in on a website or web application), but not from the comfort of your home. For details on that it’s best to talk to your closest test centre.
Where can I take the HSK 1 test?
You can use the “Search Test Center” functionality on Chinesetest.cn to look for a test centre closest to you. If you want to take the test on a computer, make sure the test centre supports that option.
How can I register for HSK 1?
You can either register online on Chinesetest.cn or directly at the test centre closest to you.
This vocabulary guide contains all 11,092 HSK vocabularies grouped by level starting from HSK 1 and finishing with HSK 7-9. The vocabularies are based on the changes from 2021 and all come with Pinyin and English translation.
This vocabulary guide contains all 2245 HSK vocabularies grouped by level starting from HSK 1 and finishing with HSK 3. The vocabularies are based on the changes from 2021 and all come with Pinyin and English translation.
This vocabulary guide contains all 3211 HSK vocabularies grouped by level starting from HSK 4 and finishing with HSK 6. For the vocabularies for level 1-3, please refer to the book that covers those words. The vocabularies are based on the changes from 2021 and all come with Pinyin and English translation.
This vocabulary guide contains all 5000 HSK vocabularies grouped by level starting from HSK 1 and finishing with HSK 6. The vocabularies are based on the changes from 2012 and all come with Pinyin and English translation.