HSK 4: All You Need To Know About HSK Test Level 4

With 1200 vocabularies (600 of previous levels + 600 HSK 4 vocabularies), HSK 4 requires intermediate level Chinese to pass. It again consists of reading, listening and writing parts. This HSK 4 study guide provides all the information you need to get started preparing for HSK 4 including all HSK 4 vocabularies with Pinyin and English translations.


HSK 4 exam structure
How to prepare for HSK 4
HSK 4 vocabulary list
Taking the test

HSK 4 exam structure

The HSK 4 test is structured into a listening, reading and writing part. The exam lasts about 105 minutes starting with 5 minutes of filling in your personal details on the exam sheet followed by around 30 minutes for listening, a 5 minute gap for answering listening questions, 40 minutes for reading and 25 minutes for writing. The listening part consists of a total of 45 questions, reading has 40 questions to answer and writing finishes things up with 15 questions. Below we have laid out the test structure in more detail so you know what to expect:

HSK 4 listening part

HSK 4 Listening Part 1 (Source: China Education Center Mock Test HSK 4)

Questions 1-10: A short phrase is read once followed by a statement, you need to determine whether the statement is correct or not.

HSK 4 Listening Part 2 (Source: China Education Center Mock Test HSK 4)

Questions 11-25: You listen to a dialog between two people followed by a question asked by a third voice, the whole sequence is played once only. You then need to determine which of the options presented to you on the exam paper best answers the question.

HSK 4 Listening Part 3 (Source: China Education Center Mock Test HSK 4)

Questions 26-45: You listen to a 4-5 sentence long dialog or monologue once followed by 1-2 questions. You then have to determine which of the answers on the exam paper fits best.

HSK 4 reading part

HSK 4 Reading Part 1 (Source: China Education Center Mock Test HSK 4)

Questions 46-55: The first 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.

HSK 4 Reading Part 2 (Source: China Education Center Mock Test HSK 4)

Questions 56-65: Here you get three sentences for each question and you have to order the sentences correctly using the letters next to the respective sentences.

HSK 4 Reading Part 3 (Source: China Education Center Mock Test HSK 4)

Questions 66-85: In the final reading segment you get a short phrase followed by a question and you need to determine which of the four options best answers the question.

HSK 4 writing part

HSK 4 Writing Part 1 (Source: China Education Center Mock Test HSK 4)

Questions 86-95: In each point you get a list of several words and need to construct a sentence using all words.

HSK 4 Writing Part 2 (Source: China Education Center Mock Test HSK 4)

Questions 96-100: You finish the test off with 5 questions consisting of one image and one word each. You then have to use that word in a sentence based on the image.

How to prepare for HSK 4

There is no right or wrong way to prepare for HSK 4. The most important thing is to familiarize yourself with all 600 HSK 4 vocabularies (on top of 500 HSK 1, 2 & 3 vocabularies, so a total of 1200 words and phrases) and the exam itself. Here are a few things that might help with that:

HSK 4 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 4 practice tests

Once you have internalized all 600 HSK 4 vocabularies, 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:

HSK 4 books

In terms of books, there are two types of books we suggest you take a look at. The first one are our HSK vocabulary books, particularly our HSK 4 study guide with all 600 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. Our HSK 1-6 Full Vocabulary Guide contains all 5000 HSK vocabularies grouped by level but without sentences. This book is great for you to make sure you know all 600 vocabularies of previous levels and can be of use for you up to the final HSK level 6.

The second type of books are HSK 4 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 4 vocabulary list

Below you can find a list of all HSK 4 words with Pinyin and translation. For more extensive learning material, check out our HSK 4 Vocabulary Guide and other books at the end of the page. Those books not only provide vocabularies, but in the case of the HSK 4 Vocabulary Guide also contain example sentences that will help you understand and remember the 600 HSK 4 vocabularies even quicker. You can have a look at the example sentences in the book on our HSK 4 example sentences page.


爱情ài qíngNoun: love
安排ān páiNoun: plan
Verb: to plan, to arrange
安全ān quánNoun: safety
Adjective: safe, secure


百分之bǎi​ fēn ​zhīNoun: percent
bàngNoun: stick, club
Adjective: strong, capable, good
Measure Word: for legs of relay race
bàoVerb: to hug, to embrace, to hold


Verb: to wipe, to rub, to erase
cāiVerb: to guess
材料cái liàoNoun: material, data, stuff


答案dá ànNoun: answer, solution
打扮dǎ banVerb: to decorate, to dress up
大概dà gàiAdverb: probably, roughly


érConjunction: and, but, yet
儿童ér tóngNoun: child


法律fǎ lǜNoun: law
发生fā shēngVerb: to happen, to occur, to take place
发展fā zhǎnNoun: development, growth
Verb: to develop, to grow


改变gǎi biànVerb: to change
gànVerb: to do, to work
gǎnAuxiliary Verb: to dare


害羞hài xiūAdjective: shy
海洋hǎi yángNoun: ocean
hànNoun: sweat


Verb: to send, to mail
基础jī chǔNoun: base, foundation, basis
激动jī dòngVerb: to excite
Adjective: exciting


开玩笑kāi wán xiàoVerb: to play a joke, to make fun of
开心kāi xīnVerb: to feel happy, to make fun of sbd.
Adjective: happy
看法kàn fǎNoun: view, opinion


Adjective: spicy
Verb: to pull
垃圾桶lā jī tǒngNoun: rubbish bin


麻烦má fanVerb: to trouble sbd.
Adjective: troublesome
马虎mǎ huAdjective: careless, negligent, casual
mǎnVerb: to fill, to satisfy
Adjective: full, satisfied


耐心nài xīnNoun: patience
Adjective: patient
难道nán dàoAdverb: don't tell me ..., is it possible that ...
难受nán shòuVerb: to be difficult to bear


偶尔ǒu ěrAdverb: occasionally


排队pái duìVerb: to queue, to line up
排列pái lièNoun: arrangement, permutation
Verb: to arrange, to put in order
判断pàn duànNoun: decision, judgement
Verb: to decide, to judge


其次qí cìAdverb: next, secondary
Conjunction: secondly
气候qì hòuNoun: climate, atmosphere
其中qí zhōngAdverb: among, in


然而rán érConjunction: however, but
热闹rè naoAdjective: lively, busy
任何rèn héAdjective: any, whichever, whatever


散步sàn bùVerb: to take/to go for a walk
森林sēn línNoun: forest
沙发shā fāNoun: sofa


táiNoun: desk, platform
Measure Word: for vehicles, machines, etc.
táiVerb: to lift up, to raise, to carry
态度tài duNoun: manner, attitude


袜子wà ziNoun: socks, stockings
完全wán quánAdjective: complete, whole, entire
网球wǎng qiúNoun: tennis


西红柿xī hóng shìNoun: tomato
吸引xī yǐnVerb: to attract (interest, customers, etc.)
xiánAdjective: salty


yaParticle: expressing surprise or doubt
牙膏yá gāoNoun: toothpaste
压力yā lìNoun: pressure


杂志zá zhìNoun: magazine
咱们zán menPronoun: we, us
暂时zàn shíAdjective: temporary

Taking the test

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 4 specific:

HSK 4 scores

There are 100 points for each of the three parts available, 100 points for listening, 100 points for reading and 100 points for writing. Therefore, a score of 300 would be maximum points. 180 points are needed to pass HSK 4.

HSK 4 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).

How much does HSK 4 cost?

Fees for HSK tests vary depending on country and test centre. When writing this article (March 27, 2019), the fee for HSK 4 at the Confucius Institute in Nebraska was USD 50, at Hong Kong University it was HKD 560. So costs do vary and will probably change over time, simply contact your test centre or teacher for more information.

Can I take HSK 4 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 4 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 4?

You can either register online on Chinesetest.cn or directly at the test centre closest to you.

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