Guide to the HSK 6 Test – Advanced Chinese – Index
Before taking the time to read this guide, know that you can only really appreciate it if you’ve already reached level 5 of the HSK exam or if you’ve already attained a good level.
Consider too that you’ll have to know more than 2500/3000 words before being able to specifically work on the HSK 6. Happy studies!
Structure of the test
The exam is divided into three parts: listening, reading and writing. The listening is itself divided into three parts for a total of 50 exercises to be done in 35 minutes (a total of 100 points); the reading includes four parts for a total of 50 exercises in 50 minutes (total 100 points); the writing, instead is made up of just one exercise to be done in 45 minutes (total 100 points). To review, there are 101 exercises to do in about two hours and fifteen minutes.
Find the error
Let’s start our guide with the first reading exercise, which is perhaps the most difficult of the whole test, the 请选出有语病的一项 (Qǐng xuǎnchū yǒu yǔbìng de yī xiàng) “find the phrase with the grammatical error”.
To correctly do this exercise, a great knowledge of Chinese grammar is absolutely not enough. Here’s an example:
Tā chúle bān lǐ hé xuéshenghuì de gōngzuò wài, hái chéngdān le guǎngbōzhàn de zhǔchírén.
Error: 承担 “to undertake doing something; to take on” supporting an obligation or job, can’t be the task, that is 主持人; to be correct, it should be 担任 (dānrèn) “to take on the job of, the task”. It could also be correct by adding 工作 after 主持人, so 还承担了广播站的主持人工作。
Dàbuliǎo大不了 “worst case scenario / at the worst”
Hē le méi guānxi, dàbuliǎo zài mǎi yī bēi.
It doesn’t matter if you drink it, at worst we’ll buy another cup.
Gōngzuò bù xǐhuan, dàbuliǎo cízhí.
If you don’t like your job, at the worst you can quit.
Bābudé 巴不得 “can’t wait until”
Tā xīlì de mùguāng ràng tā gǎnjué rú mángcìzàibèi, bābudé néng táolí zhège dìfang.
His cutting look made her more than a little nervous: she couldn’t wait until she could leave.
Kuài dào Chūnjié le, tā bābudé mǎshàng huídào jiā hé fùmǔ tuánjù.
Soon it would be New Year and he couldn’t wait to return home to be with his parents.
Bié tí duō……le别提多……了 “incredibly / indescribably”
Zhège rén bànshì, biétí duō fùzé le.
This person is indescribably responsible when it comes to doing things.
Wǒ hé māma biétí duō gāoxìng le.
My mother and I are incredibly happy.
Yǐ…… wèi qìjī以……为契机 “to consider as a turning point”
Wǒmen yǐ zhècì zhèngshì huìwù wèi qìjī.
For us this official encounter is a turning point.
āotū 凹凸 “concave”: Yuèqiú de biǎomiàn shì āotūbùpíng de 月球的表面是凹凸不平的 “The surface of the moon is irregular”
shuǎngkuai 爽快 “fresh”: Yánrè de xiàtiān lǐ xǐ ge zǎo shǐrén fēicháng shuǎngkuai 炎热的夏天里洗个澡使人非常爽快 “taking a shower in the muggy summer is very refreshing”
shànzì 擅自 “without authorization”: Wèi jǐngfāng rényuán de yụ̌nxǔ, rènhé rén bùdé shànzì líkāi zhè suǒ fángzi 未警方人员的允许，任何人不得擅自离开这所房子 “without police permission, no one should leave the building without authorization”.
gāngà 尴尬 “embarrassing”: Tāmen bǎ tánhuà zhuǎnxiàng dào yī gè bụ̀ tài gāngà de huàtí 他们把谈话转向到一个不太尴尬的话题 “they shifted the subject to a not so embarrassing topic”
nàiyòng 耐用 “lasting”: Zhè tào jiāju jiēshi nàiyòng, wǒ yǐjing yòngle shí nián le 这套家具结实耐用，我已经用了十年了 “this line of furniture is strong and lasting; I’ve been using them for ten years already.
chàngyì倡议 “to suggest”: Wǒ chàngyì jìnzhǐ qìchē zài gōngyuán lǐ tōngxíng 我倡议禁止汽车在公园里通行 “I suggest prohibiting cars from passing through the park”
zàoyīn噪音 “noise”: Xuéxí shí, wǒ rěnshòu bùliǎo nàme dà de zàoyīn 学习时，我忍受不了那么大的噪音 “when I study I can’t handle such troublesome noise”
jiànbié 鉴别 “to distinguish”: Wǒmen duì rènhé shíwù dōu yào yòng bízi xiù yī xiù, jiànbié qí hǎo-huài 我们对任何食物都要用鼻子嗅一嗅，鉴别其好坏 “we have to smell all the food so as to distinguish the positive and negative aspects”
jiǎoxìng 侥幸 “fortunately”: Tā jiǎoxìng tōngguò le HSK6 liù jí 他侥幸通过了HSK6六级 “fortunately, he passed the HSK 6”
xiāo削 “to peel”: Māma zài gěi wǒ xiāo píngguǒ 妈妈在给我削苹果 “mom is peeling me an apple”
List of frequent chengyu
Here’s a list of chengyu that are quite frequent:
Wǔhuābāmén 五花八门 “multiple”
Jiāyùhùxiǎo 家喻户晓 “known to all”
Bódàjīngshēn 博大精深 “large and deep” (mostly referring to knowledge)
Bùkěsīyì 不可思议 “inconceivable”
Wùměijiàlián 物美价廉 “excellent merchandise at a good price”
Zhòngsuǒzhōuzhī 众所周知 “everyone knows”
bàntú’érfèi 半途而废 “to give up halfway”
détiāndúhòu 得天独厚 “to be particularly helped from Heaven”
jíyúqiúchéng 急于求成 “impatient to get results”
bǎojīngcāngsāng 饱经沧桑 “to have had many ups and downs in life”
yī̠sībùgǒu 一丝不苟 “extremely meticulous”
yǒutiáobùwěn 有条不紊 “methodical, systematic”
zàijiēzàilì 再接再厉 “to make persistent efforts”
qiè’érbùshě 锲而不舍 “to persevere”
Differences between 口面用语 and 书面用语
At the HSK 6 exam you’ll be required to know a good amount of content about the written language, or 书面用语. In this paragraph we’ll take a look at the differences between the spoken language, 口语用语 and the written language.
Bǎ 把 can become jiāng 将: Jiāng xūyào de gōngnéng ānzhuāng dào yìngpán shàng 将需要的功能安装到硬盘上 “installs the necessary programs on the hard disk”
Shuō 说 can become dào 道: Fǎnwèn dào 反问道 “said in reply”
Jiù 就 “that is” can become jí 即: wǒmen shíxíng de shì liǎng gè biāozhǔn, jí duì zìjǐ kuānróng, duì háizi yánlì 我们实行的是两个标准，即对自己宽容，对孩子严厉 “we carry on two criteria: to be tolerant with oneself and severe with the kids (I translated “that is” with two dots)
Hē 喝 can become yǐn 饮 (mostly within the chengyu or direct derivatives from classical Chinese): yǐnshuǐsīyuán 饮水思源 “never forget where you came from”
Shí 食 has the meaning of chī 吃: shíwù 食物 “food”, shítáng 食堂 “cafeteria”
Then we have fǒu 否 which substitutes 不是; fǒuzé 否则 which substitutes 要不然; fǒurèn 否认 which substitutes 不承认; lìng 令 which substitutes 让; wù 勿 which substitutes 不要; yǔ 与 which substitutes 和; hé 何 which substitutes 什么.
In this paragraph you’ll find an example of simple phrases in the HSK 6 reading:
Xìngfú shì xūyào fēnxiǎng de, ér tòngkǔ shì xūyào fēndān de.
Happiness should be shared, while suffering should be divided.
Besides this type of example, in the reading part you’ll find rather long texts about the most disparate subjects: nature, science articles, space missions, Chinese culinary traditions, the 4 scholarly treasures, and the history of ancient China.
I’ll now list key words on the subject of nature (for me the most important) so that you can deepen your lexical terms. Armed with Pleco, translate and study the terms listed below (the majority is not on the HSK 6 vocabulary list).
The final exercise: the summary
（1）仔细阅读下面这篇文章，时间为10 分钟，阅读时不能抄写、记录 “carefully read the text in 10 minutes. While reading you cannot transcribe or record”
间为35 分钟 “after ten minutes, the examiner will collect the reading. Summarize the text you just read in 35 minutes”
（3）标题自拟。只需复述文章内容，不需加入自己的观点 “insert a title. You don’t need to enter your own point of view, just summarize the content of the text”.
（4）字数为400 左右 “about 400 characters”
（5）请把作文直接写在答题卡上 “Write your answers right on the paper”
The text to review is about 32 lines. Since, if done perfectly, it’s worth 100 to 300 points tops of the HSK 6, it’s very important for passing this difficult test. In this section I can give you nine new useful tips that are for me, fundamental.
- Remember to write the title on the first line, halfway across.
- When you start the summary and each time you start again after a point, remember to leave two boxes empty as is the rule when writing Chinese.
- Signs each occupy a box.
- Avoid writing a lot of 了.
- Try to build more complex periods through conjunctions (it will help you stretch things out!).
- Try to follow chronological order, which will help you with various constructions (先……, 再; 首先……, 其次……, 最后).
- Try to use the written recording, especially the adverbs (some helpful ones: 却 “nevertheless”, 毕竟 “after all”, 仍 “still”, 则 “but”)
- A very appreciated construct is made by the verb + 于 which introduces a place or time: 这部小说出版于2019年 “this novel was published in 2019”; 刷牙的时间不应该少于三分钟 “you should brush your teeth for no less than 3 minutes”; 她出生于中国 “she was born in China”.
- Remember to use 而 with the exception of “and/moreover” or “nevertheless”.
- Practice a lot by reading lots of text. You don’t necessarily need to write 400 characters; it’s more important that you what you write is clear and organized. Don’t write badly or in a hurry. Lastly, remember that simplicity is always appreciated.
The HSK 6 listening part is really very complex: every single exercise will be played only once and at a rather high speed; there are very long exercises, so you’ll have to stay concentrated the whole time; moreover, the majority of the time it’s not enough to grasp what you think is the key word, since in the audio you can hear more than one.
Sadly there are no strategies or ways to simplify the listening part; the only solution is practice a lot. Fortunately, there’s now lots of material on the Net that you can use to your advantage; the following are some that I recommend:
- On youtube you can find lots of Chinese films and songs (just type in 中国电影 or 中国歌曲). I recommend that you find 2 or 3 Chinese movies to learn by memory, line by line (I found very useful the Ip Man movies in Chinese that to this day I still know by memory); when it comes to songs, you can try super fast rap songs (start with those with a slower rhythm, naturally!).
- In the following link you’ll find the official channel for CCTV, the official Chinese news station. Sadly, not all the videos have subtitles in Chinese, unlike films they always show. When it comes to this type of video, I recommend that you vary them as much as possible so as to see some of all types (from sports to current events, for example).
- Perhaps not to be taken for granted: listen repeatedly to the original audio tracks from the HSK 6 simulations until you know them by memory. Start by just listening, then listen again while reading the audio script (not all simulations have them), then listen again without the script, then again with the script, and so on. It takes a lot of patience but in the end you’ll see lots of results.
- Make Chinese friends and speak with them; better yet, visit China and study only Chinese for no less than 3 months.
I promise that, even though the original simulations are very useful (you’ll find them with a little patience on the web or on the site chinesetest), it’s good to use three manuals along with them:
Frequency-based HSK Vocabulary 6: this is the best dictionary of HSK 6 words with pinyin, translation and a pair of phrases for vocabulary taken from the original HSK 6.
Official Examination Papers of HSK: level 6: a small book that contains 5 entire simulations with CD, audio script and solutions.
Simulated Tests of the new HSK (HSK level 6): this book, edited by BLCU, is the most difficult one around. This book’s level goes beyond the most difficult HSK 6 simulation. Take it anyway, but know that it’s really complex, so don’t be discouraged!