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When will HSK Exam be changed to 3-stage-9-level mode?

You must be seeing lots of news about the HSK changes from yesterday.

On March 31, 2021, China’s Ministry of Education announced the《国际中文教育中文水平等级标准》--- literally the Grading Standards for International Chinese Language Education (GF0025-2021) .

And the announcement says these changes will go into effect from July 1, 2021.

The requirement to pass the levels according to the New Standards is much higher and much more difficult compared to the current 6-level exam.

Based on some rough estimation, if you are currently of HSK4 level (which we regard as intermediate level), with the new standards, you will be regarded as “Elementary Level, Band 2”. If you are at HSK5, it will be “Elementary Level, Band 3”.

To show it more directly, the chart might help, oh NOOOO, but it will be somewhere like this.

Current Standards
New Standards
HSK 4:Intermediate 
Elementary - Level 2 
HSK5: Pre advanced 
Elementary-Level 3 

OK, next question!

When will the new exam be activated?

The responsible officer from the Ministry of Education meets the press on April 2 and the question was asked and answered, but not directly.

The question asked was:


What changes will the HSK exam have after the new Standards being announced?

Answer in Chinese first:

I trust you wish you could read and understand it, but actually, even if you can read all, you won't have a clear answer  

A rough translation of the answer:

HSK is an international exam and it has become one of the famous exams for Chinese.

The Standards is of the TOP Level design, to provide a foundation/ guidance for Chinese learning, teaching, and exam...

It has many functions, among those, the most important one is to serve as the reference for the HSK exam. 

The HSK exam will be upgraded accordingly and adjust to the 3-stage-9-level mode on the basis of guaranteeing the stability of the current 6-level mode.

But When?

No question asked, so no answer.

Wait, any inside information?

Yes, but it says, the earliest possible time is from July 2021.

However, it might not be that fast. It takes time to change.

Based on our understanding and experience, it would not be that soon.

Actually, before the current new 6-level HSK exam, there had been an OLD HSK exam that was actually more like the NEW 3-stage-9-level mode.

The two HSKs existed together for a few years after the new 6-level HSK being launched and the new 6-level HSK finally replaced the old 9-level HSK and became the official HSK after 2011. 

However, the latest NEW Standards is of government behavior that would be put into practice sooner. 

We estimate that there would be a short transitional Period for the two exams (current 6-level HSK and the NEW 3-stage-9-level HSK) to exist together and gradually the NEW 3-stage-9-level HSK would fully take over. 

For how long? If we were right, it would be around 6-12 months.

Do we stop and wait?

NO! Because, this will not change the fact that we want to learn and improve Chinese for our personal benefit for life or work or business, no matter how the exam is. 

So, let's leave behind the worries and keep your current learning efforts. As long as your Chinese is improved, the exam will be just a form 

The current HSK Standard Books you might be using now are still good books to follow, before new books come. 加油

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