How To Pass HSK 1 // Your Complete Guide [Update 2024]

How To Pass The HSK 1 With Style // Top Tips & Tricks (for 2024)

So, you have just started to learn Chinese and are trying to hit you first milestone: the HSK test.

Today we’ll be teaching you exactly how to pass the HSK 1 exam

The HSK 1 test is the first of six levels of the written HSK exam.

The HSK exam, which stands for Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (Chinese Proficiency Test), is the most widely accepted Chinese proficiency exam in the world.

How to pass HSK 1

Regardless of learning objectives, most Chinese learners use the HSK curriculum to set goals, track progress, and as a benchmark for their level of Chinese. 

If you’re interested in passing the HSK 1 test, this guide will walk you through what you need to know and how to prepare to ace the test.

Please note that the HSKK1 Spoken Test is a completely different exam that is outside of the scope of this guide. 

How to Pass HSK 1 | Understand the Structure of HSK 1

How to Pass HSK 1 | Marks Needed to Pass

How to Pass HSK 1 | Learn the Contents of HSK 1

How to Pass HSK 1 | Test Your HSK 1 Vocabulary

How to Pass HSK 1 | Don’t Forget The Grammar

How to Pass HSK 1 | Diversify Your Learning Strategies

How to Pass HSK 1 | Learning Apps Are Your Friends

How to Pass HSK 1 | Take Mock Tests (& Repeat)

How to Pass HSK 1 | Work Closely with your Tutor

How to Pass HSK 1 | FAQs

HSK 6 is the holy grail for Chinese language learners – and student Emma did it solely from online study! Find out how when we sat down and spoke with her

How To Pass HSK 1 | Understand The Structure

The HSK 1 Test is a very simple test that only takes 40 minutes to complete.

Regardless, you should be familiar with the test structure so that you are prepared when test day arrives. 

Being familiar with the abilities that the HSK 1 will test can also help guide your study strategies. 

The HSK 1 is broken into two sections: listening comprehension and reading comprehension. 

Both of which we are going to break down below

The listening comprehension section is broken down into four parts, each containing five items. That makes a total of 20 items for the listening comprehension section of the HSK1.

Listening Comprehension Section in HSK 1

  • For Part I, the test taker will listen to an audio recording twice for each item. A picture and a phrase will be provided for each item and the test taker will have to make a true-or-false judgement given the recording, the phrase, and the image. 
  • Part II includes a picture and three phrases for each item. An audio recording will be played twice for each item and the test taker will then have to match the picture to one of the three phrases.
  • In Part III, a dialogue and several pictures will be provided for each item. The test taker will listen to an audio recording twice for each item and then match the dialogue to one of the pictures. 
  • For Part IV, the test taker will listen to an audio recording twice for each item, in which a person will make a statement and another person will then ask a question. The test taker will then have to listen to three possible answers and select the one that matches the question. 
Chinese Numbers | The Ultimate Guide (PLUS Free Quiz Inside) Thumbnail

Chinese Numbers | The Ultimate Guide (PLUS Free Quiz Inside)

The Most Comprehensive Online Guide for Counting in Chinese & Talking About Numbers Chinese Numbers are one of the first things you’ll study when learning Chinese. So, we’ve prepared this ultimate guide to Mandarin Chinese numbers which covers numbers in…

Reading Comprehension Section in HSK 1

The reading comprehension section of the HSK 1 is also broken down into four parts, containing five items each for a total of 20 items.

  • For Part I of the reading comprehension section, each of the five items will provide the test taker with a picture and a phrase. The test taker will have to make a judgment call on whether or not the picture and the phrase correspond to each other. 
  • In Part II, the test taker will be provided with several pictures and one phrase for each of the five items. The test taker will then have to match the phrase with the corresponding picture.
  • Part III will include five questions and five answers for a total of five items. The test taker will have to match each question with the corresponding answer.
  • Part IV will have one sentence with one missing word for each of the five items. The test taker will have to pick the missing word from an answer box for each of the items.

How To Pass HSK 1 | Marks Needed to Pass

In order to pass the HSK 1 test, you need to score at least 120 out of 200 points to pass. 

That means you need to get at least 60% of the available points to pass the HSK 1.

You do not need to score 60% in both sections, but rather 60% of the available points for the 40 items. 

Note that not every item is worth the same number of points. The exam will tell you how much each item in a section is worth.

The HSK 1 is changing | Here our teacher Alwin goes through every single vocabulary included in the New HSK 1 Syllabus (which begins in March 2022)

How to Pass HSK 1 | Learn the Contents of HSK 1

The HSK1 is meant for students who have taken one semester of 2-3 hours of Chinese classes per week. 

The test will measure the student’s proficiency in 150 of the most common words and some basic phrases in Chinese. As you’ll have seen above, in 2022 the HSK will change and the HSK 1 will be extended to 500 words, making it in theory 3 times harder!

However, regardless of the number of words, the best way to prepare for the HSK 1 is, of course, to take HSK 1 classes. 

At LTL, we offer several different ways for students to prepare for the HSK 1 test.

Taking In-Person Classes

We offer in-person classes in 1-on-1, group, and semester settings.

In-person classes are available in the following cities:

  • Beijing
  • Shanghai
  • Taipei
  • Singapore
  • Chengdu
  • Xi’an
  • Beihai.

Our in-person Chinese classes follow the HSK Standard Course curriculum.

If you’re interested in using the HSK Standard Course to study for HSK 1, you can find the books here.

Start with the HSK 1 level if you never studied the Chinese language before.

Keep going with the HSK 2 level to go further with your language studies.

If you’re looking to tackle the HSK 1 and beyond, we also offer Chinese immersion programs in China that are sure to help you pass the HSK 1, and then go far, far further.

Discover 100% immersion courses – the ultimate way to learn Chinese in our humble opinion

NOTE – Links to buy the HSK books are affiliate links and LTL Mandarin School take a small cut of any sales made, with the rest going to Amazon and the lister of the product.

Taking Online Classes

At LTL we also offer some of the most complete Chinese online courses available today: 

  • Flexi Classes is our revolutionary online Chinese class system. With Flexi Classes, you can book classes in your desired HSK level any day, at any hour, as long as you book 48 hours in advance. We offer 40 unique Flexi Classes for the HSK 1 level plus 10 unique introductory level classes that you may take if you want to work on the very basics.
  • Fixed Group Classes are available for those who would prefer a more regular schedule as opposed to a flexible schedule. You can sign up for one of our HSK 1 fixed courses and take regular classes either 4h/week or 10h/week. 
  • Fixed 1-on-1 online classes with a certified Chinese instructor who will tailor the class to your needs.
See what our student Natalie thought about our Flexi Classes with her Youtube video review

How to Pass HSK 1 | Test Your HSK 1 Vocabulary

Once you get the ball rolling with HSK 1 classes, you need to stay on top of your vocabulary. 

You can use our free HSK1 Vocabulary Test to keep track of your progress.

You should also use SRS apps like Hack Chinese or Pleco to learn new vocab and periodically review words you’ve already learned.

How to Pass HSK 1 | Don’t Forget The Grammar

One of the most frustrating things for Chinese students is being able to read and understand each individual word in a sentence and still not be able to understand what the sentence means. 

This is very common for people whose native language is English, as Chinese can have some grammar points that are nothing like English. 

Make sure to check out our LTL Chinese Grammar Bank to review some of the most elementary grammar points!

How to Pass HSK 1 | Diversify Your Learning

Although taking HSK classes is a great way to get started, there are many activities that you can do outside of class to take your learning to the next level. 

The HSK tests two main components: listening and reading skills. That means that, in addition to memorising vocabulary, you should work on your listening and reading skills as well. 

Don’t worry though, as the HSK 1 tests very simple concepts and very few grammar points. 

You shouldn’t need to worry about reading books yet, but you can probably benefit from watching Chinese movies, Chinese dramas, and even Chinese YouTubers.

Do not worry about understanding anything, just start getting used to listening to Mandarin and your brain will soon start to pick out a few words here and there from your HSK 1 studies. 

You can also use a Chrome extension like Language Learning With Netflix to set up English subtitles along with Chinese subtitles and make your experience more enjoyable.

How to Pass HSK 1 | Learning Apps

Learning Chinese is now easier than ever with countless apps that will help your learning. 

If passing the HSK 1 is your main goal, then one of the most helpful apps will be the HSK Online app.

Make sure to check out all of our Chinese app reviews to find the best apps for your learning style.

How to Pass HSK 1 | Take Mock Tests (& Repeat)

Once you’re a little further along in your HSK 1 studies, you can start taking mock tests to figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are. 

The best way to measure your progress is by taking full-length HSK 1 tests as they will give you a clear idea of where you are and how much further you need to go before test day. 

You will also get more acquainted with the test structure so that you can dive right in on your official test day without having to figure out how to answer each question. 

How to Pass HSK 1 | Work Closely With Your Tutor

Once you’ve taken one or two full-length practice tests, you will know what you need to work on the most.

At this time, it is a good idea to work with a private tutor who has plenty of HSK experience. A good tutor will help you correct your mistakes and guide you on your journey to a passing HSK score.

You can work with one of our dedicated tutors in our online HSK courses.

Our tutors have successfully helped countless students pass each and every one of the six HSK levels and can help you get that HSK1 passing score. 

Check out our HSK Exam page if you’d like to know more about the HSK test.

That is everything you need to know. Now you know how to pass HSK 1, with flying colours!

Do you have any more questions or concerns? Drop us a comment below and we’ll get back to you.

Good luck!

How to Pass HSK 1 // FAQs

What is the top score you can get on the HSK 1 test?

The top mark for HSK 1 is 200/200.

What is the pass mark for HSK 1?

You need to achieve 120/200, or 60%, to pass the HSK 1 exam.

How many words in the HSK 1?

There are currently 150 but as of March 2022 this is changing to 500 words, making it significantly more difficult to pass for beginners.

Why is the HSK 1 changing and becoming harder?

Hanban feel the HSK currently doesn’t give a fair reflection when compared to the European Framework system (A1-C2).

They are trying to align each HSK level with the aforementioned system and currently feel the HSK is a little easier compared.

The reason to extend this is to truly allow HSK 1 to equal A1, and HSK 4 to equal B2, for example.

Can I take the HSK 1 test with LTL?

Whilst you can’t take the HSK exam at the LTL school, we can help you find a testing center and book you in to take the test.

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BONUS | Want to study the local Taiwanese dialect known as Hokkien? We provide Hokkien classes in person and online.


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  1. This is a good guide! Thanks for sharing, I plan to start my Chinese in 2022!

    1. LTL Team HQ

      Good luck Greg, we’re right here for you

  2. Alana

    I passed the HSK 1 last month after taking some lessons with you guys, thanks so much. HSK 2 for 2022!

    1. LTL Team HQ

      Super news, well done Alana. Hope we can get you to China soon! Let’s go HSK 2!