60+ Practical HSK Prep Resources for Conquering Your Exam Goals
You’re about to take the HSK test to assess your Chinese skills, and you want to be well prepared.
As an HSK test taker, you’ll need to explore resources beyond the official Chinese testing site, which is where you can register for the HSK and check your score.
We’d know because we’ve been there—our Chinese language team includes Chinese learners who’ve passed various HSK tests (to the point of even living in China now), plus our founder who’s fluent in Chinese.
In this guide, we’ve pooled together the best HSK prep materials we could find.
We picked the resources based on several criteria: official resources compiled by Hanban first, but also the quality of the content, good customer reviews, and well-known publishers (like the Beijing Language and Culture University Press).
With the 60+ HSK prep resources below, you’re all set to build a solid study routine and aim high with the HSK!
- HSK Course Books
- HSK Word Lists and Flashcards
- Chinese Grammar Resources
- HSK Mock Tests and Sample Exams
- Other Resources for HSK Prep
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HSK Course Books
Since the HSK tests your grammar, vocabulary, listening and other skills, it helps to have an HSK course book that you can use as a reference. Think of it as a checklist: are you comfortable with all of the concepts listed in the book?
- “HSK Standard Course” (Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4A, Level 4B, Level 5A, Level 5B, Level 6A, Level 6B) — These are the official books that are published by Hanban, and you’ll find everything that you need to learn for the HSK here.
- “New HSK Preparations” (Level 5 – Writing, Level 6 – Reading) — The New HSK Preparations Series consists of textbooks that train you in a specific HSK skill, such as reading or writing.
- “Essentials of HSK” (Reading, Grammar, Listening, Comprehensive Exercises) — Each book has eight sets of HSK-based exercises for beginners and intermediate learners, along with two sample tests.
- “HSK Listening Bible” — It discusses sentence structures, vocabulary, idioms and even example listening questions from the HSK test.
- “Pass the HSK: Reading Comprehension” — This is geared towards takers of HSK 1 to 3, and it includes sample reading questions with detailed explanations.
HSK Word Lists and Flashcards
To get a good score on the HSK, you’d want to know all of the vocabulary for your level, which is where HSK word and character lists come in. And if you need to learn new words, HSK flashcards are a great study tool.
- HSK东西’s HSK Word Lists — This website lists down all of the words and even characters for each HSK level, with the option to download them on Skritter.
- Huamake’s HSK Lists (with Definitions) — Click on any of the characters listed here, and you’ll be taken to a thorough dictionary entry, including the character’s radical components and words where it’s used.
- “Reading and Writing Chinese” — You’ll want to keep this reference textbook around because it covers all of the 2,000+ characters that are required from HSK 1 to 6.
- Chinese Flash Cards Kit (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3) — If you prefer physical flashcards, these boxed sets might work well for you, with native-speaker recordings and a study booklet included.
- HSK Flashcards — Instead of making flashcards from scratch, you can practice with these online flashcards for all HSK levels.
- Memrise — Memrise is a language learning app that includes several crowdsourced HSK decks for its Chinese program.
- FluentU — FluentU’s Chinese program comes in handy for listening and vocabulary practice. You can create your own flashcards based on the interactive subtitles from the native media clips or study through the premade HSK-themed decks, complete with pronunciation, definitions, example sentences and related video clips.
- Chinese in Flow — This is a game that’s based on the vocabulary for HSK Levels 1 to 3.
Chinese Grammar Resources
It’s said a lot that Chinese grammar is simple, but you’d know how tricky it actually gets if you’re taking the HSK.
These books feature detailed explanations of important grammar points in Chinese. They also include plenty of example sentences and exercises so you can absorb each grammar concept properly.
- Chinese Grammar Wiki — This is the most comprehensive website for Chinese grammar, with grammar concepts explained from A1 (beginner) to C1 (advanced).
- “Common Chinese Patterns 330” — Knowing the top 330 sentence structures in Chinese will help you understand the language faster.
- “Basic Patterns of Chinese Grammar: A Student’s Guide to Correct Structures and Common Errors” — This book gives you an overview of practical Chinese grammar, with relatable examples.
- “Schaum’s Outline of Chinese Grammar” — Schaum’s Chinese grammar book is well suited for intermediate learners, and there are plenty of exercises to work through for each grammar point.
- “YUFA! A Practical Guide to Mandarin Chinese Grammar” — Intermediate and advanced learners will find this useful because it gives detailed explanations that tackle all of the major aspects of Chinese grammar.
- “Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar Workbook” — It’s easy to forget what you just read from a grammar textbook, but this book gets you comfortable with grammar concepts through exercises that are arranged by difficulty.
HSK Mock Tests and Sample Exams
One of the best ways to prepare for the HSK is to keep taking mock tests. Try doing a mock test before you dive into studying, and then use that as a benchmark.
The mock tests below cover all aspects of the HSK, including listening and writing, so there’s a lot to practice!
- “Level 6 HSK: Real Test Collection of New Chinese Proficiency” — This collection of mock tests is available at all levels, and it’s published by Hanban itself.
- “Model Test for the New HSK” (Level 3, Level 4, Level 5, Level 6) — Each book includes five unique sample exams with answer keys, with a listening section that’s said to be tougher than in the HSK.
- “HSK in 30 Days” (Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 5, Level 6) — For a one-month study plan, you can test out your skills with these HSK prep books, which feature five tests each.
- My eChinese — You can take online HSK mock tests here, plus there are also specific exercises for reading, writing and listening.
- Silk Road — This informative website contains online HSK mock tests along with comprehensive information about the HSK, HSKK and other official Chinese language tests.
- Visual Mandarin — Choose your level (beginner, elementary, intermediate or advanced), then browse through the exercises for several HSK sample tests.
- China Education Center — In addition to HSK mock exams, you’ll find actual HSK tests from the past here. You can even select previous test questions for specific skills like writing or listening.
Other Resources for HSK Prep
Aside from all the grammar resources and sample tests above, you’ll also benefit from practicing with graded readers, especially since half of the HSK test involves reading under time pressure.
The graded readers listed here range from beginner to advanced, so you’ll find at least one that suits your level.
Beginner to Lower Intermediate:
- “Chinese Breeze” (Green Phoenix, I Really Want to Find Her, Wrong Wrong Wrong!) — This is one of the most popular graded reader series, with engaging stories and more than 60 titles over diverse genres.
- “Graded Chinese Reader” (Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3) — It features stories that are adapted directly from works of famous modern Chinese writers.
Upper Intermediate to Advanced:
- “Capturing Chinese” (Lu Xun’s The New Year Sacrifice, Lu Xun’s The Real Story of Ah Q, Prose and Poems by Revolutionary Chinese Authors) — For an introduction to authentic Chinese literature, check out this graded reader series, which presents well-known short stories with plenty of cultural explanations and footnotes.
- “Discussing Everything Chinese” — This is used as an actual textbook in some US universities, including Yale.
- “Tales and Traditions Vol. 3” — As a graded reader, it focuses on classical Chinese poems, stories, and legends, with text in both simplified and traditional characters.
- “Advanced Reader of Contemporary Chinese Stories” — I’d recommend this for anyone interested in Chinese short stories written from the 1990s onwards.
- “An Advanced Reader of Modern Chinese” (Anything Goes, A Kaleidoscope of China) — Unlike many other graded readers, this one emphasizes real-life social issues and presents actual articles from newspapers and magazines.
- “高级汉语精读教程” — Published by Beijing University, this intensive reading book covers 16 chapters for each volume, and it includes explanations, exercises and vocabulary lists.’
And that’s it! We’ve come to the end of this guide. On top of these helpful HSK prep books and websites, you can also do on-the-go studying and practice with mock tests on your phone.
Thanks so much for reading, and good luck with your exam!