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HSK – Vocabulary

Vocabulary is a key part of learning Mandarin. It is even more important when preparing and practicing HSK exam. HSK exam is not only about speaking and understanding Mandarin. It is a very specific Exam and your preparation should be in accordance. Mastering the HSK vocabulary will give you the best possible chance to succeed in the HSK exam. Easier said than done!2

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For each level of the HSK, you will need to learn a specific number of characters and new words. From 150 basic characters needed for the HSK 1 to the 5000 characters used in the daily life and required for the HSK 6, your list of words to learn will be steadily increasing.

Here is a reminder of the number of characters you need to master for each HSK level:

  • HSK 1 : 150
  • HSK 2 : 300
  • HSK 3 : 600
  • HSK 4 : 1,200
  • HSK 5 : 2,500
  • HSK 6 : 5,000


You can download the HSK vocabulary list for free on Global-Exam’s training interface.


Global Exam provide you with mock exams and sample test for HSK. By practicing HSK everyday with our solution, you will obviously see and learn a lot of new vocabulary in the same context that you will find the day of the HSK exam.

Here are two tips to make learning your HSK vocabulary easier:

  • To review your vocabulary effectively, write down all the characters you need to master in a notebook, with examples. It is easier to learn the vocabulary if you use them in everyday sentences.
  • Use flashcards on your smartphone — e.g. ankidroid (free) on Android or anki (10€) on iOS. You can maximise your revision time by revising your vocabulary on your phone as well as from your vocabulary notebook.

Good luck!