Best textbooks for the HSK

best HSK textbooks

Thinking about taking the HSK exam and want to find the best textbooks to help you prepare? Then you’re in luck, because here we have selected what we think are the best HSK textbooks to help you get ready for the exam.

It’s important that you enter the HSK exam as prepared as you can possibly be, and although you can’t learn everything from a textbook, they definitely help you to prepare.

We’ve broken our recommendations down into best HSK textbooks and best HSK workbooks so you can practise the skills you’ve learned.

Best HSK textbooks

The following HSK textbooks are incredibly useful. They take you through all of the grammar, sentence structures and provide you with all of the necessary vocabulary that you will need to pass the HSK exams.

HSK1 textbook

HSK2 textbook

HSK3 textbook

HSK4 textbook

There are two textbooks to cover the HSK4 material as there is much more to learn than in the previous exams.

HSK4 textbook 2

HSK5 textbook

There are also two HSK5 textbooks to help you learn to cover everything you’ll need to know ready for the HSK exam.

HSK5 textbook 2

Best HSK Workbooks

The following workbooks are the perfect way to practise what you’ve learnt from the textbooks. The workbooks provide you with a series of activities to practise your Chinese and help you develop the skills that you’ll need in order to ace the exam.

HSK1 workbook

HSK2 workbook

HSK3 workbook

HSK4 workbook

HSK5 workbook

Common Questions About The HSK

What is the HSK?

The HSK is the official Chinese language exam.

What does HSK stand for?

Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi – which means Chinese proficiency test

Why should I take the HSK?

If you want to study in Chinese universities or work for a Chinese company in a Chinese speaking role then it is necessary you take the HSK exam to demonstrate your level.

How many levels are there in the HSK?

There are six different levels:

  • HSK1
  • HSK2
  • HSK3
  • HSK4
  • HSK5
  • HSK6

What does the HSK test?

The HSK tests your listening, reading and writing skills. If you want to test your speaking skills then you need to sign up for the HSK-K exam, which is under the same examination board but is tested separately.

How can I prepare for the HSK exam?

  • I would recommend you prepare for the HSK exam by taking either formal languages or learning with a Chinese speaker.
  • Chinese is a difficult language to learn, especially the pronunciation of the phonemes and I believe it is necessary to take classes with a native Chinese speaker to fully grasp this.
  • To learn the grammar I would recommend buying a Chinese workbook textbook in order to learn the necessary grammar and vocab at each level.
  • Drilling vocab can also be useful for the HSK as there are a set amount of words that you have to learn.
  • Another thing you can do to improve your chances in the HSK is to improve your Chinese accent.
  • Finally it is incredibly important that you do past papers before the actual exam to make sure you understand the format of the exam and what you need to do.
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before the exam and make sure you know where the exam centre is
  • Try and remain calm; although it’s important you always have the chance to retake if you fail first time round

How long is the HSK certificate valid for?

From the time you take the exam, the HSK certificate is valid for two years. So if you’re thinking about taking the exam, it may be useful to wait until you will be able to use it, for example to apply to a university or if you want to work or live in China.

Many people find this unfair, especially given that other language certificates last much longer, but if you don’t practise your Chinese in two years, it’s unlikely that it would’ve stayed at the same level. Therefore having an expiry date on the qualification is necessary if it demonstrates your level of fluency.

How long does the exam last?

The length of the exam depends on which level you’re taking. The higher the level the longer the exam will take.

Where can I find dates for the HSK exam?

You can find dates for the HSK exam on this website

How can I sign up for the HSK exam?

You also sign up for the HSK exam on this website. I would recommend giving yourself plenty of time to sign up to avoid any disappointment in case all of the places were booked up.

Where can I take the HSK exam?

The HSK exam can be taken in cities all over the world, to find out where take a look here. You don’t need to be in China to take the exam, you can take it from your own country or even city. You just need to find the location of the nearest exam centre.

How long does it take to receive the HSK results?

Approximately 40-60 days after you take the exam you should receive your results.


Are you currently preparing to take the HSK exam? Or have you already had some experience with the exam before? If you have please tell us all about it in the comments below. We always love to hear about your experiences and it will be especially useful to any of our readers who are thinking about taking the exam themselves.

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