People often underestimate the difficulty of Chinese, and think they might be able to pass e.g. the HSK5 in a year starting from scratch. Maybe this ultra-rapid progress is possible for some people on the planet, but not for most.

I would like to be able to explain to them something along the lines of:

At [some university], getting to HSK level [x] is a [y]-year [undergraduate/masters] course. It entails full-time study and passing [z] different courses taught by professional Chinese teachers. This is a realistic idea of how long it takes to reach level [x] of the HSK.

When I worked at Nankai, I remember students would take the HSK4 after a year of full-time study. It would be nice to have some concrete data points here (not just "some random person on the Internet said so"). I did not easily find anything like this on the BLCU website.

Question: How can I relate HSK levels with university undergraduate and graduate levels?

  • Language learning depends on the individual. That said, I have no idea what the level thing is but I had a friend who learned Chinese from scratch after she was 50 and ended up doing a Phd. And even interpreted from Chinese to English. It took her ten years to be able to speak Chinese well. But I doubt one year will get you far. Even in Western or "easier" languages.
    – Lambie
    Jan 30 at 17:45


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