HSK 5 & HSK 6 VOCABULARY PAGES ARE UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Stay tuned and enjoy the rest of the site, and HSK 1-4!

Why the HSK Tests are Superior to YCT Tests


Visit my home page, and you will quickly learn that it is my dream for MandarinMania.com to become the “Wikipedia” of Free Chinese learning.

What’s My Plan? To link together my original content and the free content of other creators, so that you can spend more time learning and less time looking for free content and resources.

You Can Help Improve the Content Available by Sharing Links to any awesome free learning videos you have discovered. I will then make learning pages like these: Chinese Colors and 小九九.

 If you share free Resources you use, more pages similar to this one for Instagram Accounts to Follow will be created for the benefit of us all. 

After posting my plea to you to share your links to free content, I came to my own realization that MandarinMania.com lacked information on the YCT.


The Youth Chinese Test (YCT) is an international standardized Chinese language test that examines non-native primary and secondary school students’ ability to apply the Chinese language in school and their daily lives.


HSK Vocabulary is comprised of 6 levels that increase in difficulty, whereas YCT only has 4.  

If you are introducing your young child to Chinese or you are a beginner “just testing the waters,” then YCT Level 1 may be for you.

YCT Level 1 contains just over 80 words, the majority of which are taken from HSK Level 1. It also contains eight words from HSK Level 2, six words from HSK level 3, and three words that do not appear in the HSK Vocabulary lists.

YCT Vocabulary lists tend to “dumb down” the English definitions for the Chinese words, making them easier to memorize. For example, the definition for  (diǎn) on most YCT Vocabulary lists is “o’clock.”   

On the other hand, HSK Level 1 Vocabulary lists often have this listed as the definition for  (diǎn):

  • point
  • dot
  • drop
  • speck
  • o’clock
  • point(in space or time)
  • to draw a dot
  • to check on a list
  • to choose
  • to order (food in a restaurant)
  • to touch briefly
  • to hint
  • to light
  • to ignite
  • to pour a liquid drop by drop
  • (old) one-fifth of a two-hour watch 更(gēng)
  • dot stroke in Chinese characters
  • classifier for items

I think you get the point.


Please take a look at the sample tests for the YCT and the HSK available on our site. You will notice that the content of both tests is practically identical.  

In fact, YTC Levels 1 and 2 combined are equal to HSK Level 1. YCT Level 3 is the same as HSK Level 2, and YCT level 4 is equivalent to HSK level 3.


Taking HSK tests have no age restrictions, but have benefits that the YCT does not. If you pass HSK Level 3 or higher, this will allow you to attend Chinese universities. Keep in mind, however, that some specialized courses require that you pass HSK Level 4. Complete all 4 levels of the YCT, however, and Chinese schools will not put out the welcome mat for you.  

Universities outside of China, and employers seeking Chinese speakers, also ask for HSK test scores, not YCT. So, unless your child attends a Chinese school that requires YCT testing, my best advice to you is to skip it.  

Instead, focus your or your child’s attention on passing the HSK. As mentioned, it is the very same vocabulary anyway, and both tracks have comparable sentence structure and grammar levels. If you need another reason, the testing fees and locations to take either “style” test are the same as well.


HSK Levels 1 and 2 will not garner you any accolades from schools or employers. If a commendable “pat on the back” will encourage you or your child to continue studying Chinese, however, by all means, take the tests.  

The Office of Chinese Language Council International 国家汉语国际推广领导小组办公室, or Hanban 汉办 organizes HSK 汉语水平考试 (Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì) and YCT 中小学生汉语水平考试 (Zhōng Xiǎoxuéshēng Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì) testing. 

Enjoyed the article? Let me know in the comments below. Please also consider sharing it on your social media accounts using the “share buttons” below.  

Thank you and, as always, take care!


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