When it was fresh out of college, the HSK had been thrilled at its mission to teach Chinese. As age and the imperative of marking on a bell curve caught up with it though, this sheen had worn off. "Look at these questions," the exam had accosted a stranger at a bar the other night. "These new ones are practically highway robbery. We're actually giving our students bad mandarin just to see if they notice...."

The most difficult questions (in our opinion) on the upper levels of the HSK are the Find-the-Mistake exercises. Just like in the fifteen questions in this sample HSK test, on these questions you need to identify the portion of the passage provided which has a serious problem with word choice, grammar or usage. This is extremely difficult. But if you can get perfect or close to perfect on this HSK test, you are in exceptional form. Good luck.

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