The HSK is a national standardized test of Chinese for non-native speakers. It was designed by the Chinese government to test Chinese proficiency by foreigners, overseas Chinese, and non-Han Chinese. The test is administered by the HSK Center of Beijing Language and Culture University. The test results are used for admission to Chinese universities and by certain employers to assess language proficiency.
There are three HSK test levels: Beginners, Elementary/Intermediate, and Advanced. HSK tests are given periodically in China and approved location overseas. Each test lasts from 2 to 2.5 hours.
1Our thanks to http://www.chinese-forums.com for sharing their word list.