Good news if you’re looking to take the HSK test in Los Angeles: there’s two test centers in Los Angeles and one nearby. The two in Los Angeles are at UCLA and CSU Long Beach. There’s also one nearby at UC Santa Barbara You can also take the YCT and BCT tests at these locations.
University of California at Los Angeles
Address: 1100 Glendon Avenue, PH 8, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Phone: (310) 825-8839
Contact Person: Susan Pertel Jain
California State University at Long Beach
Address: 6300 State University Drive, Suite 250, Long Beach, CA 90815
Phone: (562) 985-4060
Contact Person: Heidi Zhang
University of California at Santa Barbara
Address: 2220 Humanities & Social Sciences Building, Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Phone: (805) 893-4954
Contact Person: NA
Didn’t there used to be one in San Diego?
Yes, in fact there used to be two: San Diego State University and San Diego Global Knowledge University. San Diego Global Knowledge University is technically still recorded as having a Confucius Institute but there’s no evidence of it on their website or on Google so I can’t recommend it.
San Diego State University has a Confucius Institute for eleven years but it was shut down in the summer of 2019. Quite a few Confucius Institutes have been shutdown recently and, without going into details, there’s some political concerns about these Confucius Institutes on US soil because the Institutes are affiliated with the Chinese government. If you’re really curious, you can find out more here.
When can I take the test?
The tests are held on the same days all over the world and are set by Hanban. Hanban is another name for the Confucius Institute but it refers more to the administrative center in Beijing. For simplicity, when I talk about Hanban, I’m talking about the administrative center in Beijing and when I’m talking about the Confucius Institute, I’m talking about the learning center near you. Anyway, you can check out the official schedules for the HSK, YCT, and BCT on Hanban’s website but unfortunately Hanban doesn’t translate them for you. Here’s my translations of the 2019 test dates and I’ll update it as soon as the 2020 dates are released. Expect that you’ll need to sign up at least a month in advance of the test date.
How to take the HSK
So you need to sign up to take the test, then actually go to your local Confucius Institute and take it.
In general, to sign up you need to go to the Hanban website and signup there. You’ll need to make an account, choose a date and location, and then just show up at your local Confucius Institute to take the test. There will also be a fee for taking test; this varies by test center but usually around $50 USD. Remember to sign up at least a month before you plan to take the test. I would also call the location and double check both that they’re actually holding the test and how to get there. If you want a more in-depth guide, Culture Yard wrote a great step-by-step guide about signing up for the HSK.
Once the test date arrives, drive to the Confucius Institute with appropriate ID, probably just a Driver’s License. Usually there’s no strict schedule, more like a four hour window when you can show up and take the test. At the Confucius Institute there will be someone, probably a student volunteer, who will take your information, set up your test area, and offer to store anything (like your phone) that you can’t bring into the test. There’s usually a few other people taking the test but no one says anything; it’s really quiet. Expect to spend about an hour taking the test.
How do I get my results?
You will be able to get your score online a month after you complete the test. You can find this online at Hanban’s site. You can also print out a copy of your passing score but some institutions don’t consider this an “official” certificate.
If you need an “official” certificate, you should be able to pick it up from the Confucius Institute where you originally took the test. According to Hanban, the test is shipped to your Confucius Institute 45 day after you take the test but in my experience you usually can’t pick it up until two months after you take the test. Either way, make sure to ask your Confucius Institute beforehand and double-check when you take the test to make sure you get the “official” certificate. I can’t say for sure that every Confucius Institute handles the “official” certificate in their own way but that’s been my personal experience at every Confucius Institute I’ve been to.