New record for HSK candidates in France
The 2010 HSK test took place in France and 10 oversea cities on 15th. It is estimated that a new record for HSK candidates was set due to a significant increase of HSK candidates this year.
HSK has 10 test centers in 10 French cities including Paris, Bordeaux, Lilly, Lyon, etc. According to the estimation, an increase of HSK candidates from 600 last year to 942 this year has set a new record since its launch of HSK test in 1994.
A reform was introduced to HSK test in 2010: Test level is divided into 6 levels instead of 3. It is easier for the 1st and 2nd level. Writing expression section has been added into Level 6 and it has also introduced oral section for the first time.
Most candidates are about 20 years old, but there are also pupil and aged candidates. For example, the youngest candidate in Paris is only 9 years old while the oldest is 70. Usually they participate HSK test for 2 reasons: first is to evaluate their mandarin language level to have a reference for future study; second they want to earn more opportunity as for competitiveness in the future working or internship.
The increasing popularity of HSK test can be attributed to the 'Mandarin Fever' and Language tests in France. Mandarin is particularly popular in France since it has been integrated into the school courses.
Currently there are about 44 thousand French students learning mandarin and mandarin ranks as No.5 in all the foreign languages courses in France.