TOP test vs HSK test

Hi everyone,

It’s David writing from Popup Chinese. As I’d imagine some of you know, we run a website with an incredible amount of HSK test preparation materials. Recently, we heard about the TOP test from a friend in the states who is considering taking it. He asked for our thoughts on it, but we really don’t have any experience with it. Does anyone here?

I’m curious to hear more about the test, and especially experiences people have had taking it (why did you take it, where did you take it) and how prevalent it is in Taiwan. Also if it is considered useful as a credential for life or employment in Taiwan or is mostly used for self-assessment. This inquiry is being triggered by a posting a user has made in our own discussion forum, so if anyone wants to reply directly, the link is:



I have not seen the TOP test since its early stages, but at that point, it was not as proficiency-oriented as might be desired. It had the typical problems of not knowing just what it was testing at any given time (your listening ability? your knowledge of chengyu? your math skills? all in one item, sometimes…you could conceivably get the wrong answer for the wrong reason, or the right one for the wrong reason). Also, I found that the version I looked at was very heavily tilted at culture – local Taiwanese culture. Many questions that asked about specific local food items or vocabulary that really wouldn’t (in my mind, at least) reflect proficiency in Chinese in general.

I did not see the lower-level exams. Don’t know what’s going on there.

I am suspicious, to say the least. Test-writing is a very specialized field of endeavor, and norming a test like the HSK (or what the TOP wishes to become) is a huge undertaking. I dunno.

That being said, if they had available lists, resources, or whatnot, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to pop them up on your site. (Get it? Pop them up? :smiley: )