Thu, Nov 03, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Foreign students face Mandarin test

By Shen Hui-yuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan will offer a Mandarin version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam by next summer, according to the Ministry of Education. Foreign students and overseas Taiwanese-Chinese applying to study in universities will be required to take the new test, and will have to take Mandarin lessons to supplement their studies if they don't pass it.

The Chinese Proficiency Test, developed by National Taiwan Normal University, has had a number of trial runs over the last few days, but it will not to be implemented officially until next June at the earliest.

Every year, almost 10,000 foreign students come to Taiwan to study Chinese, and 3,000 overseas Taiwanese or overseas Chinese arrive to enter universities.

The government provides scholarships to support many of these students, and it hopes to attract 12,000 foreign students to study in degree courses in universities over the next five years.

The study of traditional Chinese characters, as opposed to the simplified characters used in China, will be a requirement.

China has offered a languange- proficiency test, known as the Hanyu Kaoshi (Chinese Standard Test), since 1998. The test is used in more than 30 countries, and is considered an important tool for testing the language-capability of people wishing to enter foreign relations. It uses simplified characters.

Taiwan's own proficiency test, many years in development, is therefore well overdue.

According to Chang Chin-sheng (張欽盛), director of the ministry's Bureau of International Cultural and Educational Relations, foreign students applying for degree courses and government language scholarships next year will have their Chinese Proficiency Test results taken into account.

Liu Teh-sheng (劉德勝), chairman of the Committee on Overseas Chinese Education said that passing the test will be among the entrance requirements for overseas Chinese wishing to study here.

The test will be conducted in June and December next year, and four times a year in subsequent years. It will be offered in 10 locations around the nation, but there are also plans to hold the examinations in other countries.

Chinese Proficiency Test Levels

Language ability listening/reading comprehension


Level 1

Can you understand simple instructions and basic dialogues

Level 2

Can you understand the main points of topic and read ads, posters, etc


Level 3

Can you understand general conversation and short texts

Level 4

Can pick up the main points of a discussion and understand longer texts


Level 5

Can discuss specialist subjects and understand simple classical Chinese texts and proverbs

Level 6

Can expound upon and discuss topics and understand news reports at native speed

Level 7

Native speaker fluency

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