"I am thrilled with the program. It is a new and powerful tool
in my study of Chinese."
"I have been using the program for about 5 months now and
I have moved from knowing a little over 2,000 characters to consistently
scoring 3,000 or more on your on-line character test. More importantly
I have finally moved from reading intermediate texts to on-line news
I find on the WWW. Your program has turned out to be an amazing aid.
I am now a huge fan."
"Big thanks for the software! I just started learning Chinese here at the UN,
and your program is just what I need. It lets me follow up what I
learn in the classroom and then explore further."
—Nikolai Galkin, United Nations
The Chinese Character Test provides a fast and easy way to estimate the number of Chinese characters that you know. The test is a free, web-based applet that you can use as often as you like.The Character Test is also included as a free bonus on the Clavis Sinica program CD, in case you'd like to install it on your own computer for better performance.
When you take the test, you'll first be asked your approximate skill level, how many characters you want to test, and whether you prefer simplified or traditional characters. Once you've completed the test, you'll be shown a results panel that includes a mathematical estimate of the total number of characters that you know.
The Chinese Character Test is based on the Clavis Sinica dictionary, which in turn is based on the first level of the Guobiao Chinese character set. The 3755 GB-I characters included in the Clavis dictionary are the most frequently used in modern Chinese. The Clavis dictionary divides these characters into four frequency groups, as follows:
|***||The top 300 most frequently used characters in modern Chinese (you'll find a list of them here)|
|**||The next group of 500 most frequently used characters|
|*||The next group of 800 most frequently used characters|
|no asterisks||The final group of 2200 less frequently used characters|
The characters included in your test are selected from these groups according to the skill level that you indicate. If you're a beginner, only characters from the first, most commonly used group will be included. If you're a low intermediate, characters from the first two groups will be included, and so on. At the end of the test, the program determines how many correct answers you had from each group. It then extrapolates from this result the total number of characters you're likely to know in each group, and adds these numbers together to produce a final estimate of the total number of characters that you know.
Because the program only tests those characters appropriate for your skill level, the maximum possible score varies, as follows, according to the skill level you select:
|Skill Level||Maximum Score (approximate)|
If you find that you're scoring towards the high end at a particular skill level, you should advance to the next skill level in order to obtain a more accurate measure of the number of characters you actually know. This is because someone who knows all, or nearly all the characters at one level is very likely also to know quite a few of the characters at the next level.
To begin the Chinese Character Test applet, simply click on the link below. You will be taken to another web page on which the actual applet will appear.If you'd prefer to install the test on your own computer for better performance, you can purchase it on CD from our ordering page.
For best results, please note the following suggestions for using the Chinese Character Test:
If you'd like to install the test on your own computer so that you can use it without an internet connection, you can purchase a CD copy of the Chinese Character Test program, or get it for free when you buy the Clavis Sinica CD.