Chinese Language Learning – How to make the most use of my independent study time?

Hi everyone. I’ve recently started studying Chinese at university (around 20 hours of classes p/w) and am struggling to make what feels like an efficient use of my free-time outside of this for self-study. I haven’t really settled into what feels like a “comfortable” study pattern, and I am curious what study techniques or routines others may use to practice.

A run down of my current activities are:

1 – Pleco flashcard reviews – I do at least an hour of these a day, usually at least double that if a lot of reviews come up or there are a lot of tricky words. Currently I only do one way 汉字 flashcards, where I only get the character and have to recall pronunciation + meaning. I’ve flirted with doing the inverse as well, but I’m not sure if its an effective use of time.

2 – Writing 汉字 by rote – just repeated re-writing of characters, usually only new vocab from that day. Occasionally old words I keep forgetting. Normally around 3-6 times for each character. Normally around 30-45 mins per day.

3 – Sentence writing. Usually based on homework, occasionally formulating my own sentences. Very useful activity but time consuming, especially when thinking of your own sentences unprompted. Time spent in this is pretty variable. Around an hour a day, sometimes more if there is a big homework assignment.

4 – Reading practice. Still trying to find some good graded readers for this but I currently mostly use Du Chinese. I like it, but find it lacks much explanation around sentence structures or grammatical points.

5 – Very occasional listening practice. I mostly use beginner learning podcasts like Chinesepod for this, around 10-15 mins per day, as I’m not at a stage where I have enough vocab to be able to listen to intermediate material and get anything from it. I also get listening activities from class. I would say my listening in general is lacking, in particular in conversational situations, so this is something I’d like to do more of.

6 – Reviewing grammar points from class – again, not sure of a great way to practice this outside of sentence writing. I currently review class notes and slides and write my own sentences a few times. I’ve thought about doing sentence flashcards for these but not sure if its effective.

I do basically no speaking practice outside of class unfortunately. I’m not studying in country at the moment and opportunities in class are there but limited. I’m not really sure how to go about getting more of this in my routine but it’s definitely the most lacking area sadly.

I would love to hear other people’s study routines and any tips.

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One Response

  1. si_wo January 20, 2022
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