It has been more than a week since 2017 arrived. How are you doing with your New Year’s Resolutions? I hope the eight chengyus from my last article has motivated you for the New Year. Since we have set our goals, it is time to get to work! In 2015, I shared my favorite tool. It still is my favorite tool to this day.
Today we are going to take it up a notch by utilizing Quizlet (a free tool) to maximize your Chinese Mandarin learning progress. I am going to show you three ways you can use Quizlet for your Chinese Mandarin learning. We are going to see how we can use Quizlet for: character recognition, word recognition, and listening comprehension (yes, listening!).
Before we dive into the technical aspects of Quizlet, let’s see what makes Quizlet great.
Four Reasons Why Quizlet Is Great For Learning Chinese Mandarin
1. Great machine pronunciation
Have you ever had days where you want to hear how a sentence is said, but your teacher or tutor is not available? You can enter your phrase into Quizlet, and it will give you a pretty nice pronunciation! No it is not perfect, but it is great for a quick reference. If your teacher has a Quizlet Teacher account, then he or she can even upload his or her own audio files!
2. Flashcard system available on multiple platforms
Quizlet is available on your desktop, iOS, and android. You can study your personal cards on the go. Perfect for long commutes.
3. Auto generated tests to set a measurement goal for yourself
Across your language learning journey, you will undoubtedly encounter obstacles. Sometimes it becomes murky whether you are making progress or not. Hence, setting a measurement goal allows you to see your learning progression. By using the auto generated test, you can set a goal for yourself before moving onto the next set. You decide the score. I generally set 80% or higher.
4. Learning can be fun! Try Gravity and Match!
Gravity and Match are two gaming modes that you can use with your flashcards. They are great for children or for those “I am not in the mood for learning” kind of days.
After familiarizing yourself with these features, I hope you are as excited as I am! Now let’s see how we can use Quizlet to maximize your Chinese Mandarin learning experience.
Method One – Character Recognition
First, we need to create a set. Go to Quizlet.
Step 1. Click on “Create”
Step 2. Enter a title
Step 3. Click on “Import”
TIP: To quickly import a list of words, I recommend using a spreadsheet. For my auto-pinyin and auto-translation generation tool, please check out My Favorite Tool article.
We need to add column C and E to our original template. The reason we are putting parentheses around our pinyin is to prevent Quizlet from trying to pronounce Pinyin the English way.
Once you have the set ready, select the entire table like so:
Press “Ctrl + C” to copy the list.
Step 4. Come back to the Quizlet set page and paste the list to the big box:
Step 5. Click on “Import Terms”
Step 6. Select the correct corresponding language for “Terms” and “Definitions”
Step 7. Click on “Create”
Great! Now we have our set ready. You can check out a set I prepared here if you don’t have time to go through this tutorial.
Here is the super exciting part. For character recognition, you can use all the available study methods!
By default, you will hear the pronunciation of the characters. You can turn it off by clicking on “Options” on the bottom left corner. Quizlet’s auto pronunciation is one of my favorite features. You even have the option to turn it off or change the speed!
How to study using Flashcards
When you start a Flashcards session, you will see the Chinese character first. Try to recall the sound and the meaning of the character. Click to flip over the card to see the answer.
By using the “Spell” mode, you will have to type in the answer or choose the character from the list. Anything that you get wrong will be repeated in the next round.
The tests are automatically generated, so you will always get a different test. There are different types of test questions that you can choose to enable or disable.
Gravity & Match
When you run into those “not in the mood” days, try Gravity or Match! Gravity is timed. You have to make sure to enter the answer before the asteroids hit the planet!
TIP: When you use Gravity, make sure to have the game start in English. You can do so by clicking on “Options”.
If you are competitive, you are going to love Match. This is assuming your class is not empty. If it is, you can still try to beat your own score. Match will record how long it takes you to complete the set.
Method Two – Word Recognition
You can use the same methodologies in Method One for Word Recognition. Instead of a list of characters, you will create a list of words. The same method applies.
Method Three – Listening Comprehension
For this method, we will only use the Flashcards option. The list looks just like the other ones, but with a small modification. The first sentence you see is a statement. The next sentence is a question for the first sentence. You can create multiple questions too if you like. For example, my statement in Line 8 is followed by three questions.
How to study using this method:
1. Go into Flashcards mode - the first sentence will play automatically.
2. Turn off your monitor or cover your screen with a book. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate through the set.
3. Take out a pen and paper. You will need them to write down your answers
4. Press “Enter” to play the current card. Let’s say we are on our first sentence, which is a statement.
5. Press the right arrow key to go to the next card.
6. Write down your answer to the question.
TIP: You can write “S” or “Q” before a term to make it easier to identify which one is a question and which one is a statement.
A tool is useless unless you use it. Of course, I am sure your fellow italki teacher will be eager to see your results and share extra tips on your Mandarin learning journey. I hope these studying methods will help you maximize your learning progress. Which of the three studying methods do you like the most? If you didn’t have time to go through the tutorial, you can always check out the set here and see how you like it. I hope this will help further your progress in mastering Mandarin Chinese. 祝你好运！(Good luck!)
Hero image by Oli Dale (CC0 1.0)