Weekly Update #2

This week has been a little lighter in terms of hours put in compared to last week, but nonetheless I feel it’s been an equally productive 7 days. I didn’t manage to meet all my goals set from the previous update, but I did make some changes to my routine that I consider beneficial.

New Practical Chinese Reader 2

I’ve continued on with NPCR 2 (take a look at my review of the book) and completed two more lessons, making a total of 4 finished now. I also re-listened to the dialogues from the first two to make sure I could still comprehend everything that was said. I now feel confident I know the new vocabulary introduced in them.

My reading ability, most notably the speed at which I can read has shot up quite quickly after only 4 lessons, this is encouraging and I hope it will continue to improve as I move forward through the book.

Time spent: ~11 hours


This is where I have made quite a drastic change in my daily study. I no longer aim for an hour a day, instead I try and squeeze in a few minutes here and there throughout the day, and stop using it when I’ve finished my review queue for the day. Previously I would reach 0 and continue until I met my time restriction.

After doing some brief research on SRS my new method appears to be how it was intended to be used for maximum efficiency, and it has brought my daily Skritter usage down from 1 hour to around 30-40 minutes. I assume this time will increase as more characters are added.

Time spent: ~4 hours

Chinese Pod

My Chinese Pod listening target of getting more done has certainly not been met. I feel the listening from NPCR is taking more of a priority at the moment and I feel a bit too drained to stick on Chinese Pod after a 1-2 hour session of intensive/proactive listening and reading. I still manage the time to procrastinate a bit (that’s what this blog may well be), so I should be able to get more of this done.

Time spent: ~2 hours

Anki and Pleco Reviews

My time spent on Anki reviews is also going down a bit as I’m able to better remember cards faster than I am adding them. I didn’t expect this but my daily review queue is slowly decreasing in numbers every day. However I am also reviewing via Pleco now too.

With Pleco I’m adding single new words I have learned from context in NPCR, and in the evenings I quickly run through them. They seem much easier to remember than new characters learned in Skritter, which makes sense if I have been hearing and seeing them in sentences.

With my Anki deck, as I have been encountering older cards I have been removing the pinyin, it’s time to cut the rope with it so to speak.

Time spent: ~10 hours

Italki Skype Lesson

Another good lesson. Off the top of my head I remember learning is that 这 can mean both “so” (as in “talking so fast”) and also can mean “like this” (as in “my friend also thinks like this”)

My teacher is really starting to test my listening ability too. She reads out a dialogue or two from a textbook, then in Chinese asks me questions that I also answer in Chinese about what I just heard. I think this is good training, and good preparation for the HSK listening section if I’m ever to take it.

Time spent: 1 hour


Last week I began using Glossika, the spaced repetition course rather than the sentence pack. After reading about it I decided to give it a go as it reminded me of Pimsleur in terms of the way it drills sentences into you through SRS.

I’m liking it and find it does work, especially as I know the majority of words being used. Some of the pronunciations throw me off and rather than parroting the speaker I say them the way I have learnt which I know to be standard Mandarin. Not a big deal.

The lessons now at this point are around 12 minutes a pop, so it’s not much time at all to work into my studies. I’ve been trying to get it done in the morning before work.

Time spent: ~1 hour

TV and Film Viewing

More Happy Chinese. That Susan is always putting her foot in it with her American ways. I watch them in order but occasionally go back to an older episode when my YouTube is playing up.

Time spent: ~5 hours

Weekly study total: 34 hours

Goals for next week

This week has flown by, I need to be careful on burning myself out though. There’s a fine line between dedication and killing yourself.

I’m really curious as to how my studies will go when I touch down in the East in just over a few weeks. (Take a look at my post about essentials I’m bringing to China, have I missed anything?)

For next week:

  • Sign up for the February Challenge over at Hacking Chinese to improve my pronunciation before I go to China
  • Get a little more Chinese Pod done if I can face it
  • Keep up the reviews in Skritter, Anki and Pleco
  • Persevere with NPCR as the content gets harder and I encounter increasing amounts of new words

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