Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Articles tagged with ‘Spaced repetition software’

  1. About cheating, spaced repetition and learning Chinese

    Have you even found yourself grading your answer slightly more positively than you should? Even though we all know that we shouldn’t, I think this is quite common. We shouldn’t do this! We’re only cheating ourselves and impeding our progress. In this article, I talk a little about cheating, spaced repetition software and some related consequences and theories.

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  2. Three ways to improve the way you review Chinese characters

    In this article, I discuss three things you can do to improve the way you review characters, mainly focusing on avoiding rote learning, time quality and making sure your study method really prepares you for what you want to use your Chinese for. The article also contains a video about how to improve your character reviewing with Skritter!

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  3. Flashcard overflow: About card models and review directions

    The question of how to design flashcards is faced by all learners who use them. What should you put on the front? What should you put on the back? Should you add single characters or whole words? Or perhaps sentences are better? The general answer is that it depends and this article discusses some of the factors the answers depend on.

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  4. Boosting your character learning with Skritter

    There are hundreds of apps out there that all claim to be indispensable resources for learning Chinese, but very few of them actually live up to it. Skritter certainly does. Skritter is an important part of the most efficient way of learning to write characters and you should really give it a try.

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  5. If you think spaced repetition software is a panacea you are wrong

    Spaced repetition software (SRS) is widely discussed online, and generally speaking, there is a spectrum between people who think SRS is the holy grail of learning anything and those that think SRS is artificial, passive and just a waste of time. This article argues that this polarisation is a serious mistake, SRS is a tool and like any other tool, how we use it determines what we get from it.

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  6. Is your flashcard deck too big for your own good?

    If you use spaced repetition software like Anki for learning Chinese and do so for a few years, you will end up with a very large flashcard deck. Some people advocate deleting the deck if it becomes too big. This article looks closer at the pros and cons of keeping large decks and why you might want to consider starting over from scratch.

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  7. Towards a more sensible way of learning to write Chinese

    This is a challenge designed to help students break the bad habit of simply repeating characters over and over until they stick and instead rely on more clever and efficient methods. It’s about learning for the long term and learning to really understand the characters. Will you join the challenge?

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  8. You can’t learn Chinese characters by rote

    My conclusion after years of learning characters is that rote learning is useless. Spaced repetition software is good, but it’s still not enough. If adult foreigners are going to learn to write Chinese by hand, we really need another method. We need mnemonics, we need active processing, we need to quit rote learning and stop using SRS mechanically.

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  9. Measurable progress is a double-edged sword

    Spaced repetition software offers a great way of measuring progress, every step forward is recorded and clearly visible. However, this is also a trap, because even though SRS is useful, it’s just a tool, not a comprehensive strategy. Measurable progress is a great help, but only if you use it correctly.

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  10. Answer buttons and how to use SRS

    Spaced repetition is very powerful compared to massed repetition, which is why software utilising the spacing effect is growing ever more popular. In this article, I discuss how to review vocabulary using SRS, including how to use the various answer buttons and some other functions commonly available.

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