Best Studying Strategies for Mandarin

Writing Mandarin | Source: Fluent in 3 Months

While learning Mandarin in high school has had its challenges, I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to study the language. After about 2 and a half years of education, I’ve compiled the best strategies that have helped me become familiar with the language:  

 Using Duolingo 

Going on Duolingo for a few minutes every day can help you learn new vocabulary and refresh old words as well. One of my favorite aspects about this app is that it requires you to speak, allowing you to improve on perfecting tone marks. In addition, you will learn how to develop sentences given a word bank. Also, if you are competitive, you’ll like how there is a feature that gives you a ranking. The app will motivate you to maintain a ranking and increase XP, both helpful incentives to language learning. 

Studying on Quizlet 

Although using physical notecards may be more effective, using Quizlet has helped me prepare for tīng xiě(s) and other assessments. One thing that Quizlet offers that notecards won’t is that you can listen to the audio of a term. If you are ever struggling with pronouncing or need to listen to a character, Quizlet can be there as your study buddy!  

Listening and Singing to Songs

Memorizing can be very laborious and repetitive. It can be easy to dread studying a language since memorization is a key factor. A way to make studying more lively is through listening and singing to songs. My personal favorite songs are 對不起我的中文不好 (Sorry My Mandarin is Bad) and 月亮代表我的心 (The Moon Represents My Heart). 對不起我的中文不好 is a relatable song that all Mandarin students can relate to. In addition, it h includes such a fun beat that you can’t resist singing along to! I was introduced to 月亮代表我的心 through my Mandarin class. It’s a really sweet and affectionate song. 

Watching C-Dramas

I will admit, I don’t watch that many C-Dramas (I’m an IMSA junior…but I would totally watch more if I had time though). From what I have watched, I can guarantee you that watching C-Dramas are 10x cooler when you understand 5% of what they’re saying. Some of the dramas that I recommend are 等等啊我的青春 (Wait My Youth) and 致我们单纯的小美好 (A Love So Beautiful). Both dramas center on high school life, making them wholesome and lighthearted. In addition, 致我们单纯的小美好 has a theme song I love listening to every once in a while. This drama was very popular in China, and there is also a K-Drama version. 

I hope these strategies can help as you embark on your journey of learning this beautiful language! They have certainly helped me. Happy studying! 加油!   

About the Author

Megan Sia
Megan Sia is a senior at IMSA. She is a staff writer for The Acronym. Usually, she can be found either hanging out with friends, watching Netflix, writing, sleeping, or doing homework.

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