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StMatthias

HSK Level?

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renzhe
Could I ask Renzhe, could you handwrite from memory all 1000 characters learned in a month

I probably couldn't handwrite 1000 characters even today. I was only interested in reading and typing. It speeds up the process in some ways, slows it down in others (more interference).

At some point, I will go back and try to correct this, but for the time being, spoken fluency and 100% listening comprehension are far important to me than handwriting, so it's on indefinite hold.

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markwong

I think your time frame is very reasonable, and I think trying the practice tests are also a good idea.

They have official practice tests available here in a nice web-app that automatically times your test. Very convenient:

http://www.chinesetesting.cn/gosimexam.do#

I've also found that using a regular study pattern and daily practice really helped me. I studied off the official word lists and found it very helpful when taking the exam. You can find a lot of options for those in in the forum.

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imron
What is important is to do it every day, without fail, and to structure it well so you are always progressing. Make it a part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth and breakfast. Just do your characters every day.

This is good advice. It's far more important to build a daily study routine (even if it's only a small amount of characters per day) than it is to try and learn X characters in Y days. What I've found is that it's not the number of characters per day that's important, but rather the number of days you keep studying.

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GaryM

Just a follow-up on my experiences studying the HSK characters from the lowest level.

renzhe mentioned learning 1,000 characters in a month, I was a little doubtful of my ability to achieve this, but I thought I would give it a try.

I wanted to see how many I could learn in 1 month concentrating on it full-time.

Anyway, today is day 34 and I have managed to learn 907. I used Skritter because I wanted to learn to write the characters in addition to recognizing them. I used the new HSK Lists and covered the default word lists accessible from Skritter. The average time spent was approximately 6 hours a day. So by starting at HSK level 1, I have covered up to 74% of the HSK 4 content.

I speak some Japanese so already knew the meaning of some of the characters. However, when I studied Japanese I concentrated on character recognition and conversation rather than writing (something which I have come to regret). I was completely new to Chinese studying so I had to learn Pinyin from scratch. Given this Japanese base, learning to write this many characters in a month might be a little tough for someone who does not have this background, but I don't regard myself as a gifted linguist, so other people may be able to acheive the same or more.

Unfortunately I will no longer be able to continue to focus on this full-time from Monday. Given that I have covered so many so quickly the it will probably take me about 2 hours a day just to review the ones that I have covered. I know that there is a high chance of forgetting the ones that I have learned without this.

I hope that this can give people some idea of what can be achieved with full-time study.

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icebear

Congrats on a big month of progress! I think the next two points you mentioned are the most important for other learners; big spurts of progress are possible if you have the time and commitment, but you need to also keep in mind the time needed to retain that progress later on! Good luck.

Unfortunately I will no longer be able to continue to focus on this full-time from Monday. Given that I have covered so many so quickly the it will probably take me about 2 hours a day just to review the ones that I have covered. I know that there is a high chance of forgetting the ones that I have learned without this.

I hope that this can give people some idea of what can be achieved with full-time study.

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Neil_H

907 in a month is amazing. Well done.

I would never have the time to do that many and remember all of them with the correct tones. It takes me a good 20-30 minutes to complete my reviews on Skritter before I even start the new characters. My pace is a much slower 5 hours a week split into 30 minute time frames for characters. the other 5 hours is on speaking and listening including 2.5 hours at night school now.

I gave up trying to write them on skritter as I was not making any progress on new characters. I was stuck in a constant loop of reviews. Sticking to just reading has solved that and allowed me to make progress again.

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GaryM

Yeah... the problem now is that Skritter says that I have 3,795 reviews to do, which equates probably to about 20 hours of work, and I have no time at all to do this. Perhaps in a week or so things I may have more time, but no more than 1 hour a day at most. It will be interesting to see how many I have retained.

Learning the characters in isolation is of limited use. I looked at an HSK textbook and found that I can recognise the characters, but still have a problem understanding the meaning of the sentences! I think your balanced approach (Neil_H) is a lot better over the longer term.

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Neil_H

There are some settings in Skritter where you can lower the retention amount from the default of 95% down to something a bit lower like 90%. This will stop there being so many reviews and allow you to concentrate more on your new words or recently added words. Another thing you can do if you keep being given a word you know very well is to ban it from the list so it won't show it again.

I am at 310 characters over a period of 3 months. As the book I am working from (Tuttle Learning Chinese characters) also makes up words based on the characters, Skritter makes you learn these too so despite their being 800 characters in the book you end up having to study some 1850 words.

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Neil_H

On the subject of HSK I am interested in the new HSK 3 exam at some point. I need to finish my character book first and do some reading but hopefully after that the HSK 3 will be next.

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