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Suggestions Please! Generic phrases for exam time compositions

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Hi everyone,


I have a little problem. I have an exam in just over a week and while 80% of it is multiple choice, or similar, there will no doubt be one part at the end in which I have to write a composition.


Here's my problem, I can write virtually no Chinese characters off the top of my head. 


As much as I would have loved to learn to write Chinese and promised myself to do it at some point it's never been a high enough priority for me to spend time on it, and what's more my school doesn't spend any time teaching it, but you have to write in hanzi for the composition (go figure).


Anyway these compositions are usually 100 characters long, and I have a strategy.


I have started by practicing to write the 300 most common characters as found here:




While this is going OK, it doesn't really help me much if I'll be scratching my head trying to figure out which characters I can actually put on paper in my composition come exam time.


Which gave me an idea, what if I could have a few phrases / sentences that I could slip into any topic. Something so generic that regardless if I have to write about making friends, or my favourite foods I can just slot them in and chew up some notepaper.


So I'm calling for your suggestions on some simple grammatically correct sentences that I can practice and just write down from memory regardless of what the topic is. Preferably sticking to the top 300 characters which I am planning to be familiar with come exam time.


A few I've got atm (although these I think are far from ideal)







As you can see I'm aiming for maximum flexibility, and also would like to cover a good range of the most common characters so I can practice writing them as part of practicing my prebaked sentences.


Look forward to hearing your suggestions. Elementary sentences only please.

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… can be replaced with whatever you like 中国,社会,人类 etc etc.

While you are memorising pre-baked sentences, I would also recommend writing a few sample compositions from memory without any tools to help. If you don't know how to write a character, write in the pinyin. If you don't know how to express a concept in Chinese write it in English.

Once you've finished, look over what you wrote and make anything not in Chinese the focus of your learning (e.g. learn the character that goes with the pinyin and learn the Chinese that suits the English).

Lather, rinse repeat with different topics and sample compositions.

This might also help with writing.

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Thanks imron,


Sad to say I've been signed up to skritter for years, and used it for many many hours over that time but still can't write :S


Don't know why but with skritter it just doesn't stick in my head. If I go a few days without it which inevitably happens it's like starting from scratch again and that's so demotivating that days can quickly turn to weeks. One day I'll try a different way, I think writing on paper in sentences with some form of SRS would work better, but for now I'm sticking with it to just try and cram those 300 chars.

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Hi Prophecy,


I don't have too much advice as I'm just starting out learning, but for me what helped the most when learning characters was to write them in context. Randomly writing the same character over and over doesn't really get it to stick in my mind, but when I'm writing the whole thing as part of a sentence, it just seems to click that little bit more. 


It's also pretty handy to learn the meanings behind the characters. I have a book (can't recall the name exactly something like Enjoy Learning Chinese Characters) and each page explains a radical, and then shows other characters that use that radical and their meanings. For example 'pig under a roof' 家 is home/family. For me, remembering the idea behind the character allows me to picture it more.


Good luck with your exam :) Is it GCSE? 

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