ChinesePod has lots of tools and resources, especially when you sign up for a Premium subscription. There are different personalized approaches one could take, and here a couple I’ve successfully done: The simple approach I now take, as well as the more comprehensive approach I used to take when I was at the Newbie/Elementary level.

My Current Simple Approach

  1. When I get in the car on the way to work, I randomly select an Upper Intermediate lesson. I’ll hear the Dialogue, Lesson Review MP3, and then lesson itself. I set it on repeat, and on the way I’m usually able to hear the three files twice.
  2. As I have time, I log into the website, and use 3 of the tabs: I listen to the Dialogue, listen to each of the Expansion sentences, then do the Exercises.
  3. Mark the lesson “Studied,” and leave it behind me.

I’ve chosen to stick with “Upper Intermediate” because the level is actually below where I am, which makes it easy. But, I still encounter new words and concepts with each lesson. So, I’m learning, but not pushing myself to the point of giving up.

When I was starting out, I had to be much harder on myself. Very little would “stick,” so I really had to mash it into my brain in order to make progress.

My Complicated Newbie/Elementary Approach

  1. Listen to the lesson. This takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Listen to the Lesson Review MP3. This will be the first of many times.
  3. Create a vocabulary flashcard list in Pleco for any words I didn’t already know.
  4. Create and maintain a daily playlist of just the Dialogue MP3’s. Each time I did a new lesson, I’d add the Dialogue to the end of that playlist 3 times. I kept adding to the list until it was about 30 minutes (exactly right for my half-hour walk to school), then started deleting the first ones in the list to keep it at 30 minutes. (Note: I also adjusted the file “Start Time” to 3 seconds so I’d be spared hearing the “ChinesePod Dot Com” jingle over and over and over every day.)
  5. Go to the website and listen to the dialogue one line at a time. I’d repeat each line out loud until I could say it smoothly along with the recording.
  6. On the website, listen to each of the Expansion Sentences one at a time. Again, I’d repeat out loud after each one, until I could say it smoothly with the recording.
  7. Do the Exercises.
  8. Mark the lesson “Studied.”
  9. Continue listening to my 30-minute dialogue playlist every day.
  10. Integrate listening to the Lesson Review MP3 and Pleco flash cards into my Graduated Interval Recall system.

Photo: The Countryside in Northeastern Fujian © 2017 Elijah Wilcott