Struggling to remember Chinese Characters? You’re not alone. They are tricky little things with complex strokes and most look exactly the same?! How on earth do I remember thousands of them?
I’ll teach you my top three ways to memorize Chinese Characters. Want to know a secret? It’s pretty straight forward. Increase your exposure to Chinese Characters as quickly as possible.
The general rule of thumb is that you must be exposed to a character between 7 to 23 times to actually learn it and effectively recall it. This will take place over a few months if you’re not actively exposing yourself to characters. Supercharge your learning by grabbing a comprehensive book, flashcard apps and being diligent with studying.
1. Get a comprehensive book
If you don’t already have a Chinese Characters book I’d recommend purchasing Tuttle’s Learning Mandarin Chinese Characters. Check out my review of the book here or watch the video below. This is a great book for learning Chinese Characters. Out of all the books I’ve reviewed this one really shines.
2. Write, write, write
Grab yourself a dotted Moleskin or some fancy character paper and copy the characters. Write them in rows. Write them again and again. Fill the whole page. Write until your wrist aches. The more you write them the easier it will be to remember the strokes and imprint the character into your memory.
This is a very simple tip but it takes hard work and dedication. Most people fail because they don’t prioritise studying, if you apply yourself and set aside as little as 10 minutes a day I guarantee you’ll see results.
If you have a tutor, ask them to check your characters, they can review your characters and give you advice on stroke order, balance and consistency.
3. Use a flashcard app
I personally love the Skritter app. I used it for two years to brush up on my Chinese Characters. It’s so much more advanced than standard flashcard apps. It uses custom definitions and mnemonics, example sentences, character breakdowns, vocab information to improve your learning experience.
They always teach you the correct stroke order when learning new characters. It has audio to match the character and prompts for pronunciation and tone markers.
Plus you can learn on the go. The app can be downloaded to your phone or tablet. This means you can get a quick study session in on the bus, whilst waiting for a friend, or grabbing a coffee. It couldn’t be more convenient to learn Chinese Characters.
Fancy a 7-day free trial? Click here. Who doesn’t love free things?
Is learning Chinese Characters difficult?
I’m bombarded with messages asking me ‘how difficult is it to learn Chinese Characters?’. The honest answer is, learning Chinese Characters is hard. But, if you’re learning Chinese in China you have an added advantage because I can provide you with the tools you need to communicate effectively in Mandarin Chinese.
Character Scavenger Hunt
This is a premium WeChat group. We are a group of like-minded people who are studying Chinese Characters all over China. Each week I choose one character and ask the group members to actively search for this character in everyday signs.
You soon start to learn the character in tons of different contexts and this reinforces the character in your head. Members post photos into the group with their translation and I offer comments, translations and culture references.
Want to be a part of the Elementary Chinese community? Click here.
The Great Firewall of China
Want to use the VPN I use for a stable, quick connection in China? I depend on it to upload more than six videos a week and live-stream on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. And here’s my second choice for a VPN. Plus, when you download from either link, they share some of the cost with me, so I can keep creating the videos you love.