The tips and tricks of learning Mandarin

Today we will focus on the most effective tools, tricks and tips to kick-start you on your journey to learning Mandarin!

It seems that many people are still wondering what all the fuss is about when it comes to Mandarin (despite the fact that it is the most widely spoken language in the world). But there has never been a more opportune time to start learning Chinese through self-study!
As China continues to grow and become a real contender in the global community, speaking Mandarin Chinese will become a necessity for daily life, travel and business.

Now, you may be telling yourself; “I never had the chance to learn Chinese at school or university, it is way too late now” – you should always avoid getting sucked into this idea!

It may seem daunting to pick up such a difficult language, yet as the Chinese saying goes, “Every journey beings with a single step”.

All you need is the right M.A.M; mentality, approach and material!

Mentality and Approach
Any student of Mandarin Chinese will tell you that having the right mentality and approach is the best modus operandi.

  • Enjoy yourself
    The only possibly way you have a chance of learning something new is if you have enough interest and passion to drive you on when the going gets tough. Get more involved with Chinese culture.
  • Realistic goals
    Set realistic goals mini-goals! For example, when writing Chinese characters, start with 30 in the first week and then increase it the next.
  • Study time
    Devote enough time to studying new material and also reviewing what you have studied in the same day. Studies show that rather than cramming in a great deal of information in one sitting, it is better to study in small frequent doses.
  • Lifestyle change
    Everybody has about an average of two-hours of free time a day, so why not use this ‘dead time’ to listen to some Chinese music or watch a language lesson online?
  • Varied material
    Compared to when I began learning Mandarin, there is now a great amount of varied multimedia material that will surely help you in getting the most out of your independent study.

Tools of the trade
Below are a few highly recommended learning materials that should definitely be in your inventory list:

Reading: Textbooks, i.e. Easy Peasy Chinese, New Practical Chinese Reader, etc

Listening: Chinese music and TV programmes, e.g. CCTV Learn Chinese series, and Chinese-pod

Self study 4


Writing: Hanzi Wall Chart, Pleco & NCIKU (Dictionaries)
hanzi wall poster



Chinese Viewfinder YouTube videos, Language communities (

Self study 5





Now all you need is to pick up your pen and paper, as your “chénggōng zhī lù” (“road to success”) awaits!

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