We’ve come up with our 20 step-by-step top tips for using The Chairman’s Bao [TCB] to improve your Chinese language, including many of the features that we bet some of you never knew existed!
Before You Read
- Keywords: Read through the keywords and listen to the pronunciation of those you find difficult using the Live Dictionary. Note: Keywords are often topic-specific and don’t fall within HSK word listings, but are vital to tell the story. Top tip: read the words aloud as you go!
- Grammatical explanations: Check through all grammatical explanations, paying particular attention to those which you don’t know. Feel free to read the sentence that the grammar point appears within the article, but we always find it’s best to try to spot them in the text naturally and then read through them in their complete form after you have read the article.
- Idioms: It can sometimes be tricky to spot idioms in text. It is good practice to start naturally picking up on them and trying to decipher definitions, but we find that particularly at lower levels it can be beneficial to learn them before you read the article – they can then seem a lot less daunting when they appear in the body of text!
- The Initial Read: Read through the article at a moderate to quick pace, trying to understand as much as possible but not getting hung up on words you don’t know. We recommend you don’t use the Live Dictionary at this point. It’s an important skill to be able to understand the general meaning of a passage of text without understanding it in full.
- Listen to the Audio: All of our news-based lessons come equipped with audio spoken by a native Chinese speaker. Listen to the audio in full without pausing, again trying to understand the article as a whole rather than focusing on specific points. You can also download audio from each of our news-based lessons – perfect for school bus trips or commutes to the office!
- The Comprehensive Read: Read through the text once again, this time focusing on parts that you don’t understand. Don’t forget to use the Live Dictionary where needed to:
- Look up the meanings of unknown words.
- Look up the meanings of individual characters that make up words to give you a better idea of how they are formed.
- Listen to the pronunciation of words using the audio tool. Pronounce unknown words aloud!
- Practice writing the character using a whiteboard or notepad.
- Learn or check the stroke order of each character using our Stroke Order Animation and Character Writing tools which know and test on the order of over 100,000 Chinese characters (or any that’ll ever appear in a TCB article!).
- Go back and listen to the audio twice more to ensure you have fully understood the text and to improve your listening comprehension.
- Dissect That Article! Read each sentence and think about its construction. Anything you’re still not sure of? Go back and check the grammatical explanations. Remember they are designed to cater to the HSK level targeted in the lesson!
Using TCB to Improve Listening Comprehension
- The First Round: listen without reading and try to understand the passage as a whole. Don’t get hung up on the details or any words you don’t understand! Once finished take simple notes of what you have understood.
- Listen and Lookup: listen and read the article simultaneously. We recommend reading and listening paragraph by paragraph, repeating if necessary, until you have an overall understanding of the text. Fill in the gaps of what you missed in your notes from the previous step! How well did you understand the text?
- Word by Word: listen and read again, this time stopping on any words you don’t understand. Use the Live Dictionary by looking up definitions, listening to pronunciation and practice writing the character on the stroke order testing function.
- Read through the text without the audio. Read aloud and record yourself (if you dare!).
Revision and Repetition
- Ensure you use TCB’s bookmark tool to save articles that you have studied to refer to later. You can also mark lessons as ‘read’.
- Come back to the article within a couple of days to study again. If you are confident, set a later date to return to the article – but don’t forget to learn that unknown vocabulary through the Learning Hub in the meantime! Here you can organise words in your personal Word Bank, test vocabulary using the intelligent flashcard system, and ensure you write characters neatly and in the correct order using the writing testing tool!
Filter by HSK Level
- Find articles to suit your HSK level by using our filter tool. Rushed for time but still want to keep up on your Chinese? Drop down a level to study quickly but efficiently. Got an afternoon to spare? Don’t be afraid to jump up a level (or two!), making full use of TCB’s features to make the leap a little less daunting. Also remember that TCB’s beginner news for HSK levels 1 and 2 makes learning Chinese more accessible than ever!
TCB on the Move
- Don’t forget that TCB syncs seamlessly across platforms – Website, iOS and Android apps – including all of your Word Groups, bookmarked articles etc. Therefore, you can study wherever you find yourself. TCB on a train, plane or even on the toilet… you get where we’re going with this!
Test Traditional Characters
- Why not practice your traditional characters? You can choose between simplified and traditional characters for each TCB article. Once you have mastered an article, make the switch to brush up on your knowledge!
- Save words to your personalised Word Bank and use our inbuilt intelligent flashcard system. It automatically remembers which words you perform worse on and tests you more on them in the future. There’s now no escape from unknown words (you can thank us later!).
Subscribe to Our Newsletter!
- Subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of the homepage to receive our hottest articles weekly, along with top tips for learning Mandarin, the latest TCB news, our latest blog posts, and our ‘Idiom of the Week’!
Of course, use of TCB is subjective and open to interpretation. Do you do things differently? Let us know here or feel free to reach out on our social media channels!