Quick update on Skritter progress

Continuing the discussion from Nearly done with Skritter - progress report:

Just a quick update after my previous progress report. It took about three months to clear out the remaining 3,000 items for my queue and about half an hour a day seems to be enough to clear out the 100 or 200 items that come up for review every day. I expect that to gradually go down. This has left a bit of a gap in my study schedule as I was studying at least an hour a day on average.

I’ve filled that with more native level materials, particularly reading 三体 after Nick’s recommendation. I’ve downloaded a copy into ibook so I can look at it on my phone. When I study Skritter I tend to look at the prompt and then write without looking, but with a book you need to look continuously which is a little less convenient. Still it is good to see progress as the page number ticks up. It’s apparently 3,000 pages, but each page is quite small so I think this will be a good way to study.

I’ve also picked out a TV show with subtitles to watch and some public 微信 channels to follow for articles to read.

With around 13,000 words and just short of 5,000 characters from Skritter, I mostly recognise all characters that I see now, although still see some new ones, such as 颦 in 一颦一笑 the other day. One key issue which I don’t think Skritter helps with is separating the connotations and collocations of words. For example I learnt 疙瘩 as pimple from Skritter, but then see it in the context of 解开心上的疙瘩 get rid of a hang-up / misunderstanding. Another example is in 提走, the sense of 提 as “take a prisoner away” is not one I picked up even though 提 is a common character.

There are also still several new words that I haven’t studied in Skritter. Many are a little bit specialised at this point, or close to other words I’ve studied. E.g. 公检法 for public security organs, all characters I know but I don’t recognise the abbreviation, or 嘟囔 for mumble, again characters I know but haven’t seen the word. It would be difficult to study these on Skritter as many will not be in lists and some are not even in Skritter, such as 雷区 for mine field (now added).

My plan now is to continue improving my reading speed, hopefully looking up fewer and fewer words as I build confidence, while continuing to use Skritter for the existing items I’ve added to do tone and writing practice and maintenance of existing vocabulary. I do use “quick add” to add to my Zhongwen list in Skritter, with the Zhongwen Chinese Popup Add-on for Chrome, it’s just a matter of hovering over some Chinese in the browser, and pressing s to add to Skritter, and I also use A for quick add in Skritter itself if a word isn’t in the popup dictionary. I am not currently studying these (~1500 words added to the list but not studied), but might add them later.

If anybody has other suggested ways to improve am always keen to hear.


Cool! Last time I saw your post, I was up to about 500 characters and 67 hours studied. Now I’m a little over 800 characters, 600 words, and 146 hours studied!

Man, gotta admit sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated. Lately it’s all I can do just to hit 20-30 minutes a day. But after reading your first post a few months ago, I think I went like a month studying an hour a day every day. Haha. I’m super impressed by how many characters you know.

1 Like

Sounds like really good progress. I average just over 50 minutes a day, but over 1000 days of study. So if you can hit 20-30 minutes regularly and maybe a bit longer now and then when you have time, you should continue to make progress so long as you keep going. I bet that month of one hour a day saw some quicker progress too if you check back your progress graphs.

It’s the average that counts! Or rather, how much time you put in over time, not during a week. I agree with @ximeng that 20-30 minutes per day is quite good. Much better than an hour a day if you can only keep that up for a few weeks and then lose interest and do something else. Also, there’s more to Chinese than vocabulary, so you need time for that as well!