What are my most challenging characters?

I’ve been studying characters for a while and have a feeling that some of my characters are more difficult to recall than others. I’d love to know what these are so that I can perhaps revisit the way I try and remember them.

Does anyone know if it is possible to view characters in a list ordered by the frequency of incorrect incorrect recall? There are many nuances as to how you’d order such a list but was wondering if anything along these lines exists.

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You can’t sort by success rate right now in the clients, but it is something we hope to improve upon in the future.

As we migrate more and more of Skritter’s data on to the v3 API we’ll be working on making it way easier to view this kind of data in weekly reports, and on the Skritter apps.


That’s a great idea!

You can look at the stats for each word either by reviewing it or on your vocab list, so it does already show how successfully you tend to recall it.

Being able to see a list of these in a “success” ordering would be great.

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I have a copy of my study data from the current API so I might have a look at creating a couple of lists. If I find something that’s useful, I’d be happy to share the lists back here.

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For more context to this, I’m working through Remembering the Hanzi Book 1 at the moment. I’m thinking of using such a list as an indication of where I need to go back and re-visit the story that I’ve associated with each character.

I found a couple of hours this evening to start looking at this and managed to pull back a simple report:

"Character", "Part", "Reviews", "Successes", "% Success"
"仅", "tone", 121, 69, 57
"匀", "tone", 61, 35, 57
"惊", "tone", 99, 57, 57
"及", "defn", 51, 30, 58
"养", "tone", 138, 84, 60
"攻", "tone", 63, 38, 60
"定", "rdng", 37, 23, 62
"怎", "tone", 91, 57, 62
"诚", "tone", 91, 57, 62
"艺", "tone", 96, 63, 65

Things I can learn from this short list:

  • Recalling tones looks to be my most challenging aspect of Chinese - I’m not worried about this as it’s a factor of how I’m choosing to learn.
  • I can instantly see that I’m really struggling with ‘及’ and need to revisit the story that I’m using to remember the character.


I’ve hacked this together and it doesn’t query data across the full list of studied characters. I haven’t quite figured out what subset I’m getting back. If it is the next batch of characters I’m due to review then this may be sufficient for some simple stats.

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This is not an answer to any of the questions posted in this thread, but I thought I’d mention that I wrote a series of articles based on what most Skritter users get wrong. It starts with an article called Hacking the most difficult Chinese characters (with examples) and you can find all articles in the series here. Being able to look at your worst characters is a rather useful feature, so hopefully we’ll be able to get this into the app!

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Great article!

The best way of learning these tricky characters is to deal with them decisively. Cramming works in some cases, but it’s inefficient and you will keep forgetting the same characters over and over.

This is exactly what set me off down this track. Cramming worked briefly, but it didn’t stick. I needed to sit down and tackle problem characters decisively. My challenge was, I’d do reviews around life activities, not always when I’m sat down in a convenient place to focus on tackling problem characters.

I’m going to experiment with writing down (in Skritter of course) new mnemonics or stories for problem characters, refining these until they stick.

Something else I need to work on, and a reason for tackling these problem characters when I’m able to sit and focus is putting characters in context.

Put it in context – If you learn character components, put them in characters; if you learn characters, put them in words or sentences; if you learn words, put them in sentences”

Also something to investigate for me is finding words that contain the characters I’m studying. It looks like Skirtter distinguishes between characters, words, and sentences but I’ve not figured out how to use this yet.

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