What is your workflow?

I am trying to systematize how I learn Chinese and Skritter is an indispensable part of that. I’m curious if other users have specific workflows they use to maintain a healthy vocabulary.

Other questions I’m interested in include:

  • Is your deck of due cards zero?
  • Do you work from continuous learning or by deck?
  • How much time per day do you contribute to Skritter, and how does that fit in to your overall Chinese learning strategy?

Good initiative! Here’s how I use Skritter:

  1. Is your deck of due cards zero? No, but I have it under control! It’s hovered between 1,000 and 1,500 for about a year now.

  2. Do you work from continuous learning or by deck? I rarely add new items, but when I do, they are all from a custom deck where I add things I find hard to remember (usually example words for characters I forget often).

  3. How much time per day do you contribute to Skritter, and how does that fit in to your overall Chinese learning strategy? Rarely less than 10 minutes or more than 30 minutes. I try to get a few minutes before getting out of bed, before falling a sleep and then a few times spread out throughout the day. As for how that fits into my general learning strategy, I don’t really have one. I listen quite a lot, read less than I should, write/type online and speak daily, though. I probably will add more items, at least for recognition, once my due count is actually undre control.


My Skritter use:

  1. Is your deck of due cards zero?
    Yup. I make a point of clearing my queue daily. I don’t add new items daily, but I make sure to get through all my reviews every night before going to bed. I don’t know my exact streak at the moment, but I haven’t missed more than a few days per month since February 2019. It’s just a part of my daily routine at this point.

  2. Do you work from continuous learning or by deck?
    I just do due cards and don’t split by deck. When I’m adding new items, however, I do make a point of doing a few tests for new items a few times during a given week to make sure that I really understand the things I’m adding into Skritter.

  3. How much time per day do you contribute to Skritter, and how does that fit into your overall Chinese learning strategy?
    10-20 minutes a day on average. All the new items I’m currently adding to my queue come from articles, 1:1 classes, movies, and podcasts that I use to study during the week. Anything from my classes goes into one focused deck, and the rest goes into an assorted deck that is organized by month. I don’t add everything I learn from those resources into Skritter, but I do add some of the things that I’d like to put into my active lexicon.


Thanks for starting this poll. Should be interesting.

I think it would be helpful if in their responses people indicated whether they are currently in an immersive Chinese environment, or studying outside of one. I think that makes a big difference in study approaches.

I am usually not in an immersive environment, but about once yearly manage about two weeks or more in one.

Is your deck of due cards zero?

Hahahahahahaha! My apologies, that was a bout of hysteria. My due cards are over 56,000! I started Skritter about six years ago and gave up on the daily full review long ago. Getting cards down to zero is a fantasy for me. Would love to, but…

Do you work from continuous learning or by deck?

I always work by deck, multiple decks a day, going back to review on average 3-4 mos worth of decks.

That said, I create at least 1-2 decks monthly and add to them about six days a week, including adding a handful of new words to Skritter’s database each week.

I work out of whatever I’m currently reading to add words to my lists. Right now it’s Du Chinese, used to be Chinese Pod, and before that old textbooks etc., as well as lists of words I come across in correspondence/encounters with friends.

How much time per day do you contribute to Skritter, and how does that fit in to your overall Chinese learning strategy?

I do a minimum of 30 minutes a day of Skritter. It’s essential to my learning.

I also daily read/listen to whatever current source I am studying. I correspond - handwritten - with friends about weekly, and then study the new vocab I needed to look up in order to communicate, and whatever new vocab they use in response, and make lists of those.

About once a year (but not for these two years or so until there is a COVID vaccine :cry:) I travel to China or Taiwan or Hong Kong and there I keep a tiny notebook in my pocket to scribble down whatever new vocab I get from conversations, written signs or eavesdropping. I spend no time on written Chinese or Skritter on these trips, focussing only on improving my aural/oral skills.

I expect Skritter will be a lifelong companion. I can’t really see using any other method that’s out there.


Interesting to see other people’s responses here. I’m currently outside an immersive Chinese environment (in Bulgaria, and I really should be spending more time on my Bulgarian, but…)

For what it’s worth, here’s what I’m doing at the moment.

Is your deck of due cards zero?
Yes. Although not yet today, as I’m busy distracting myself on the Skritter forum. :slight_smile: But I have a pretty solid regime, getting my due deck down to zero first thing in the morning. I find getting the deck down to zero psychologically helpful, as it gives a tiny little sense of achievement every day, a burst of dopamine which keeps me learning.

Do you work from continuous learning or by deck?
Just from due cards. I try to add in a few cards to my queue a day (even if it is only one or two), so that I have a sense of ongoing progress. I have a single custom deck for random words I come across that I think are going to be useful. But I balance adding new words against keeping my queue to a manageable number of daily reviews (which is around 800 items a day for me).

How much time per day do you contribute to Skritter, and how does that fit in to your overall Chinese learning strategy?
½ hour to an hour, usually. I was a feverish Skritter user in the very earliest days of the app. Then life got in the way of learning Chinese, and so I didn’t use it for a few years. This year, I’ve been picking up my Chinese again. So I made the decision to reset my account and start again from scratch. This has meant that for the first couple of months since the reset earlier this year, I found myself doing much more than an hour a day most days — mainly so I could rattle through the vocab that I knew pretty well, and get up a sense of pace. Now that I’ve reached a level where things are a bit knottier, I’ve slowed down a bit.

It’s like Cook Ding, in the Zhuangzi, cutting up the ox. When things are easy, I try to zap through them fast. When I get to a knot of gristle and sinew, I slow down and work more carefully. :cow:

I supplement Skritter with quite a lot of reading (having discovered that there’s a lot of stuff in Chinese on Google Play books), watching Netflix with the Language Learning With Netflix extension, and occasional speaking practice / correspondence with friends in mainland China/Taiwan.


Language learning with Netflix extension?! First I’ve heard of this. What, how?!

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Never tried it, but it looks interesting. Must be on laptop though…Chrome extension isn’t available on mobile devices nor tablets (that I can tell).

Looks like a more practical and usable version of Viki’s Learning mode. (Of which I find often does not work)


It is desktop/laptop browser-based chrome extension, but I’m finding it useful, so I can watch Taiwanese and mainland Chinese dramas on Netflix (and no, I’m not ashamed of my addiction to 流星花园, or at least, I’m not entirely ashamed… :smiley:). There are side-by-side subtitles (or one or other language hidden), a transcript down the side of the screen, the ability to pause between subtitles, the ability to save words and phrases, and so on. So, as Apomixis says, pretty much a more usable version of Viki, which I used to use.


Thank you @Apomixis and @WillBuckingham!

Never heard of Viki either, but excited to try the chrome extension for Netflix. Thanks!

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I wanted to reply, but after seeing the numer 56.000 my brain melted.


Just wanted to re-up this topic with a language resource I had never fully exploited until recently: The New York Times. Specifically the Chinese language edition, that you can find at https://cn.nytimes.com/.

Now I love several aspects of this: it’s free, the articles come in three formats (English edition, Chinese edition, side by side English and Chinese), I can read about issues/topics I care about and have that content side by side with Chinese.

If it’s an otherwise stressful day, I can focus on the English and glance at the translation. If I’m motivated, I can read the article in full and pick up terms and expressions of interest. This is particularly easy with a browser extension like Pera-Pera Chinese Dictionary that can highlight specific terms I want to look at.

Anyway, that’s all, just wanted to share!


This is amazing — thank you so much for sharing! Most articles are way over my Chinese reading level, but what a fantastic resource.

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Thanks for sharing

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Thanks so much!

I see both Chinese and English editions, and option for both simplified and traditional, but I don’t see an option for side by side English-Chinese.

Are you using a mobile browser or desktop?

Edit - ah never mind, I see the 雙語 / 双语 option shows up after you click on an article in the Chinese edition.

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Skritter folks: is there a way to copy Chinese words from websites directly into skritter lists?!? From within the app? Connected to the app?

That would be an amazing feature if so.

…edit. I found the reader for segmenting text on the Legacy website “my words” section but that seems to be all it does: provide both the simplified and traditional and the pinyin and tones.

There doesn’t seem to be a way to create a list from the copied text…

Something faster than copy and paste in your scritter tab? Like a right click/add?

Yes - I’ve heard of Chinese apps (now forgotten) where, if the app is open while using a browser, clicking on a word within a browser tab automatically adds the word to a word list within the Chinese app.

If Skritter could do that, it would be awesome!

Especially from a mobile browser to mobile Skritter.