Skip to main content

How to self-study Mandarin with a focus on listening and speaking

Self-study Mandarin needs good learning materials, useful resources and strong self-determination. 

At MSL Master, we can provide the first two.

The expected result

MSL Master provides four Mandarin courses that students can use to teach themselves how to speak Mandarin.

No prior knowledge of Mandarin is required. No Chinese characters are taught. The learning medium is pinyin.

On completing these four courses, students will be able to navigate well in a Chinese speaking environment. They will be able to present their ideas, request information, order food in Chinese restaurants, carry on interesting conversations with Chinese people, and understand some Chinese culture.

Self-study courses

These four Mandarin audio courses are:

  1. Mandarin Express Intro Level A
  2. Mandarin Express Intro Level B
  3. Mandarin Express Basic Level A
  4. Mandarin Express Basic Level B

Each course includes a Student’s Book, a Work Book, audio lessons, review videos, and this self-study guide.

Student’s Books present targeted words, sentence structures, conversations or stories, while Work Books present exercises of various kinds for students to re-enforce their learning. 

Audio lessons teach meanings of words, clarify sentence structures and give instructions in English. As students progress, the use of English is gradually reduced.

Review videos are animated short videos that consist of only images and some background music. Students practice using Mandarin to describe what they see in each video and they are encouraged to improvise a little.

Students are recommended to follow the self-study routine (see below) to achieve the best learning result.

Links to each audio course and their sample audio lessons are included in the “More Information” section.

If you have any questions, want to check answers or get feedbacks, sign up for an online tutoring session.

Self-study routine

To achieve the expected learning result, the following self-study routine is recommended:

  1. Start an audio lesson;
  2. Listen, repeat, and talk back;
  3. Listen again when necessary;
  4. Use the Student’s Book as reference after listening to the audio lesson, and complete basic exercises provided in the book;
  5. Complete exercises of that lesson in the Work Book;
  6. Watch the review video of that lesson and practice speaking Mandarin;
  7. Start the next audio lesson.

In this self-study routine, listening is brought into the core of the learning process. Any new information is first encountered by ears. This allows students to get their pronunciations right from the start.

Student’s Books are used later to support the learning. 

Work Books provide adequate exercises, especially listening exercises, which consolidate students’ learning and improve their understanding.

Review videos add a final touch for students to recap key information they’ve learned.

Self-study tips

  1. Set a small goal and a date to achieve that goal;
  2. Allocate a fixed time, either daily or weekly, as your study sessions;
  3. Start from a place where you feel it’s a little difficult but not too difficult;
  4. At beginning of each self-study session, spend a few minutes on something easy as warmup;
  5. Try to use as many body parts as possible during your study, e.g. reading, speaking, listening, writing, colour coding, walking around, etc.;
  6. Use a couple of minutes to reflect before going to sleep;
  7. Achieve your small goal and celebrate!
  8. Go back to tip 1, until you finish the course.

More Information

Audio Course - Mandarin Express Intro Level A

The Mandarin Express Intro Level A audio course is the best way to start learning Mandarin, helping you focus on pronunciation at every lesson. 

It is designed for beginners who want to learn how to speak Mandarin fluently and have meaningful social interactions in life and at work.

Audio Course - Mandarin Express Intro Level B

The Mandarin Express Intro Level B audio course builds up from the previous one, giving you the ability to speak Mandarin in a wide social spectrum, and to speak Mandarin with confidence and clarity.

This audio course is designed for higher beginners who want to learn how to speak Mandarin fluently, and it brings listening into the core of their Chinese study.

Audio Course - Mandarin Express Basic Level A

The Mandarin Express Basic Level A audio course focuses on ten useful, important and relevant topics, and with sufficient listening exercises, brings your conversational ability to a new level.

In these easy-to-follow audio lessons, students learn about daily work schedule, music genres, shopping for bargains, and more.

Audio Course - Mandarin Express Basic Level B

The Mandarin Express Basic Level B audio course help you express your thoughts on brands, fitness, geography and more.

This audio course greatly reduces English explanations, consolidates students’ learnings, improves their overall comprehension, and prepares them for the next stage.

Teach yourself how to read and write Chinese? Check out our self-study guide: How to self-study Chinese characters and go beyond