How do u organize your Chinese character flashcards?

I’ve started printing out Chinese characters and making flashcards for the new ones I learn in my book. (I’m using the Far East Book) I’m up to a couple hundred, and I’m trying to figure out how to organize them. Right now, I’ve got them in different envelopes with categories like “measure words” “nouns” “stative verbs/ADJ,” but I’m seeing that maybe that isn’t the best system, as some characters could go into two categories, and then it’s difficult for me to manipulate the characters together to form words and sentences.

Anybody got a good organization system going for Chinese character flashcards?


I have an idea: Six principles of Chinese character design[Six graphs].

But I think you should find your classmate or a person who knows Mandarin to play flashcards regularly.

I had a pretty good system until my 1500 or so cards got eaten by termites :cry:

I bought those packs of cards like blank namecards formt eh stationery stores. Wrote the character on one side and the meaning and pinyin on the other. Whenever I got a new bunch of flashcardfs, I’d go throught them (I’d write them, but if you are going for recognition, reading them is fine). After learning them, I’d put them aside for a day or two, then test myself on them. Those that I got wrong, I;d have to come back to the next day. Those that I got right I’d put aside for 2 days. One card at the top of ecah pack would have the date I’d have to come back to them. Cards from the 2 day pack that I got right would go up to 4 days, then a week, then 2 weeks, a month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, a year. If I got them wrong, they go all the way back down. Sounds complicated, but it also makes it kind of fun and challenging. Bascially means you don’t have to keep redoing allt he ones you know very well already. Onyl problem was neglecting them for too long andleaving them in a cupboard to get eaten by termites for a few months when we moved house.


How about this? Use BPMF or pinyin to do it, just like we did the old way in a library.

Follow the order presented in William McNaughton’s book “Reading & Writing Chinese”. You can find it at the Lucky Bookstore at Shida, and I’ve seen the latest edition at the Eslite bookstore across from NTU in Gongguan. This is the best book, IMO, for a beginner to start learning Chinese characters, and the order they are presented in is good. Another good thing is it also shows the simplified variant so you can learn to at least recognized the simplified characters as you’re learning to write the traditional forms. Also, try to memorize the numbers for the radicals (

I’ve never felt the need to use flashcards for anything before, but now Chinese is giving me pause. I do need a system to review my characters (first test back from Winter Break was terrible!).

From what I’ve seen my Japanese-learning friend doing, don’t organize by envelopes. Use color instead. If all measures are salmon-colored, verbs green, nouns blue, whatever, the color could help you associate. Then you’d also be freed to put them in folders based on whether you know them or not. Also using a white/chalkboard for quick practice when going through cards.

Also heard that writing on cards across the width is better (i.e. oriented as a normal sheet of paper). This supposedly makes it easier to flip cards while standing, so you can review whenever you have to wait in lines or whatever. Would also maybe help with arranging “the characters together to form words and sentences” that you mentioned.

Good luck!

I have some flashcards organized into different catergories. Food, Beverages, clothing, verbs, adjectives and transportation. It helps me, maybe can help you too.

I have two sets of flashcards for Chinese - one with just the characters, and one with words.
The character flashcards are just for memorizing the pronunciation and basic meaning. You can’t really organize this group by part of speech, because one character can usually be many parts of speech.
Organizing by speech parts for the word flashcards is possible. I don’t think it’s the best way, though. I organize my flashcards by chapter in my textbook.

I just think it will be too difficult for a foreigner to learn in this way.

My suggestion is to listen first , get the pinyi then type characters via pinyin.

That makes more sense.

You can write in pen easily after you have typed a lot.

I think writing our your own flashcards is a great way to squeeze more Chinese learning into the day. When I’m waiting on line or have free time, I’ll pull out a bunch and see if I remember them. I’m not systematic enough to have daily, weekly piles, but I do try to write down charaters I don’t recognize but should. I read the local newspapers daily. Flash cards seem to be another way to cram more charaters in and make them stick.

Organize it by the number of strokes.

I have to say I have a very low unfavorable opionion of this.

When I learn English , a lot of my classmates use flashcards to remember English words.They can remember for five minutes or an hour, but two days later, everything is gone.

But I learn English words by reading a lot of interesting English simple readers. The more I had read, the more I wanted to read.