Best Tips To Learn Chinese In 5 Minutes – How To Study Chinese When You Are Too Busy

We all have those days when we’re just too busy, with all our time and energy being spent on family, friends, or work. And if you study Chinese, days like that can be a problem!

You need to find or make the time when it comes to learning Chinese; there’s just no other way to improve. Even studying for 5 minutes can make a huge difference! How on earth can you study Chinese in only 5 minutes, I hear you ask.

Read on and find out! This post will show how and give you the best tips for studying Chinese in just 5-minute chunks!

4 Top tips to learn Chinese in 5 minutes  

Here are the 4 most effective ways for you to catch up with Chinese on your busy days. In only 5 minutes!

Using Spaced Repetition System 

The Spaced Repetition System (SRS) is an evidence-based learning tool using flashcards. You spread out information to small study sessions and review them systematically. Newly learned and more difficult flashcards appear more frequently than older and less difficult ones. This is to take advantage of the spacing effect – a psychological discovery proving spaced repetition enhances our retention and improves our long-term memory. 

Chinese is a character-based language, and you need to know at least 2000 – 3000 characters to read a newspaper. The SRS can help you learn Chinese characters more quickly and effectively, ensuring you remember them for a long time. 

It can be difficult to utilize this technique on your own but don’t worry. Pandanese can help you with that. Pandanese is an online language platform using top-notch memory aids like the SRS, mnemonics, and retrieval practice to help learners study better and quicker. Spending just 5 minutes on Pandanese will allow you to learn and review new Chinese characters and vocabularies efficiently, promising you greater results. 

Watch 5-minute tutorial clips on YouTube

Another effective way to maximize benefit in 5 minutes is to watch YouTube. There are plenty of excellent Chinese tutorial clips from native speakers that provide you with accurate and practical information. Here are some recommendations: 

5 Minute Chinese 

This channel has more than 300 5-minute clips, varying from beginner to intermediate levels. The teacher offers explanations in English so you won’t have any trouble understanding. 

5 minute Cantonese 

If you study Cantonese Chinese, this channel is your best option. Not only focused on grammar and vocabulary, but 5 minute Cantonese also gives a lot of information about Chinese culture.

See also: Chinese For Beginners: Should I Learn Mandarin Or Cantonese?


Though this channel has longer videos, there are 5-minute clips like the one in the image above. ShuoshuoChinese说说中文 provides great content, with a modern feel, making it fun and easy to learn Chinese. 

Focus on learning radicals 

When you don’t have much time, focusing on the cores of the language is always a great idea. In this case, it’s Chinese radicals. They are the raw building blocks that make up Chinese characters. Based on the radical in each character, you can have a pretty good guess of what it means and how it sounds. You can think of radicals as root words in English. By mastering the Chinese radicals, you will be able to accelerate your vocab learning – which is a bonus for busy people like you!   

On top of that, there are only 214 radicals in total, making it quite easy to divide them into multiple 5-minute sessions. 

Read more about radicals:

Read, read, and read more

Most people who have an extensive vocabulary usually read a lot. So, why not use your scarce time to read and build your vocabulary? 5 minutes can get you through a few pages of a novel, a piece of news, or a funny story in Chinese. 

It’s important to find suitable reading materials for your level. If it’s too difficult, you’d have to constantly look up words in the dictionary. Your 5 minutes then would not be enough and inevitably end up being wasted! 

So, find the right level of reading material for you!

Final thoughts 

Learning Chinese for 5 minutes every day won’t make you fluent in Chinese, but it will certainly help you practice and keep momentum, helping you improve. Especially on your busy days!

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