Ultimate Guide to Chinese 👩🏼‍💻 Best Way to Learn Mandarin Online

Our Students Guide to the Best Chinese Learning Resources
(2023 Update)

So what is the best way to learn Mandarin Online…?

What’s the truth?

There are just so many resources for learning Chinese online, where do you even begin to look without wasting your time?

That exact question inspired this blog and thanks to our wonderful students… we have some great resources to share with you to save you all the time of searching for what’s hot and what’s not!

We’ve also prepared a couple of useful videos thanks to our staff to give you the best tips and tricks to help get fluent in Chinese, fast!

Best Way to Learn Mandarin Online #1 || Chinese Dictionaries

Best Way to Learn Mandarin Online #2 || Chinese Characters

Best Way to Learn Mandarin Online #3 || Chinese Grammar

Best Way to Learn Mandarin Online #4 || Apps and Websites

Best Way to Learn Mandarin Online #5 || Other Useful Resources

Best Way to Learn Mandarin Online #6 || … and finally!

Check out our guide with Max who tells us the best methods and resources for learning Mandarin Online

Two Must-Have Chinese Dictionaries

Here are two excellent dictionary resources that are absolutely essential and two of the best ways to learn Mandarin Online:

Best Way to Learn Mandarin Online : Pleco - Learn Chinese
Pleco – Learn Chinese

MDBG.net (with a very clear sequence of the strokes of each character and quizzes to test your vocab and review your mistakes afterwards) and the possibility to look for words with jokers, if you want to look for a character at a given place in a word.

Pleco – anyone who’s anyone in China uses Pleco (with flashcards on your smartphone and a lot of audio files, even without subscription)!

FYI – we did a two-part review on Pleco in more detail if you care to take a look.

Writing Chinese Characters

在- Number 8 on the most common Chinese character list
The 8th most common Chinese character

Check out these great resources to start writing Chinese characters

Resource for Chinese Grammar

Excellent website here that has a bit of everything > All Set Learning

Chinese Grammar Bank > Flexi Classes

Learn Chinese Apps and Websites

We already have a load of Learn Chinese App Reviews but here is a quick-fire list of our favourites!

Hello Chinese (Website / Our Review)

The best way to step in, with pictures and pronunciation correction.

Chinese Skill (Website / Our Review)

One of our favourite apps, especially now that it is entirely free, with speech recognition, games, HSK vocabulary and a lot of basic sentences and dialogues

Memrise (Website / Our Review)

Available on the net and on smartphones, to learn words and sentences. 3 beginner levels of Chinese and then move on to HSK levels.

Du Chinese (Website / Our Review)

App on the smartphone to read texts according to the HSK levels, one free text every day at different levels with the possibility to read the texts from the last two weeks without subscription.

Lingodeer (Website / Our Review)

Available on Android and IOS, this is a complete app, focusing on all aspect of the language. Learn new vocabulary, grammar, how to build sentences and master the tones. Check out their sister app focused on learning with games, Lingodeer+

Super Chinese (Website / Our Review)

Learn Chinese with an Artificial Intelligence feature that you can speak to with the help of exercises using speech recognition.

Mondly (Website / Our Review)

A very popular choice amongst language learners, and voted “Best New App” by Apple. Mondly will help you learn new vocabulary, as well as teach you phrase structures. Its chat bot will also help you improve your speaking skills.

HSK Online (Website / Our Review)

App with HSK lists per level with audio, example sentences, English translations and tests.

Quizlet (Website / Our Review)

You can search the vocab of any Chinese book, like the New Practical Chinese Reader.

HSK Locker (Website)

You can only move on to more elaborate vocab if you have put the words in your ‘locker’. HSK vocab in context for the smartphone, only 3 first levels available without subscription.

Skritter (Website / Our Review)

To learn how to write the characters, first week is free, try to download as many characters as you can because you can review them for free once the free subscription is over.

Chairmans Bao (Website / Our Review)

A lot of different texts according to HSK level. One free text per day.

Discover how our student Emma passed the HSK 6 in just 14 months!

Other Useful Links for Learning Mandarin Online

And now for the best of the rest for Learning Mandarin Online.

ChineseClass101 (Website / Our Review)

Make sure you register the very first time you go on it, then you get access to loads of lessons for free and you can download them all. This exists also for other languages.

Yabla (Website)

Videos with subtitles in the language and in English, where you can click on the words to have a definition, a few videos for free. This exists also for other languages.

ChinesePod (Website)

Audio lessons with explanations and downloadable dialogues and vocab lists. Some lessons are for free.

Chinese Tools (Website)

Digital Dialects (Website)

BBC Languages (Website)

One Final Resource – LTL

Before we round up it’s worth also mentioning our extensive Zoom classes which is a great way for students to:

  • Get the ball rolling with Chinese
  • Pick up some Chinese before coming to China
  • Continue studying after China

We offer group courses, individual courses, HSK courses, tailored courses, kids courses… so something for everyone!

Want to study Mandarin with us 24/7? Discover LTL Flexi Classes

Anymore resources? Comment below and let us know!

Best Way to Learn Mandarin Online || FAQs

Can you really learn Mandarin Online?

Absolutely, of course there are limitations, but with a thought out plan and a regular schedule, there are definitely ways to win at online learning.

Immerse yourself Online watching Chinese TV and Movies.

Get your technical side right.

Have a set schedule of online Chinese classes.

Utilise apps.

Avoid distractions around you.

Treat learning online as if you were doing it in person (appearance, set-up etc)

What is the best Chinese dictionary?

Pleco – anyone who’s anyone in China uses Pleco (with flashcards on your smartphone and a lot of audio files, even without subscription)!

Can I learn Chinese by watching TV?

Absolutely. It’s a great way to learn Chinese. Here are 5 great TV shows to learn Chinese.

Can I learn Chinese by watching movies?

Yes of course, but choose your movie wisely. It is almost counter productive if you are a beginner and you get into a movie where you understand only 5-10% of it.

Here is a great list of movies in Chinese for all levels.

Can I take the HSK Exam Online?

Yes the HSK exam can be taken online or in person. We actually recommend taking the online version as you do not have to write the Chinese characters.

You can practice for the HSK Exam with the HSK Online app.

What app can I use to practice my Chinese reading?

Du Chinese and The Chairmans Bao are the two best apps for improving your Chinese reading skills.

Want more from LTL?

If you wish to hear more from LTL Language School why not join our mailing list.

We give plenty of handy information on learning Chinese, useful apps to learn the language and everything going on at our LTL schools!

Sign up below and become part of our ever growing community!

BONUS | Want to study the local Taiwanese dialect known as Hokkien? We provide Hokkien classes in person and online.


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  1. Important Things You Must Know About Taiwanese Mandarin | LTL Taiwan

    […] Ultimate Guide to Chinese – Best Way to Learn Mandarin Online […]

  2. Thx for sharing. Great I planned to go China, but suspended by the coronavirus, so can only learn Chinese at home and took the live online lesson

    It seems good currently. Do you think this method of learning is realistic?

  3. Very well written, love your blogs LTL!

    1. Max Hobbs

      Thanks Sean!

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