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Months 7 to 12 – Study Practical Audio-Visual Chinese Book 3

Updated on June 22, 2015

If you are an intermediate Chinese student looking for the next step in your Mandarin Chinese language course, the following post explains how you can go from intermediate to advanced learner and be confident using Chinese in any situation in just over 6 months. That’s right, in a mere 28 weeks you can add thousands of new words and phrases to your already vast collection of Mandarin vocabulary and sentences, plus be able to read and understand Chinese handwriting. In this post, I aim to show you how all this can be achieved through the use of a Mandarin Chinese textbook called Practical Audio-Visual Chinese (實用視聽華語) book 3. For those who are following the Speak Mandarin Chinese in 18 Months course, you will have already completed PAVC textbooks 1 and 2, and are therefore capable of comfortably moving up to this more demanding level.

Practical Audio-Visual Chinese

Practical Audio-Visual Chinese, aka PAVC, released by the National Taiwan Normal University is taught in many language schools and universities within Taiwan and sold around the world. Its popularity comes from its method of using everyday situations to teach Chinese grammar, vocabulary, sentence patterns, and how to write traditional Chinese characters.

The Differences between Book 3 and Books 1 & 2

- There are only a few English translations given in the book.

- The books follow a story rather than completely random conversations. This helps greatly when trying to visualize the story later during study or listening to the CD.

- There are many more new words to learn at the beginning of each chapter.

- Includes handwritten articles to develop reading skills.

- The speakers in the included audio CD converse in a quicker, more natural way.

- The student workbook contains more and harder exercises.

Learning Chinese Study Plan

PAVC book 3 contains 14 lessons. You should aim to complete one lesson every two weeks, allowing you to complete all lessons in just over 6 months. Each lesson can take between three to four hours to complete, which you can split over two lessons either by yourself or with a Chinese tutor and then complete the homework given in the workbooks. To improve recall of what you have learned in each lesson, make time each day to read through the conversations and articles, as well as going over the vocabulary and sentence patterns several times. No matter whether you plan on learning Chinese on your own or with a tutor, the following methods will ensure you get the best from your studies with PAVC.

Mandarin Chinese Lesson 1

In a similar manner to studying books 1 and 2, you should attempt to memorize the new vocabulary before beginning a new lesson. This will help to read the conversation at the start. Remember there is no Pinyin or English to help, although lessons 1 to 7 in book 3 provide handy tone marks above each character. Read the complete story out loud. If there are too many characters that you can’t remember then run through the vocabulary one more time and try to read the story again. Now try to translate the conversation into English and let your teacher, tutor, Taiwanese friend, etc. check your translation. The pieces of text conveniently typed in bold is a preview of the new grammar that you will learn later on in the lesson.

How to Remember Chinese Characters

In book 3, the number of new words to learn in each lesson can be between 60 and 90, however only around 30 of those will be in the conversation and the others are connected to each new word in some way. Now go through the vocabulary one by one and read the given sentence for each out loud. After reading, go ahead and try to translate the sentences into English and again have the translations checked. Translating the sentences helps with recall later and makes sure that you understand each sentence fully.

Practice Using Chinese Sentence Patterns

Next comes the grammar, but there is no need to panic. The grammar in book 3 is considered to be practice of grammar and concepts that you have already studied previously. However, you are required to come up with an average of 5 new sentences for every new grammar rule. Each lesson has between 8 and 10 new grammar rules and they all begin with the example given in the conversation that you have already read at the start. This is followed by an example along with its English translation.

Go through the exercise and come up with examples using the new grammar. This time, you should probably have already thought about the English sentence in your head before you made up a new sentence. Therefore, you can just make a note of it after you write the Chinese one.

Develop Chinese Handwriting Skills

The end of each lesson will provide some classroom activities, but if you are learning on your own or with a tutor then you can skip these. The sentences you record later will be more than enough practice. Therefore, you can move on to reading the final article. The articles that end each chapter usually contain new vocabulary that you will learn in future chapters. Don’t be too concerned about this as you will come to them later. Just read the article as best you can and look up any words you don’t know. The articles are mostly hand-written and will help develop your reading and writing skills in real-world situations. As always, translate the sentence and have it checked.

Included Audio CD

The audio CD that accompanies PAVC book 3 is incredibly useful. It contains the conversations and vocabulary sentences from every lesson. What’s more the speakers use Chinese at a much more natural pace, giving you hours of real-world practice. The CD can be listened to on its own or while reading the dialogues in the book.

Recording Your Voice

In addition to using the included audio CD, record yourself speaking Chinese sentences after every lesson. Recording your own voice not only gives you more practice at speaking Chinese and helps to improve recall for all that you have learned. Don’t worry about speaking too slowly or making mistakes. When you get better, you can always go back and rerecord the lessons at a more fluent speed if necessary. This is a fantastic way to measure your progress and gives you that extra bit of motivation needed to continue your studies.

Chinese Sentence List

PAVC book 3 does not provide any English translations. Therefore, you should follow the advice given in the learning vocabulary and grammar sections above and keep a note of all Chinese sentences and their corresponding English translations. Your aim here is to improve your speaking and listening skills, so it’s not necessary to record vocabulary or grammar rules. With your sentence list at hand, grab your voice recorder or use a smartphone app and begin recording.

Recall Chinese Easily

You should listen and practice with your new recording within two days of making the audio file. This gives your brain the best chance of making lasting connections for easy recall later. It will also better prepare you for the next lesson.

Summary of 6 Months Learning Intermediate Chinese

At the end of these 28 weeks studying PAVC book 3, you will have committed tons of new words and phrases for use in your daily communication. What’s more, the habit of daily practice is helping to embed in your mind all that you learn, which allows you to speak naturally with no mental blocks. This 12 month landmark indicates that you are now ready to move onto the next stage of the challenging 18 month course.

18 Month Chinese Study Plan & Timescales

Months 1 to 6
PAVC books 1 & 2
1 lesson per week
Months 7 to 12
PAVC book 3
1 lesson per fortnight
Months 13 to 18
8000 sentences book
45 sentences per day


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