You've just signed up to WordSwing, now what?
The fastest way to get started practicing Chinese is to dive in and try and an activity.
Some of the activities will work well right off the bat, without providing the learning machine any information about your knowledge of Chinese. These activities include:
Preamble / Follow-up: You're given a sentence in English that provides some situational context for what you're about to read. This is the preamble. Then you can read the follow-up in Chinese. This is a sentence that you might expect to hear in that situation. The idea is the preamble will prime your expectation of what you might hear, and because you need to work to figure out what the sentence means, and make some educated guesses, you will be more likely to learn from the process, rather simply reading a provided translation. You can also learn more about any given character or word by [Drilling down](https://wordswing.com/help/drill_down). Many of the follow-ups have audio recordings, so you can also practice your listening comprehension.
Asking Directions: Ever felt like you needed to ask for directions but had trouble understanding the reply? This activity will give you ample practice parsing and interpreting responses. Each step along your route, you will hear one set of instructions and need to make a choice about which way to turn. Think you can reach your destination? You can either listen to the audio or try reading each directional step.
Fill in the Missing Tones: The tone of a syllable is an essential distinguishing characteristics of a syllable. Need more practice challenging your ability to recognize spoken tones? In this activity you listen to sentences and fill in the missing tones. You can tune the difficulty of the sentence to however challenging you want to make it.
Other activities work best once the learning machine has had a chance to get a sense of which words you know and don't know. The learning machine will learn this in the ordinary course of using WordSwing. But you can effectively jump-start the process by using the rating tool to quickly rate a bunch of words, giving WordSwing an early glimpse of you language knowledge.
Once you have rated a bunch of words (maybe 30-40), you'll be ready to try out the activities for which exercise proposals are more closely based on your precise knowledge of Chinese. These include:
Character Combinations: Think you know characters well? Try recognizing, out of context, which two characters out of four can form a valid word. This activity forces you to reach back into your head and dig around for whether you've seen certain characters in combination.
Pronunciation Recall: A good test of whether you really recognize a word is whether you can write the pinyin given just the written Chinese. Practice this to your heart's content.
Character Similarity: Think you really know that character? It's one thing to recognize a character with a bunch of context. It's another thing entirely to see two visually similar characters and see if you can tell which is which. This activity will not only build your character knowledge, but it will help you build general pattern recognition skills that will improve your overall ability to quickly identify and remember characters.
Want step by step instructions?
You can select which activities you want to study by clicking on Select on the navigation menu:
You will get a bunch of activity choices:
Here you can toggle which activities will show up in your learn stream. A mixture of all the selected activities will be included. In the above screen shot, three activities highlighted in blue are enabled. To practice just one activity, double tap on that one and only it will be selected.
When you're ready to practice, hit the play button (or on the navigation bar):
In addition to the small activities that can be combined into your learn stream, there are also dedicated study activities:
These fit less well into the learn stream and so are available as independent activities.
Have fun practicing Chinese!