Measure words are still quite a weak point in my learning I have to say. I am about to wrap up HSK 3, and while I am quite confident about vocabulary and grammar points, measure words are still a bit of a headache, especially spontaneous use of them without a lot of thinking.
When you learn German, you have to learn the definite article (der/die/das) right along with the noun. So when going through your vocab list you learn tree as “der Baum”, flower as “die Blume”, because you really need the gender. You need the gender even when you are not using the definite article, because otherwise you don’t know whether it is “ein schöner Blume” or “eine schöne Blume” (a beautiful flower).
In Chinese, you only need to know the measure word when you actually want to use it. You may, however, have memorized a noun through sentences that don’t need a measure word. For example, a text book sentence could be “开车去超市”, drive to the supermarket by car. You can easily access the words for car or supermarket in your memory. But if all of a sudden you need a measure word for them, like in: “I bought a new car” or “The are two supermarkets in the neighborhood”, you start thinking: What kind of word is it, what could the appropriate measure word be?
I think it would be wise to learn the measure words along with the nouns at all times. So a vocabulary list could have entries like “a car 一辆车”, “a supermarket 一家超市”, “a chopstick 一根筷子”, “a pair of chopsticks 一双筷子”. It would be a longer vocabulary list. But maybe those measure words would be more accessible to you when speaking if you had learned them that way.
As I have not done this from the beginning I am thinking of creating a list of all nouns from HSK 1-3 with measure words attached. Or maybe such a list already exists somewhere? I would appreciate any advice.