What's my level with LTL? (not new to mandarin, but new to LTL)

I’ve been self studying as well as taking a few classes via iTalki for the last 1.5years and am wondering where I’ll likely fit on the scale of “what classes to take at LTL.” I can pretty confidently pass any HSK 1 and 2 exam that I find online (if that means much). My speaking ability is lacking a bit since it’s hard to be self taught and speak well (aka, not much interaction with others). I’m currently planning to test out some HSK2 classes, what do you all think?

(much of this question isn’t just my mandarin ability, but more about the methods of teaching here and how well it integrates with self learners)


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I would go for Chapter one of HSK 2. Flexi Classes involve a lot of speaking (which sounds like what you’re need) and listening so you will find them a little harder than reading and writing tests you take online.
However, the best way is to just try it out and then accordingly adjust. You can change levels and chapters at any time. Also your do not need to study the topics in exact order, pick classes that are available at the times that you find convenient.

You might find that you are struggling with tones and might want to go further down to make sure you really work on the tones and get them right before challenging yourself with other parts of the language (you need to be able to say tones correctly - without tones speaking mandarin is impossible; however if you don’t hear them that we’ll that’s ok you can usually guess from context).

Or you find the speaking quite easy, then go and skip up to chapter 3 or 4 and see how that feels.

At least that’s what I would say. What were other students experiences whi started around that level? Anything to share?

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that’s fantastic to hear, I definitely need to work on my speaking

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I have the same problem. I tried HSK2 but I found it quite stressful because I can’t even introduce myself properly.


I think this is quite common with students, or at least I’ve found this over the years.

Passing an exam is very different to day to day speaking. In your case @Ekaterina-Mandarin-HSK_2 I would go back to basics with HSK1, build your confidence and you’ll make some sound progress.

I remember thinking to myself “I am HSK5, no issues”… yet having left China and seen my level drop, I had to swallow my pride and take some HSK 3 classes after making basic errors.

After a few of these I realised how much this benefited me and it helped me fast-track to getting back to where I believed I was.

If you need to practice introductions I would go to the HSK 1 classes, try some of these, get comfortable and when you start feeling it becoming to easy skip to HSK2.

As @Andreas-Mandarin-HSK_6 said, you can hop between levels easily until you find your place.

I often went from HSK3 > HSK4+, HSK3+, HSK4 to find where I was best suited.

Hope this helps.


That’s some great suggestions from max.
Flexi Classes are all about speaking practice so it’s quite different to studying with an App or so. While some app or HSK test might show you are at a quite high level, speaking wise people who don’t live in China often are actually quite a bit below that.
Flexi Classes are the perfect way to solve that problem, but the right thing is to start at the level of your speaking ability, not reading/writing or even HSK exam (which does not test speaking).
And nothing wrong with going down and practicing the basics again. It is much more efficient to buil a solid foundation than keep building castles on quick sand.

Not sure if there is a 成语 for that, but there must be :smiley:

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Can we maybe use 空中楼阁 “pavilion in the air” to describe unrealistic plans (or castles on quick sand)? Also, 因材施教 is to “teach students according to their aptitude”.

Everybody, please help us out and throw in your favorite 成语 that might be applicable for learning/building solid foundation :slight_smile:

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My teacher lately said that my knowledge is 扎实。zha1shi, solid. :sunglasses:
In hackchinese I found the expression: 扎实推进, solid progress

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Agree very much - I was very sure I was mid/end HSK4 level, but then, started on LTL and dropped back down to HSK3+ because I felt everyone was above me. I soon caught up and now am at HSK 5 (about a year later)

Sometimes re-solidifying your base knowledge often helps improve you much more than stretching your level too far and not being able to keep up!

[apologies I have no chengyus to contribute :smile_cat:]


just took the first class of HSK2 and while I have a vocabulary past “HSK1” there were still plenty of new words and sentences I’ve never encountered. Plus, this forced my speaking and recall skills that were super atrophied from a lack of practice. While it felt like I was in deep water, it was refreshing. Now just to find some times when the classes are larger. Curious to see how a group responds to these classes (I was the only one on today probably due to timezone)


:wink: LTL has much much more vocabulary. But as every lesson works more or less as a separate unit this is no big problem.
Every lesson can be a different adventure. Teachers can be quite different which is a big advantage in my opinion. Sometimes you feel proud, sometimes you think you understand nothing. Be prepared for that and simply go on. :upside_down_face: :wink:
Most of the lessons you will be alone at the moment. Or deliberately choose a lesson with less than 5 seats left (5 seats=no student). Lessons that have a student already also show a teacher.
Other students: We are all very, very different. There is no common LTL-level. Of course the more lessons you have taken the better you know how to get well prepared. Simply concentrate on your own needs.
My best personal tip: Talk to yourself daily. Use only the words and grammar you know already. (Which you are allowed to look up and check of course.)


I second the part to move on when you don’t like a particular teacher as there’s so many other good ones. A couple of times ,when I was new to Flexi, I had a teacher who’s speaking speed was so fast, I called her “Machine Gun Laoshi”… great for higher levels but nowhere near where I am. :joy: Try to avoid her now. :smiley:

Also… I passed HSK 3 ages ago but am still taking the HSK 3 classes as there are always new things to learn and it helps me not get too frustrated when everybody else is so much further than I am. Mostly it’s about speaking practice for me as others said…


Haha, I love “Machine Gun Laoshi”. What a great word :grinning:

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