Chinese Fluency: How Long Does it Take with Mandarin Blueprint?

The Mandarin Blueprint Method
How Long Does it Take to Complete The Mandarin Blueprint Method?

Finishing The Mandarin Blueprint Method online video course (including all of the review materials) will have you comprehend 94% of Mandarin Chinese by frequency. That’s enough comprehension to communicate fluently in most conversational contexts. There are, of course, levels of Chinese fluency, but it’s fair to say you’ll be far beyond “basic fluency” upon completion of the course.

Therefore, asking the question “how long does it take to complete The Mandarin Blueprint Method” is similar to asking “How long does it take to reach fluency in Mandarin Chinese?” Before we give our answer, let’s talk about how long the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US Department of State estimates it takes to reach Mandarin fluency:

Mandarin Chinese is one of the hardest languages in the world

Source: Reddit

According to the FSI, Mandarin is among the most challenging languages to learn in the world, and the reason given is ‘the writing system.’ They conclude that reaching Chinese fluency and literacy takes 2200 hours. There is your framework for how long it should take. We’ll now show you how long it takes to complete The Mandarin Blueprint Method:

Reaching Chinese fluency with things to learn and review

“Things” to Learn (& Review) to reach Chinese Fluency

The above metrics show you precisely how many things you must learn and review to reach 94% comprehension by frequency. This includes characters, words, and grammar acquired through the comprehensible input of sentences and short stories.

You must both learn and review each one of these “things” to commit them to long-term memory, so the next question is: How long does it take to learn each thing?

As you can see, our underlying methodology saves learning time at each level of the language, from character components to grammar.

However, you can’t learn something once and never review it again in the beginner and intermediate stages. Advanced learners can (sometimes) get away with learning a new word and utilizing it so quickly that review is unnecessary, but for the first 94% of the language, you’re going to need practice reps to reach fluency and literacy.

SRS to the Rescue

Luckily, spaced repetition software (aka ‘smart flashcards’) have streamlined recalling what you’ve learned. Here’s how it shakes out in our course:

Reviewing  Time

We have several course members who were generous enough to share their flashcard statistics with us, which gives us a highly objective average for an individual flashcard review.

Chinese Character & Vocab Flashcards – Average 9.6 seconds per review.

Sentence Flashcards – Average 14.5 seconds per review. Sentence flashcards take longer because of the native audio recordings (both male and female) to listen to on each of the cards.

Each card must be reviewed at least 10 times for the SRS software to consider the item “mature,” i.e., committed to your long-term memory. Therefore the equation to determine review time is simple: [Number of cards] x [10 (or 15) seconds] x [10 reps].

Note that the “output” section is incumbent upon the individual learning to do. No online teacher can make you open your mouth and speak to another Mandarin Chinese speaker for 250 hours. Luckily, there is a range of services that offer tutoring or language exchanges.

It’s the Hours Not the Years

Reaching fluency with Mandarin Blueprint takes roughly 841 Hours

Of course, every metric discussed is an average within a distribution. As an individual, you will go faster or slower than the average on each of the parameters. It’s highly unlikely it will take you precisely 841 hours, but you’ll be somewhere in the ballpark.

Remember that 2200 hours recommended by the FSI to reach Chinese Fluency? It’s fair to say The Mandarin Blueprint Method leaves those estimates in the dust.

When will you be fluent chart of Mandarin Blueprint

Journey On To Chinese Fluency

Of course, these estimates are merely to give you a sense of how much responsibility you take on by committing to fluency in Mandarin Chinese, but the journey itself will change you. Whether you do it in 3 months or ten years, what matters is that you drink deep of that thrill that only education can provide. More important than anything else is consistency. Showing up is more than half the battle.