Mandarin Blueprint Success Story - Episode 162

162. “I Passed!” A Mandarin Blueprint Success Story

Podcast Duration: 00:44:03

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The Mandarin Blueprint Podcast focuses primarily on The Mandarin Blueprint Method online curriculum. Creators Luke Neale & Phil Crimmins answer questions and comments, discuss topics related to China and Mandarin learning, and have special guests.

162. "I Passed!" A Mandarin Blueprint Success Story

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6:47 Comments & Emails

Lynn Ford by Community


I am so stupid happy right now I cant even think! I took my HSK3 exam after I finished the foundation course because I wanted to see where I was at, if what I really learned was applicable. I am happy I did it. I have been checking everyday for over two weeks on test results and I didn’t just do ok, I beat every practice test score I ever got. I did waayyyyyyy better than I thought I would. I was confident I was gonna pass it, but not so confident I would pass by very much. Well… I did. I passed by alot alot, like alot-alot ! I am like crying like the big baby I am because this just means so so much to me and its all Mandarin Blueprint’s fault! LOL!

A couple of things… I finished the foundation course in 3 1/2 months. Once I finished I wanted to test my skill level and took a practice HSK3 exam. I scored at 41%. Yeah. My listening was horrible as was my grammar for sentence structure. So I took the next month and a half to just practice for the actual exam. I didn’t move forward into the intermediate course, but I did go through and jumped around all the levels to learn all characters and vocab I saw was on the test that I hadn’t learned yet. (side note, very funny, after I made all of those vocab cards and learned the vocab, Luke & Phil released the vocab boosters which had all of the cards I had just made lol, after I tested and resumed the course a couple of weeks ago I saw all of the cards they added, I was like, well.. if figures hahaha)

Anyways, I know some people think that taking the exam at HSK3  really doesn’t do much for you. But for me, it was a real world practical proof that I was actually learning something. That this is real, I am learning and understanding Mandarin, which is vital to my future and dreams. Being able to have a gauge on my progress that was official, is important to my psyche. I mean, before I started the PM course I didn’t even know what pinyin was. After 3 1/2 months of learning and 1 1/2 months of reviewing = 5 months of Chinese, I just passed an official exam that most websites say you should pass after 1.5-2years of study. Just amazing. Also it showed me where I was lacking (listening and grammar) and helped me to change and recalibrate how I was reviewing my anki cards with the audio. (by reading along the first time the audio plays and then closing eyes and listening the second time it plays, helped LOADS in listening comprehension)  I think when I took my first practice exam the listening portion was like at 20% and overall was 41% with reading always at the highest. My listening comprehension test results is now 85% which is pretty damn awesome if I say so myself. 

Like I could do a whole break down on everything, I have so much to say about the exam and just this course and how amazing all of what you guys share and tips and everything. But I will wait another time to do that, or if anyone has questions hit me up!

This post is just a very long thank you, to Luke and Phil, and everyone else that has been on this journey too, who has shared their tips and tricks, their scenes and props. I don’t engage in the community alot, only because your girl is hella busy, BUT, know that you guys help more than you know, there are many times your sharing has helped me so much. Sorry, I am all gushy, it’s just cause I am so happy!!!

Luke and Phil, you guys are so wonderful and amazing and I cant wait to slam through this intermediate course. You have literally change my life. I am super thankful for you! I will never be able to repay all the effort and time you have invested into this to help us to learn Mandarin. I know, I know, its a business, but because of your passion for teaching and learning, your respect of the culture, oh just so much, all reasons why I picked MB to start my learning journey on. I can tell its more than just a paycheck, is what I am trying to say, and that makes all of the difference. I hope I am able to do even my highest learning with MB (levels 7-9; one day my homies!) I also plan on killing the game and testing HSK6 at the end of March/beginning of April for my one year anniversary of learning Mandarin.

Just….thank you! Thanks some more, and what’s this? Another side of thank you!!!! You guys rock! 


Simon Berube by Email

Hey Guys,Figured I could provide ‘early’ feedback as requested. Long story short, you guys clearly put a remarkable amount of effort on this and it shows. I struggled to learn Chinese for a while mainly due to the lack of being able to find a good direction on where to go. I learned English as a second language in my teenage years by reading, watching TV and generally using the internet so I am a firm believer in the “consume content” approach to learning. I always sort of thought Chinese was going to be difficult since the character barrier to learning made that path too much of a pain.

In my ‘journey’ I really stuck with Skritter, which I practice daily alongside your course and Anki since I find recall/muscle memory from writing actively in the app works very well for me. On its own it’s kind of useless but in combination with your stuff I find it very effective (at least for now, things may change later?). I wasn’t too sold on the mnemonic method at first, to be honest, this felt a bit marketting-gimick-like but I do seriously see a massive impact, specifically with tones. In short, I agree that it really does work, but I admit to having some reticence at first, which I imagine you have heard before as well.

Finally, not to bore you to death on details, the only ‘feedback’ I have other than so far everything actually WORKS very well is that I really had to go through the motions with an open mind to get there. Looking at the website/profile and everything else first I had a bit of a ‘this is marketing heavy and empty promises’ feel to it. I don’t have a solution to this, and I imagine you guys have to filter above the noise to get attention and clients and this is a super competitive market but maybe there’s a two-tone approach here that appeals to people that are more guarded to heavy marketing like myself without sabotaging the other demographics on which this is effective.

Either way, great work, this works well and is well done. Not that I have much to offer but if you need some reviews/reach other than the google one I’ve done already, i’d be happy to oblige. I think your effort and approach deserves some success and I hope you guys get it.


Gavia Arctica on Vocab Unlocked from 伤

伤心 sounds like “heartbroken”, (romantically or otherwise) is that a good translation or is it maybe a bit to strong for the Chinese word? Yeah, I know I need more context to get the feel of it, just wondering…. can´t wait to get to the point where I can read more and have access to more context. 🙂


Doug Casey on Word Structure Part 8 of 8 – Affixes 附加式

For whatever reason, I found this particular word structure lesson super interesting. I realize that this is just meant to be a taste of what is to come rather than content to try to thoroughly digest now, but it feels a little like getting colors to play with after previously only having a basic pencil.

I was already looking forward to moving into Phase 3 of the course, and this lesson has made me excited to dive in. Placing this lesson at this point in the course was a good decision, in my opinion.


T C on It’s a Word! 干

Can I have multiple actors for the same sound?

I have a colleague whose last name is Gan, but I’m also a fan of Breaking Bad and Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) is a memorable character. Does it make sense to use them in different situations?


Anne Giles ? on Make a Movie 受

Hi, Phil. Great story! Is this what the woman says?

Wǒ shòu bùliǎole.

Would you be open to reviewing when 了 is pronounced le and liǎo? If so, thanks!


Hussein Abdulqadr 侯赛因 on Level 23 Complete

Hey Luke & Phill,

Can I learn all characters up to the end of this phase, then come back to Vocab in context, later on, return to the conversations, Opinions & Stories section? Is it recommended?



Mirko R on 每天 in Context

Would it be possibele to just say 记住!每天都过来 and does this change the meaning on the sentence?


Gavia Arctica on Vocab Unlocked from 爆


I feel like I´m “missing” a 了 here, doesn´t a war breaking out mean a major change in the state of things in the world?


Kolia on 中国人 in Context

不都是。sounds very strange to me, I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone saying it. Is that a thing? Or grammatically correct but not very used?


MIKE ROTCHFORD on Vocab Unlocked from 隔


38:19 Vocab Living Links

This section covers “Living Link” mnemonic techniques to remember Chinese words of two or more characters. Here’s a video explaining the theory behind it.


Annette Bicknell on Vocab Unlocked from 回: 回来 – 回去

Sign of the times when searching for an image with “return to school cartoon” and seeing cartoon images of kids in full PPE going back to school.


Annette Bicknell on Vocab Unlocked from 因: 因为

George Mallory: “Because it’s there” in answer to why climb mountains (in this case Mt. Everest).


Kolia on Vocab Unlocked from 住: 记住

Memory palace


Ija on Vocab Unlocked from 隔

Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2020 – 隔离


Tina Clark on Vocab Unlocked from 没: 没什么 – 没关系 – 从来没


I’m going with the Black Knight from Monty Python. “Tis but a scratch!”


Annette Bicknell on Vocab Unlocked from 钟: 点钟

A picture of a clocks showing the different times of world cities


Lynn Ford on Vocab Unlocked from 微

I was looking at 微软 and as always, I try to figure out what it means before I scroll down, and my first thought was miniature soft? What in the world could that mean? Oh…. its one of those that kinda dont go together until I scrolled down and saw the meaning is Microsoft Corporation. Sometimes I wonder how I got this far on in life by myself smh lol.

26 October, 2021