Pleco Review – The Flashcards
ICYMI – It’s worth reading part I of our Pleco review if you’ve not read it yet!
Summary: Indispensable learning tool
App content: Dictionaries – Flashcards
Ease of Use 95% Fun Factor N/A – has no Fun Factor, more a usefulness factor
Value for Money 100% Overall 100%
Available on: Android, iOS, but not Mac and Windows PCs
Google Play: 4.6 stars, 22,118 reviews
Apple Store: 4.5 stars, 4,098 reviews
Cost: Varies – from free up – Basic Bundle (US $29.99) – Professional Bundle (US $79.99) with addons starting at US $4.99
So How Are The Pleco Flashcards?
This is Part 2 of my review of Pleco, the very well known dictionary and flashcards app for students of all levels of Chinese. In this part we will be looking at the flashcards and how you can use them.
As I said with the dictionary this is not a manual but more of how to use Pleco flashcards to study with, as Pleco has a very comprehensive manual and lots of help available on their forum.
The first thing you need to do is create a flashcard list. I like to create a separate list/category for each of my lessons so that I don’t get a huge list of characters to go through. As each list or category as Pleco calls it are saved, I can at any time go back and review/redo those lessons characters.
To add a character or multiple characters as for a word made up of 2 or 3 characters is easy. Open the dictionary and enter the pinyin, write it, speak it, or use the radical and find the character in the dictionary. Once you have found the character or characters you need, you simply add it to your list using the + button in the tool bar. If you have already added this to another category the + will have a dotted box around it. If it has a solid box round it, it means you have already added it to this category. You can add it to as many categories as you like, it just informs you so you can decide if you want add it again. You can specify which category to add it to in the settings and you can give them names that will help you remember what they are.
Building Up Your Portfolio
Once you have built up a category you can start studying, go to New Test and set your parameters, these are fully explained in the manual, but to start with I left things on the default settings until I was more familiar with how it works. In Basic settings you can choose the Card Category, so I use the lesson I am working on, then you can select the Test Type, the first time I go through the list I will use Review Only, then you can select from Self-graded, Multiple-choice, Fill-in-the-Blanks, Stroke Order and Tone practice. I work my way through the different test as I work through the lesson. The tests are self explanatory but it is worth noting you can practice writing characters if you pick Fill-in-the-Blanks and prompt for character and show Pronunciation and Meaning. This brings us to the next setting.
“Prompt for” lets you decide between Character and Pronunciation.
“Show” lets you choose between Pronunciation or Character, Definition and Audio in various combinations depending on what you picked to “Prompt for”.
In Test settings are several things you can change but as I said until you are familiar with Pleco I would leave the defaults, but you may want to change the audio settings which are in Test Setting.
Once you have a category you can Begin Test Session. As you go through the test if your answer is correct you will get three boxes on the right hand side (you can move this to the left if you wish) Box 六 – remembered perfectly, Box 五 – remembered and Box 四 – barely remembered. You choose the most appropriate one.
If you are incorrect you will get three boxes numbered 一 don’t know, 二 – forgotten and 三 almost remembered.
If you are only Reviewing you don’t have these boxes and are prompted to move to next card.
You can use SRS (spaced repetition system) which is widely used to ensure you learn effectively and efficiently. You can also choose between Simple or Weighted profiles. These profiles are configurable to suit your learning requirements,
When you reach the end of the test you will be re-tested on the ones you got wrong until you get them right. You will also be given your score for the test at the end.
The various ways to configure Pleco flash cards make it a very useful tool for students of all levels; you have the choice of Simplified or Traditional and with tones or without for example.
Pleco flashcards offer a comprehensive system for studying Chinese characters, it can seem complicated at first but really it is very easy to use. Skimming through the manual briefly reading the instructions will help give you a feel for how it all works. As I said the Pleco forum is very helpful, use the FAQs, read the forum or join and ask your own questions.
I hope these reviews have been helpful in encouraging you to use the excellent tool that Pleco is. If you’ve enjoyed them, I’d recommend taking a look at our many Chinese learning app reviews and information on online Chinese classes.
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