I'm not sure if this is the best place to ask this (but I don't know where else).

Anyway, I'm taking the AP Chinese this year, and my other grades are pretty okay except for the listening. I think a part of that may be because I have some degrees of hearing loss and another part is that (even the teacher admitted it) the audio sound is really small. But I really want to improve my listening.

Is there any advice as to what I should do?

  • Pikachu!!! Welcome to Chinese Language SE.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 18:56

7 Answers 7



  • Since the question is in English, would you mind translating your answer?
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 19:24

Listen to those material that you have written in your hand. First, you read it and understand its meaning. And then listen to it(from a video, mp3, etc) to see how those words/characters/sentences are pronounced in practice.

Keep changing topics you listen to and practicing, and you would improve definitely.

If you could read Chinese very well, you could see those TV Shows with Chinese subtitles as well.

Hope this could help you a bit.


From my experience, you can start with watching videos you are interested in. Bilibili

  • Could you please expand and clarify your answer a bit? What is the relevance of the Bilibili link?
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 9:00
  • @ChristopheStrobbe Bilibili is just a website like Youtube, you might be able to find videos you like.
    – Bubblethan
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 9:23
  • That is too vague. The answer (not your comments) should explain the relevance of Bilibili and how to find videos there that are relevant to the question.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 9:36
  • @ChristopheStrobbe sorry for that, I should have been more specific.
    – Bubblethan
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 13:27

Language learning requires a lot of listening input , usually you can look at the programs of china central television, the host pronunciation is very standard. 语言的学习需要大量的听力输入,平时你可以看看中国中央电视台的节目,主持人发音都很标准。


I think there are several ways to improve listening skills. I used them when I studied for my TOFEL test and got a decent score. These are listed from the easiest way to the hardest.

Note: TL;DR. Method II and III will be the most helpful and effective ones to improve your listening before your test is due.

Note is added after I finished answering lol.

I. Watching/listening to Chinese programs/shows FROM CCTV

As many answers have mentioned, listening to Chinese programs will definitely help with your listening by letting you get used to the Chinese way of speaking.

I recommend you find programs from CCTV with bilingual subtitles because those are guaranteed to have more correct/clear content than programs from other channels or online. They should also be more similar to your test material than other programs(since they use standard Mandarin.)

If you pick an interesting program, you won't get bored.

II. Dictation

While preparing for a listening test, I find the most effective way is to do dictation, meaning that you listen to an audio and type/write down what you hear sentence by sentence, then compare what you have to what is actually being said.

Since you are actively participating in hearing(you have to focus or you won't be able to write down the sentence), when you see the correct transcript of a sentence, you will immediately know what you got wrong, and why you got that wrong.

You mentioned that you have some hearing loss and the audio sound is small, so I think this method will help you the most. It focuses more on pronunciation not comprehension. This takes a very long time, especially for the first few tries, but it pays well. (It took me an hour to do my first two-minute audio:p)

III. Converse with real people

This is listed as the third just because I assume it's hard to find a native speaker to talk with. I know you are only looking for improving your listening not speaking, but the merit of talking to a real person is you can ask questions any time. This you cannot get from any other methods.

Conversation basically is the way to learn a language. Go for it.

IV. Watch Shows

This one is put as the last because I think most Chinese shows that are meant for entertainment either don't have good bilingual translations or don't have translations at all. Also most of them use too much slang and is edited so that sometimes it's hard to hear even for a native speaker.

Also, shows will sure grab your attention and you won't be focusing on the language. (But you can do this after your test if you still want to improve. Shows are fun!)


You may choose easy topics (greetings, supermarket) first, and with the development of your vocabulary, you can begin to listen to longer and harder materials.

Words with the same sound can be told apart in the environment. So it is important to learn more words and be more sensitive to tones. For example, it is difficult to tell the following words apart when they do not appear in a meaningful sentence.

实施, 试试, 事实, 时事, 史诗, 实时

You need to be familiar with their usages, like "实施计划, 试试这个办法吧, 时事新闻, 壮丽的史诗".

  • Do listening practice every day for at least 30 minutes.

  • Also try to touch those topics that you are interested in.

  • In order to improve my English listening ability, I listen to podcasts and Youtube channels like CNN 10. But Chinese TV shows always use some local idioms with mysterious meaning, because we are not native speaker. So don't force yourself to understand every single words but just listen.

I hope this helps you; this also the way I used to improve my English listening:-)

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