How to prioritize flashcards after HSK 4?

Hi everyone! This is my first post.

I am almost done memorizing all the words in HSK 1-4, and I am learning a lot from graded readers and tutoring sessions. I am wondering if anyone can offer advice on how to prioritize flashcards going forward. If I dump HSK5 into my flashcard list, it will more than double the number of cards I already have. I would prefer to start with words that are more commonly used, or for there to be some logic as to which cards come up first. Even in HSK4 I noticed a number of cards like "fill a job position" that were more geared toward business Chinese, and fewer cards for things like everyday household objects.

Does anyone have advice? I could also use a wordlist from a textbook to manually add cards, I suppose, but that seems slow and cumbersome. Thank you!
Hi baymoh,

welcome to the forums! I can relate to your question; as the words you study become more specialized, I think knowing the words' context becomes more and more important. A possible solution could be to study new HSK 5 and 6 words that occur in a particular text you'd like to read. The text will provide a thematic focus, and you will study only those words which are at your current difficulty level.

I do this using a simple Python program which collects all N-grams up to a length of four in your text and applies a HSK 5 and 6 filter to the list.

I attach an example I made with a text I've just started to read. The "LXR-NK Beginning HSK 5-6 Voc.txt" file contains the HSK 5 and 6 vocabulary one should study first, and the "LXR-NK Beginning.txt" file contains the text one can read afterwards using Pleco's Document Reader.




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I have never studied a particular list of vocabulary, everything I have learned was from daily life, TV and books, added manually to place.
So I would suggest you could try something corresponding to your level, maybe some TV series or some books?
The good thing with TV series is that the pace is not as fast as a movie. The dialogues are very easy to get in general, and they make sure to repeat at least 3 times the important stuff so you're never really lost.
Hello François,

it's good to read your valuable advice. Of course, many roads lead to Rome.

If you're at the end of HSK level 4, I feel you're perhaps not quite ready yet to understand enough and decide for yourself which words you should be studying from the real-world material. I think it's all too easy to get caught up in too specialized words that don't really fit in your vocabulary yet. Applying the HSK-Python technique to texts, the Python script and the HSK list do all the filtering for you.

Using that, a HSK 4 learner could focus on HSK 5 and 6 words first and look up the more difficult ones using Pleco's Pop-up definition. There may just be the problem of repetitions after reading different texts. But that can be avoided by skipping duplicates when importing the word list.

It's a really simple script, and not very compactly programmed, but I'm attaching it here anyway.




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Thank you both so much for your help. Shun is right, I'm not ready yet to understand which words from the real world are common, and my listening comprehension isn't strong enough to follow TV shows, at least that I've found. It would be easier if I were in China, of course!

That script is so cool, Shun - thank you. A goal is to read the abridged versions of the four classic novels on Pleco/sinolingua and I think I will use one of those as an input file.