Memrise Review (2022) – Learn Chinese Through Flashcards

Memrise Review 2022 – For Chinese Learners

Memrise-review

Today, we are going to review another language learning app: Memrise.

This easy to use app has some great features with a focus on making learning fun.

In their own words Memrise is “the opposite of textbook learning: it’s enjoyable and effective.” Now, let’s see just how true that is with our Memrise review.

Memrise Review – Introduction

Memrise Review – Official Memrise Chinese Program

Memrise Review – User Created Content

Memrise Review – Conclusion

Memrise Review – Where to Download

Memrise Review – Introduction

Memrise is a flashcard based learning app which uses spaced repetition to help learners retain and memorise information.

Memrise-review1

There are two key differences between Memrise and other language learning apps:

  • The first is that Memrise offers user generated content. This can be super useful as it gives users access to some unique content not found elsewhere.
  • The other difference is that Memrise isn’t only limited to language learning, courses on a wide range of other subjects are also available. However, today we’re just going to focus on their language courses.

Currently there are 22 official Memrise language programs available, with simplified Chinese being one of them.

Along with these there is tonnes of user created courses. To see these you need to access them through the website as they don’t appear on the app.

All of the language programs are free, as is the app to download. But, as is usually the case, there is a premium subscription available for purchase giving access to additional features.

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To start with, let’s take a look at the official Memrise Chinese program.

Memrise Review – Official Memrise Chinese Program

Memrise-review-2

The official Memrise language programs are split into numbered courses ranging from 1 to 7.

Levels 1 -3 are equivalent to A1 level and 4 – 7 are equivalent to A2 level.

At the moment there are only courses 1 -3 available for Chinese which will bring you up to about HSK 1. If you’re not a beginner don’t worry!

There is still plenty of user generated content for higher levels of Chinese.

Learn Page

Within each course you will see a ‘Learn’ page where the content is split into different levels which you progress through.

The levels are split into ‘Words and Phrases‘ and ‘Grammar’.

Memrise-review-14

Each ‘Words and Phrases’ level will begin with new vocab or phrase flashcards.

These flashcards include a video of a native speaker saying the word or phrase. This is a super useful feature and one that isn’t often seen in other apps.

The flashcards also include a translation, the pinyin and character and also a literal translation.

It’s great to see flashcards with so much information on them.

Users are then tested on the flashcards by being asked to recognise the pinyin, meaning in English and audio.

Your progress with learning the word or phrase is tracked by the flower that is “growing” in the top right corner.

Once you’ve answered enough questions correctly the flower goes into full bloom and the word is marked as learnt.

There are some additional ‘Words and Phrases Characters’ levels which focus on learning the characters rather than just the pinyin. These flashcards will start with a video showing the character being written along with the audio.

The ‘Grammar’ levels will start by asking you to ‘identify the pattern’. The grammar patterns are then explained and you are tested on them.

Review Page

In addition to the ‘Learn’ page, by pressing the three dots in the bottom left corner you can also see the ‘Review’ section.

For the free version of Memrise you can select either ‘Speed Review’ or ‘Classic Review’. ‘Both of these test you on words that have been marked as learnt, you will prompted to review these based on space repetition.

Once the words have been reviewed enough times they will change from ‘words learned’ to ‘words mastered’.

Memrise-review-11

The ‘Classic Review’ tests you on the words in a similar way to when you first learnt them.

The ‘Speed Review’ tests you on words in a timed environment, giving you three lives to battle against the clock and identify the correct answers.

For paid subscribers the ‘Review’ section also includes:

  • ‘Difficult Words’ – tests you on words the app has identified as difficult for you.
  • ‘Pronunciation’ – you listen to recording of a word then record your pronunciation which is then marked.
  • ‘Learn with Locals’ – collection of simple exercises with videos of native speakers saying words or phrases.
  • ‘Listening Skills’ – tests you on different audio recordings, either selecting the correct audio or typing the pinyin.

There are three different subscriptions available: monthly, annual or lifetime.

Personally, I have been using the free app for years and have not felt particularly limited by not having the extra paid services.

Another good feature of the app is that you can pick a daily goal of how many words or phrases you want to learn a day. If you haven’t completed your goal for the day you’ll then be sent reminders to keep you motivated.

Pros

  • Having the videos of native speakers saying the words or phrases is really useful. There are a variety of different people used so you get to hear a range of different accents and voices.
  • The literal translation on the flashcards is helpful as it shows how Chinese words and phrases are broken down.
  • The videos of the characters being drawn are a good tool for helping to memorise the character.

Cons

  • The characters you learn are different to the words you’ve learnt, personally I would like to learn the characters to match the words I’ve already learnt.
  • The grammar sections use example words you haven’t learnt yet. Although the English is provided, it can be a bit confusing, especially for complete beginners.
  • There are only three Chinese courses, so this is only a useful program for beginners.
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Memrise Review – User Created Content

Along with the official Chinese program on Memrise there is also masses of user created content.

To access this content you need to go onto the the Memrise website, as these can’t be accessed through the app.

However, once you’ve started a course on the website it will then also appear on the app, so you can continue learning from the app if preferred.

To find the user made content for Chinese you just need to click on the Chinese category from the courses homepage.

Within this page you can then search for specific courses or vocabulary lists.

One of the most useful courses you can find here is HSK vocabulary. Being user created the quality can vary so some vocabulary lists are definitely better than others.

A big plus though, is that you can find more specific vocab lists than on your normal HSK flashcard learning app. For example you could select a course where you are only tested on HSK 1 audio.

review-memrise

Another great find here is the textbook specific vocabulary lists.

Many users have created courses for some of the most popular Chinese textbooks.

This is a great way to cement the learning you’ve done in class, or learn the vocab for your lessons ahead of time.

Aside from these there are a variety of other unique courses available, such as a course that focuses on Chinese restaurant menus.

Courses are structured the same as the offical Memrise programs with a ‘Learn Page’ and ‘Review Page’. The content of the flashcards depends on the course, however one feature you won’t find here is the videos of the native Mandarin speakers.

Pros

  • Huge variety of content, there are loads of different courses and vocabulary lists available.
  • Unique content, you can find vocabulary lists such as textbook specific vocab which you can’t find on other language apps.

Cons

  • As the content is user generated, the quality of the content can vary, so some courses are much better than others.

Memrise Review – Conclusion

The best part of Memrise is definitely the review feature which uses space repetition. I myself have used Memrise to learn HSK vocabulary and have found this to be a really effective way to memorise words and phrases.

Memrise-speed-review

The ‘Speed Review’ is a really fun feature that makes revising words much more enjoyable.

The user created content also offers some very unique courses and vocab lists which can’t be found elsewhere. 90% of the content on Memrise is free so it’s a good choice for those on a budget.

The official Memrise Chinese program has some great aspects, such as the embedded videos of native speakers saying words and phrases in the flashcards.

However, I find the course structure to be a little less clear than other similar language learning apps.

Overall, I think that Memrise is a one of the best apps for vocab learning, especially if you’re looking for unique vocabulary lists. But as a language learning app, with only three Chinese courses available, its usefulness is quite limited and another language learning app may be a better alternative.

Memrise Score 7/10

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Memrise Review – Where to Download

Memrise can be found on Google Play and on the Apple Store.

You can also go their website, remember you need to use their website to be able to view user created content.

Want us to review your favourite APP? Let us know which one in the comments below.

See our FULL list of websites to learn Chinese.

Memrise Review – FAQ’s

Is Memrise free?

Yes, Memrise is free to download and use. There are some additional paid for features, but 90% of Memrise’s content is free.

Is Memrise good for learning Chinese?

The official Memrise Chinese Program definitely has some useful features for learning Chinese. However, the structure is less clear than other similar learning apps.

Memrise is better used as an app to support your Chinese learning and to help learn vocabulary.

Where can I download Memrise?

Memrise can be downloaded from either Google Play or from the Apple Store.

Where to find more apps to learn Chinese?

We have a blog full of app reviews from our team members, so you should definitely check it out here.

If you are learning Korean you can check our list of best apps to learn Korean, and we did exactly the same for the Vietnamese language.

Good luck!

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  • LTL Avatar Irene Magnosi
    Irene Magnosi , Student Advisor

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