nHow to Memorise Chinese Idioms for Exams in Singapore? -

How to Memorise Chinese Idioms for Exams in Singapore?

Chinese idioms, or (chengyu), can be a proverb, a saying that is widely used, an idiomatic expression, or a collection of words that together communicate a symbolic meaning. Ancient myths, tales, and historical truths were the primary sources of Chinese Idioms.

Nearly all the students find Chinese idioms to be the most challenging (whether beginners or high-level learners). Even if you have spent ten years living in China, you could still struggle to comprehend and employ Chinese idioms. However, one of the most effective ways to master Chinese exams is by using idioms.

Undeniably, the Chinese idiom is a key component of learning Chinese and is frequently used in spoken and written Chinese. You will be able to communicate more naturally and gain a deeper understanding of Chinese culture if you have a solid command of Chinese idioms.

Learn with a sentence

The most significant error that most students make when memorizing Chinese idioms for the exam in Singapore is treating the Chinese idioms as ordinary words. Instead, learn each Chinese idiom in its proper context. It doesn’t mean that students should just include an example sentence, but they should learn the example sentence and the Chinese idioms together. The sentence should be an example of how the Chinese idiom is frequently employed.

In fact, if students know the one statement that describes a specific Chinese idiom, they’ve covered most of its uses! In other words, instead of drawing large circles and then gradually contracting them, students should start with a tiny circle and then progressively enlarge it if they find more examples of how that Chinese idiom is employed.

Read stories

Another way to memorize Chinese idioms for exams in Singapore is by reading some Chinese idiom storybooks with pictures. For example, reading comics or children’s stories can activate students’ brains and let them understand Chinese idioms easily instead of just memorizing them. Other than story books, there are animations to learn Chinese idioms too.

One of the most well-known Chinese proverbs, for instance, “熟能生巧” which means Practice makes perfect, comes from the story of 卖油翁 written by 欧阳修 in the song dynasty. 

Another interesting Chinese idiom example is 井底之蛙. The meaning of this Chinese idiom, which is “frog in the bottom of a well,” is as follows:

A long time ago, a frog resided in the bottom of a well. He played in the water every day, happy that he was in charge of the well. And he was happy, believing himself to be extremely fortunate to live in the most excellent location in the world. But one day, a sea turtle poked over the top of the well and questioned the frog about his experience with the ocean. Since the frog had never seen the sea, he enquired about its size compared to his well. The turtle was then asked to enter the well.

The turtle tried to get down. Yet he was far too big. He, therefore, informed the frog about the huge size of the sea from the well’s top. The frog immediately realized how big the world outside his well must be. He felt guilty for seldom venturing outside to explore. This idiom is used to criticize someone who has a closed mind or a limited outlook on life and believes their small environment is the best conceivable place since they have never gone outside to explore. 

In a nutshell, Chinese idioms are an intriguing topic that we may spend years learning. Nevertheless, Chinese idioms are regarded as high-level when learning the Chinese language. Try to identify these Chinese idioms in context when you read or listen to Chinese. The most significant approach to learning and retaining new words is to immerse oneself in the language.

Le Xue Education is a professional Chinese education institution in Singapore that specializes in delivering students in Singapore a Chinese Enrichment Programme and helping students to score high in Singapore exams. Here at Le Xue Education, we will employ our unique method, which is 3R learning techniques, to help our students to learn and master Chinese idioms efficiently.


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