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Frequently Asked Questions

Learning Chinese

Classes & curriculum

Computer & website related

Learning Chinese

Can I really learn Chinese?

Yes, without a doubt you can. Like mastering anything, having an open mind and a positive attitude is most of the challenge of learning Chinese.

Despite impressions to the contrary, Chinese is not very difficult to learn. People that don't consider themselves good with languages are often amazed to discover how much Chinese they are able to learn. This is because all it takes to learn Chinese is practice, and the more you practice, the closer to fluency you are.

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How will Wudaokou teach me Chinese?

Wudaokou will teach you to speak Chinese with lots of practice.

You are first encouraged to self-study our library of online lessons. These lessons place you in the sights and sounds of real Beijing locations, and you explore your environment and learn Chinese like you were there. Lessons are based on carefully-designed dialogues that feature native Beijing voices and systematically introduce and review key skills. You're able to progress through the dialogues at your own pace, switching back and forth between sentence mode and vocabulary mode. Each lesson also comes with a companion text that explains all main points in plain English.

Then, when you want to practice your Chinese, just sign up for a live 1-on-1 class with your tutor in Beijing. Your tutor is a friend, guide and teacher all in one, and you can take 1-on-1 classes with your tutor as often as you want.

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1-on-1 live classes with a tutor in Beijing, China. Really?

Absolutely, this is part of what makes Wudaokou so special. There's no better way to understand a language and culture than to interact with its native speakers, so we provide students with tutors that are actually in Beijing.

Our tutor selection process is very selective (less than 15% are selected), and one of the most important traits we look for in a tutor is passion for learning and sharing.

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Is there anything I should know beforehand?

Not at all. Just make sure your internet is connected, your audio works on Skype, and your notebook is out before you -- and the rest is just having fun. We carefully introduce everything you need to know to begin speaking Chinese, so you can take it as it comes.

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What's it like learning on Skype?

As the most advanced 1-on-1 live video technology in the world, the clarity of Skype will pleasantly surprise you. 200 million people worldwide use Skype for business and pleasure, a testament to its superb voice and video quality and its ease of use.

You may download Skype® here.

Classes & curriculum

How is the curriculum organized? What is your methodology?

You progress to fluency through 9 levels of difficulty, as articulated by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. They are:

Beginner level

  1. Beginner-low
  2. Beginner-mid
  3. Beginner-high

Intermediate level

  1. Intermediate-low
  2. Intermediate-mid
  3. Intermediate-high

Advanced level

  1. Advanced-low
  2. Advanced-mid
  3. Advanced-high

Our methodology is based on what experts call natural sequence theory, which shows the best way to acquire a language is by a natural process of absorption. We immerse students in content that is natural and never forced, making the learning experience as comfortable and engaging as possible.

Have you studied Chinese before? Be sure to schedule your consultation and we'll help you evaluate where you should be in the curriculum.

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How will you help me stay on track?

We stay in constant touch with you. Not only will you receive regular progress updates, but each month you will get a free 1-on-1 consultation with a Wudaokou course counselor, where you'll get to discuss your progress and goals. All students also get unlimited basic learning support, which means that you can submit a question anytime and receive an answer by email.

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How do 1-on-1 class credits work?

1-on-1 class credits allow you to sign up for classes with your tutor in Beijing. Class credits are purchased in addition to one's subscription to our library of anytime online lessons.

Class credits are easy to use: sign up for one 1-on-1 class and spend one credit. Each class credit is worth 50 minutes of time, and class credits never expire -- so even if your subscription expires, your class credits will always be here waiting for you.

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How do I schedule a 1-on-1 live class?

Scheduling a 1-on-1 live class is as easy as yī èr sān -- or 1, 2, 3 in Chinese -- because that's how many clicks it takes to do so. Search for time slots by date or by tutor -- and dont worry, there's always lots of availability.

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What about the time difference?

No worries! We're up much of the night to accommodate all time zones in the continental United States -- and many others in Europe and Asia.

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How am I assigned a tutor? Do I get to pick my tutor?

Each time you sign up for a class, you get to pick your own tutor. This way you're in control of your learning experience.

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Will I always have the same tutor?

Sure, if you want to -- all you need to do is schedule class with the same tutor. But it's just as easy to switch to another tutor, if you want to.

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What if I need to cancel a tutor-led class?

If you need to cancel a 1-on-1 class, just inform us at tutors@wudaokou.com at least 36 hours in advance of the start of your class and you can make up the class anytime. A cancellation within 36 hours cannot be made up.

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How does the 30-day risk-free guarantee work?

We're so sure you'll love learning with us that if you're not satisfied with your purchase, you're entitled to a refund within the first 30 days after your purchase. If you cancel a package that included headsets and/or a Wudaokou Notebook, the refund total will subtract the cost of the goods (and collected sales tax for Connecticut residents). One month subscriptions, however, are not entitled to a refund.

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Do you have a policy on classroom conduct?

Yes. Wudaokou seeks to create the best learning experience possible for our students, and for this reason we have a policy on classroom conduct. However, we require nothing unusual during class: just a positive attitude.

View the Wudaokou Classroom Policy Notice

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Computer & website related

What are the system requirements?

The system requirements to learn with us are:

  • Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 3.0, Safari 3 or greater
  • Adobe Flash Player version 10 or later
  • High-quality USB headset microphone
  • High-speed Internet connection (at least 768 Kbps up and down)
  • 1280 x 800 display resolution
  • Skype® for 1-on-1 video classes (download here)
  • Recommended: notebook
  • Recommended: web camera

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What is the best browser to use for these lessons?

You're encouraged to use Firefox, Safari, or Chrome.

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What are the best screen settings to view the site?

The best screen settings are 1280x800.

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How do I type Chinese on my computer?

For Mac users:

  1. Open System Preferences. It should be in your Application Dock
  2. If not, you can click the Blue Apple in the top left corner of the screen, then select System Preferences
  3. From there look at the top row of icons titled Personal and click the International flag
  4. Language will be highlighted in blue. Click Input Menu
  5. Scroll down and click Simplified Chinese
  6. Check ITABC and leave the rest blank

You will notice a tiny American flag appear in the top right, next to the time. Click this to switch between English and Chinese.

For PC users, select:

  1. Start Menu
  2. Settings
  3. Control Panel
  4. Regional and Language Options
  5. Keyboards and Languages
  6. Change keyboards
  7. Add
  8. Chinese (Simplified, PRC)
  9. Chinese Simplified QuanPin

All typing is done in pinyin. PC users may be interested to learn of Google pinyin input, which is perhaps the most convenient Chinese input method.

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