"Your software is by far the greatest Chinese learning tool I've seen, and I am so grateful to you for making available at a reasonable price to the general public."
—Peter Hammond

"I've been using Clavis Sinica for almost a year and it has really helped improve my reading and vocabulary. Just the discipline of reading the China News Digest summaries for 15-20 minutes a day has taken my Chinese to the next level. Thanks for making this available."

"Thanks for a great program; Clavis Sinica is really helping me keep my language skills up-to-date. I really appreciate the fact that it runs relatively painlessly on my Mac."

"I have been using the program for about 5 months now and I have moved from knowing a little over 2,000 characters to consistently scoring 3,000 or more on your on-line character test. More importantly I have finally moved from reading intermediate texts to on-line news I find on the WWW. Your program has turned out to be an amazing aid. I am now a huge fan."
—Brent Nelson

More User Comments



Chinese Character Test Applet

The Chinese Character Test uses a statistical algorithm to help you estimate the number of characters you already know, making it easy to track your progress in learning the language. After you've taken the test, you can also compare your score to the average scores for each level of study by submitting your score using the form at the bottom of this page. You'll find complete details about the test and how to interpret your score on the Character Test Information page.

If you'd prefer to use it offline, the Chinese Character Test applet is included in Version 5.0 of Clavis Sinica. You can also purchase it along with several other popular tools as a separate downloadable package on our ordering page, or you can even get it for free.

New:The Chinese Character Test is now available as a smartphone app for iPhone and Android.


Improving Your Score

The best way to improve your score and your Chinese reading skills is to practice reading Chinese texts on a regular basis, make lists of unfamiliar words and characters, and drill yourself constantly on the new vocabulary you want to learn. While there is no way to avoid a certain amount of rote memorization in this process, the Clavis Sinica software can make it much more efficient and enjoyable. Here are some of the ways Clavis Sinica can help you learn characters more effectively:

  • The Clavis text reader window allows you to display any digitized Chinese text and to access, with a click of the mouse, the pinyin and definition of any unfamiliar character and of the word in which it is used. No more time wasted looking up dozens of characters in a Chinese dictionary to read a single story or web page!
  • For any unfamiliar character, you can display a separate character information window that shows how the character is divided into its radical and phonetic parts, which can be a big help in remembering the structure of the character. You can also display lists of other characters using the same radical or phonetic, so you can learn each new character in relation to other similar characters that you already know.
  • For each character, you can also display a list of compound words and phrases using that character. This allows you to learn new characters in the context of words or phrases you may already know.
  • The program will pronounce any character for you, helping you to reinforce the connection between the character and its pinyin and tone.
  • The program allows you to create customized vocabulary lists of new words and characters that you've learned. You can save these lists, drill yourself on them using the flashcards tool, or print them out for later study and drilling.
  • Clavis Sinica now includes a built-in flashcard tool that allows you to drill yourself on groups of radicals, characters, or compounds that you want to learn. You can use the flashcard sets provided with the program, or create your own sets based on unfamiliar characters and words in any Chinese text.
  • The Vocabulary Inventory Manager, introduced in Version 5.0, keeps track of the characters you've studied and generates customized daily review tests to help you master them.

You can find complete lists of the top 300 and next 800 most frequently used characters on the Chinese Text Sampler website. You can print out these lists from your web browser or download the file in order to study the meaning, structure, and usage of the characters using Clavis Sinica. The Sampler website also contains dozens of other Chinese texts you can use for reading practice, whatever your skill level. All of them can be viewed directly on your web browser or downloaded for closer study with Clavis Sinica.

For a complete list of resources available on this site to help you learn Chinese characters, click here.