Learn Chinese in 90 Days! Mandarin Challenge

It begins! I have made my challenge to  speak Chinese in 90 Days completely public so that means I am now accountable to you guys reading my blog, my wife, family, friends and anyone else I see  regularly.

I now have to do it and achieve my goal putting everything  I can into it or be known as the guy that half-assed his challenge and is still rubbish at speaking!

So for the next 90 days, officially from 1st July I will be putting as much time into study while still continuing to work and get on with my normal life as I possibly can.

Why 90 Days

A few years ago I saw  Benny the founder of Fluent In 3 Months do his Mandarin challenge.

He would travel to a country and learn the language. That’s what he did again and again to multiple countries with awesome results.

Watching him on the Mandarin challenge go from nothing to full conversations and then traveling through China using his new Mandarin skills was SUPER inspiring for me.

Honestly, I can’t tell you how many times I watched his videos!

So why 90 days? Blame Benny, he started it 🙂  Seeing what he has achieved made me always want to do a focused 90 days of my own.

I have tried before. But its easy to quit when no one knows about it! But not this time. Now it’s public.

Defining Success

Am I a beginner? No.  But I am nowhere near where I want to be.

My goal for this challenge is to massively increase vocab and have the ability to respond when others lead the conversation.

Directing a conversation means I can set the parameters of what subjects we discuss.

This can give others a false impression of my speaking ability and also if I am not careful I start to believe my own hype!

The minute someone changes the subject to something I am not expecting then I am in trouble. When this happens I look like a 1-month beginner!

My Goals

1 – Increase vocabulary

2 – Be able to understand and follow discussions when I am not in control.

3 – Improve expression so that higher ideas can be expressed to my language partners so that I no longer sound like a kindergarten student speaking the language.

4 – Survive 10 Minute unscripted conversations with random strangers maintaining interactivity and understanding throughout.

5 – Most importantly. To have confidence that while my speaking will always need improvement, it is actually for from being bad.

How Will I Measure Improvement?

I will be speaking with a variety of  volunteers before my official start and then again 90 days later at the end of the challenge.

They will be scoring me in different areas and being brutally honest. Scoring my speaking, understanding and whether it passed as a natural conversation or not.


There will be no official tests on this challenge, other than daily life.

Those who have been kind enough to do a video with me at the beginning of the 90 days will be doing another video with me at the end of the 90 days.

They will then be able to give their brutal opinion on my improvement!

This is far more relevant for me in gauging my level.


There will be some updates throughout the 90 days but I am saving the best till last.

All the video will be cut into a nice mini documentary so the whole journey can be seen without the need to watch 10 videos of me butchering a language.

Subscribe to the site, my Facebook or my  Youtube channel to get notified about this challenge and any other exciting updates I have planned. (I have a lot planned for 2016!)


I am not going to give too much away here as most of it will be in the videos.

But the rough schedule is looking something like this:

6.00AM – Get up. Coffee.

6.15AM – Morning Meditation. Coffee.

7.00AM – Physical Training. Coffee.

8.00AM – Breakfast and Preparation for the day. Coffee.

9.00AM – 1 day from Glossika Fluency 1,2,3 and 1 day from Glossika Daily Life. Coffee.

11.00 – Get on with work/Language Exchange/ChinesePod. Coffee.

4.00PM – 1 day from Glossika Fluency 1,2,3 and 1 day from Glossika Daily Life. Coffee.

6.00PM – Get on with work/Language Exchange/ChinesePod. Coffee.

11.00PM – Evening Meditation. Coffee.

12.00AM – Bed.

Lets Begin

Now it’s time to get started.

My main resource above all else for actual practice of what I know will be live face to face language exchange, closely followed by language exchange via an app.

As without this real interaction it’s all just nice theory!

My main resource for learning new material will be Glossika Mass Sentence Method & Spaced Repetition.

I will also be using ChinesePod to get variety and more details of different scenarios as well as using their ‘Say It Right’ course to improve my accent. Right now my Chinese is all spoken with a London accent!


These resources are what I believe will give me those most benefit for the short time I have. I am sure I will change the resources a little over the challenge but this is what I am starting with.

Glossika Mandarin Fluency 1-3

Gossika Mandarin Daily Life


Fluent In 3 Months

Hello Talk – Free App

HiNative Free – App

Coffee – Iced

Cake – Chocolate

About the author

Dawn Of Truth

Dawn Of Truth

Dawn Of Truth - Lives in South East Asia and spends his time reading, writing & studying in order to reach the goal of Financial, Physical & Mental Freedom.

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  • Too much coffee during the day. And Benny was far away from fluency after 3 Months. Maybe A1-A1 (CEFR). But not B2 and higher. And C1-C2 would be fluency. Alle the best for your studies,

    • Hi thanks for your comment. Too much coffee you say? I don’t understand? 🙂 Never too much.
      Yeah I am not sure where Benny was in his speaking but he seemed to do pretty well in China and it got some new experiences he wouldn’t otherwise have had.

      I know Benny gets strong reactions in Language community, but for me I have found his challenges inspiring to get out there and give it a go.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and please come back in 90 days to see where I get to.

  • Having watched Benny’s video, he does stress communication. It requires a lot of concentration and guessing on the part of the listener. Benny gets a lot of allowances as a ‘friendly foreigner’. He is good as a motivator but I am interested in outcomes for day to day living, His level is still very basic. To my mind, what’s the point of speaking a word so badly that a listener needs 5minutes to work it out? The reactions would not be so strong if he had written ‘communicate in 90 days’. But then he wouldn’t generate income.

    Since you yourself live in an immersive environment, The challenge should be to be better than Benny 🙂 Don’t let yourself have such a low target!

    • Hello and thanks visiting.
      It’s true some of Benny early videos are pretty painful and I agree if it was ‘communicate to a degree in 90 days’ it would have saved him a lot of hassle and abuse, but it did also get everyone talking about the challenge. So maybe a clever move on his part.

      So far I think I am on target to be as good or better, but frankly living here as you mention I really should be better. Filming more video next week which we be the 2nd update video, so let me know when its out if you think I have improved. 🙂

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