This Geniebook Chinese review is NOT a paid or sponsored review (nor is anything on my blog actually, for your peace of mind).
What is GenieBook?
GenieBook is a powerful online platform to help Primary 1 to Secondary 4 students, filled with live classes, quizzes, and tonnes of revision worksheets, generated by AI to tailor for your child. It’s a Singapore-based start-up, and aims to help children learn smarter and do better.
We started using Geniebook last year due to COVID (as did many other parents, I’m sure). Her school didn’t offer any live-lessons during the Covid shutdowns, and Geniebook had interactive classes daily, so it was a no-brainer for us to join to continue her learning. We do pay for it ourselves (it’s a lot of $$) and this review has no sponsorship, nor affiliation. In fact, I don’t even think anyone at Geniebook will know which parent is writing this 😉
Up until 2022, Geniebook only had Science, English, and Mathematics. However, they’ve just this year launched for the first time a Chinese package, and this review is our honest thoughts after checking it out.
How do we use it?
My daughter doesn’t attend any formal tuition centres. The enrichment we do is music and art. Then we have Geniebook. Actually, we probably make a whole lot less use of Geniebook than we could or should because I’m pretty laissez-faire about academic work.
Geniebook has three main components:
- GenieClass: Live interactive classes (sort of seminar style, with ability for child to answer questions and earn points throughout)
- GenieSmart: AI generated revision worksheets (combination of multichoice, and descriptive answers, which are then marked by MOE-qualified teachers and feedback given). A one year subscription gives 300 worksheets per subject, with 15 – 20 questions per sheet.
- GenieAsk: Ability to get live help with homework questions, and also some class quizzes/competitions
We decided to trial Geniebook initially for the online classes, to fill the gap created by the sudden school closure, and me not being familiar with the Singapore syllabus. The great thing about the live classes is you can join any from P1 through to Sec 4, and they’re offered every day of the week and fixed times with fixed teachers, very much like tuition. I think most people probably join for these classes. My kids weren’t fans (they’re very much like a typical school or tuition class addressed to a large group) and I could live without this too. However, despite this we signed up for the full year package because of all the other features!
We’re a little unconventional. We primarily use GenieBook for the personalised worksheets. These AI-generated worksheets are essentially a replacement for any revision book purchase from Popular, but have the added bonus that they’re marked by qualified teachers, and they focus on the questions where the child really needs to practice thanks to smart AI. Additionally, unlike textbooks at Popular which somehow often seem to either have outdated questions, or worse still WRONG answers in the back of them, these questions are kept up-to-date with the Ministry of Education syllabus (I would know as over a decade ago I co-authored some secondary school assessment books which are still sold in Popular today despite several syllabus changes and I cringe when I discover this).
With GenieSmart, unlike assessment books, the correct model answer is given instantly after each question (followed by a teacher marking what the child actually did a few hours later). The real bonus versus an assessment boos is that for every correct question, the child earns “bubble points” which can be exchanged for all sort of tings from fluffy toys and fidgets to mobile phones and Xboxes. That’s the carrot that has kept my daughter going and going. Not all worksheets are equal either – a child earns more bubbles for trying out topics and concepts which they are weaker in, which is a nice encouragement and motivation (I prefer this to the Koobits type rewards where kids just get more screen time with gaming interface).
In short, as a parent, I really like GenieBook because it lets me meaningfully assist my daughters with their homework/revision at their own pace, with less effort of needing to find and mark the questions, nor the physical book storage space required. My daughters love it because they feel more confident in their learning, and get rewarded with things they really want to buy.
What is GenieBook Chinese?
The Chinese Package contains the flagship three products from the GenieBook offering, but is available currently only for P3 & P4:
- GenieClass Chinese: Live interactive classes (sort of seminar style, with ability for child to answer questions and earn points). The Chinese class has not one teacher, but TWO teachers throughout, making it a very interactive 55 minutes with lots of role play and dramatization, built around a thematic story. It’s an immersive Chinese environment, which all instructions also in Chinese, which is a few steps better than classes in local primary school, I would imagine.
Whilst my children do not really enjoy the GenieBook Science and Mathematics classes, the Chinese one was very tolerable, and it’s a handy source for increasing Chinese oral exposure. The online classes are offered twice a week for P3 and P4 , and children can attend both levels. The weekly class content follows the themes from the Singapore MOE syllabus, but GenieBook has written their own customised stories, so it’s not fully repetitive of the local system. It’s taught a week in advance, so it’s basically an soft introduction to what the child might learn in formal school that week.
- GenieSmart Chinese: AI generated revision worksheets (combination of multichoice, and descriptive answers, which are then marked by MOE-qualified teachers and feedback given). A one year subscription gives 300 worksheets, with ~15 questions per sheet. In total these are pulled from a databased of ~25,000 questions.
One thing to note with these Chinese questions is that they cannot be copied and pasted into Google translate. So a child cannot take a short cut and cheat to get the answer. Conversely, it makes it difficult to explain the question if the child cannot understand a character in the question, and the parent is not able to assist either. If you have a product like the Youdao pen (or Google translate photo on your mobile) it’s possible to scan the character and get around this.
For GenieSmart assessment sheets in Science / Math, there is an equal mix of MCQ OEQ style questions. However, for Chinese, ~90% of the questions asked are multiple choice, which makes them slightly easier in a way, however less like all possible typical exam questions.
- GenieAsk Chinese: This is essentially a written chat forum with 30 kids, to stimulate a ‘class’ style environment. It gives the ability to get live help with homework questions, and ongoing class quizzes/competitions. Teachers are there live each afternoon, and they’re very encouraging with their comments and games. For example, the students who earn the most bubbles in month receive extra rewards, and there are Kahoot quizzes too. For a child who actually does get homework from school, this could be a nice avenue for assistance should a parent not be able to help.
All the Chinese class teachers are native-speaking Chinese and MOE-trained educators, familiar with the MOE curriculum.
What do we like about Geniebook?
- One stop solution: Never need to buy assessment books from Popular again nor practice papers from Jeremy, or even tuition classes (we actually never bought /went to any of these anyhow, so Geniebook has also replaced my complacency too).
- Reflects Singapore school syllabus: All the teachers are MOE qualified. Exam questions are very similar to school examination questions. Occasionally late at night I will even speed watch a recorded class session (obviously not Chinese, because I don’t speak it, but for Scince or Math) on a particular topic when I want to understand myself how to better teach/explain it to my daughter
- Customised and customisable: Questions are tailored for level of the child, and become progressively harder as the child achieves each level based on AI. A parent can choose which topics they want the child to focus on, matching what is being taught in school or upcoming tests, etc.
- Fun holiday classes and quizzes: GenieBook runs some interesting lectures / games / quiz series which are much broader than the school syllabus. I assume they’ll do the same for Chinese when the holdiays come around.
- Instant “standard” solutions given to all questions: and then personalised feedback provided later from the teacher too. This is mile better than using an assessment book, especially for a parent like me who cannot correct the Chinese anyway.
- Assists to identify child’s strengths/weaknesses: it does a pretty good job breaking down progress and improvement areas required.
- Bubble Rewards: Kids can claim goodies they earn for completing questions. Yes, they can actually claim them, and the rewards are sent in the mail a few weeks later.
- Access to all year levels class: For the live classes, you can access P1 through to Sec 4 where available (for Chinese it’s only P3 & P4 at the moment, but Math & English have all years). So a child can listen in to any of these classes to revise or stretch their understanding. Even a sibling could watch on to these live classes and learn too.
- Child needs to be motivated: Effectiveness depends on how you use it. For us, we do sit down together and go through the assessment sheets, and their feedback, as we would with any school work. Unless a child is very motivated/studious (or perhaps in PSLE / Secondary school), I cannot see how this would work otherwise.
- Cost: it is much pricier than just buying assessment books. Conversely, it’s much cheaper than paying for a tutor or tuition centres. Depends how you see it and what you value.
- Online classes aren’t for everyone: I have to smile as I type this. My family typically LOVE online classes and have had great success with other online classes for both Chinese and Spanish, but they’re small group classes, not large style lectures. My kids are not fans of attending the regular GenieBook style classes. Our neighbours on the other hand rave about them.
- Typing on the keyboard: Typing Math solutions or drawing science models on the keyboard might be tricky with GenieBook …… Chinese is even trickier! You either need a child who will write these by hand and photograph to upload them into GenieBook, or else get them very used to using keyboard/stylus. This will be infuriating otherwise for your child and you.
- The Chinese Package is all in Chinese: if you cannot read Chinese, you won’t be able to revise the worksheets at all with your child.
- Don’t stress your child with it: take it in moderation, just like anything else. Does it really fit your schedule? It fits ours, because we’re at a neighbourhood primary school with very little (often no) homework, and we don’t do any other academic support. Even then, we really don’t use all the features which GenieBook offers. If your child already does external tuition, and gets homework from this, it seems pretty ridiculous to put GenieBook on top of it!
- Minimum package size is a year: for us, we have no regrets, we’ve been using it more than enough to make it worthwhile. But 12 months is a long time if there’s a risk your child won’t use it.
How does GenieBook Chinese compare to other online learning platforms for Chinese?
Fundamentally, GenieBook Chinese is designed to support the Singapore MOE syllabus. Not many platforms do this at all, and GenieBook does it VERY well. A lot of thought has gone into building weekly classes and curating sets of questions that mirror the very best of Singaporean test book publishers, and stories/interactive activities following the MOE textbooks
The only other online learning platform we’ve used which is specifically for Singapore MOE is LingoAce, which is more based around the concept of gamified learning and smaller interactive group classes online. GenieBook’s strength is written exam preparation and AI personalisation. LingoAce strength is gamified learning to prepare for orals and composition. Both probably complement each other well. LingoAce would be more accessible for a parent who cannot speak Chinese or for a child who need to practice their Chinese speaking. GenieBook is about written grammar, sentence structure, tingxie, idioms, and etc.
For anyone outside of Singapore, I feel GenieBook is unlikely to be the solution for you. It’s designed for a child who already has a good written and spoken understanding of the language, to a Singapore Primary 2 level (about mainland Chinese grade 1) and is learning the MOE syllabus. However, if formal grammar / reading / vocabulary revision is where your child needs assistance, it could be a much cheaper solution to consider than a home tutor or even an online tutor.
Did we sign up to the Chinese package?
My family really like GenieBook, and we already subscribe to the Science and Math packages, which are areas my daughter is weaker and does need revision outside of the school classroom. I’m proud to say that even though we purchased it months ago, we’ve continued using it (almost) daily, and we’ve certainly improved at our understanding of both these subjects – me included. I think GenieBook really can help a child to get confidence in doing a topic they are weaker in, especially if the parent is diligent to assist and learn together.
For Chinese, whilst I see a great product has been developed in the GenieBook Chinese Package, it’s not something our family especially needs. To put into perspective, Chinese was my daughter’s best subject last year, and she even scored 100% on her school written exam. Over-learning or over-revising isn’t something I’m a fan of. So ultimately after doing the one-week trial of the Chinese package, we have decided not to add it to our GenieBook suite for the moment. For us, we’re better of getting Chinese input through extensive reading of books for pleasure and less formal 1-to-1 conversations with mainland Chinese speakers (plenty of which are also available online too).
How to sign up?
This Geniebook review is not sponsored or affiliated, so I have no fancy links to offer you to click to get discounts. However, GenieBook does provide a free 2-week trial for all new signups to their packages (including Chinese) which you can sign up for directly through their website. If you know a friend who already uses GenieBook, they will usually give some substantial $ to personal referrals, so do your friend a favour and ask them to introduce you to their learning consultant to start out your free trial (and maybe your friend will thank you with a free cup of coffee or even share with you some of their referral bonus).
As with many online products, the sales experience and after-sales support can make or break the deal. I don’t enjoy pushy salespeople and I have heard many exist at GenieBook too. Maybe I’m just lucky, but the learning consultant we were first assigned has been truly excellent, and very patient in waiting for me to decide to sign up. Ever since, he has always been available by Whatsapp to assist us (including arranging the trial for the new Chinese package too).
Other Chinese learning tools you might like
If you have arrived at the end and found this helpful, maybe there are some other posts on my blog you might also enjoy. Our family is one where no parents speak Chinese, so we have explored a lot of fun ways to expose our children to the language. If you’re considering GenieBook Chinese, there are also other great technologies and online classes too which you want to consider, such as:
- Luka Reading Robot for reading Chinese books
- Comparison of online classes taught in Chinese
- Comparison of math classes online taught in Chinese
- Non animated television shows for children in Chinese
- Great Chinese books for primary school silent reading
- Youdao Dictionary Pen for translating written Chinese
- iHuman app for learning first 1200 characters
If you’re in Singapore and looking to ask questions and share ideas on the Chinese journey, join the conversation with other parents at the FB Group Ni Hao Singapore Primary School learning, which I host along with a few other Singapore-based bloggers.
Note: These are all my own opinions/thoughts and there isn’t any sponsorship or affiliation or affiliate links The blog is a passion project, simply sharing things we’ve found useful with others who may be in a similar situation. To stay up to date, you can follow @lahlahbananabanana on FB or IG too 🙂