I am also an intermediate learner.
I use chinesepod now, but have used lots of other services. I don’t know exactly what the Cpod team has in mind, but I will try to give some tips and you can see what works for you.
There is something called the intermediate plateau. It means that once you can say the basic and everyday things, your vocab becomes specialized to the things you use and are exposed to most often. From there, you need to work hard to find the fifth or sixth way to express a concept and to know the nuance between them. Also, new vocabulary. For example, you know general office lingo. But what about technology, what about Chinese workplace regulations, what about trending TV/game and App topics that may come up in small talk.
Cpod has a very broad range of intermediate lesson, from pre to upper. However, the time the lessons are produced and the teachers that produced them - added to what any given student has or has not been exposed to, makes intermediate and advanced levels hard to match to an HSK level.
*levels to HSK would be convenient
- over time
I guess that over time, each teaching group has added their philosophy to designing the lessons.
Some will be ridiculous, visual, overacted lessons with vocab you will rarely use - BUT because it is strange/funny you will pay attention and remember.
Some time periods were able to use the lessons to repeat certain vocabulary, so that by doing any lesson, you get a repeat of a new word in a new context.
Some of the topic lessons are grouped so that you can focus on vocab on just that area and that helps to repeat vocab or talk more about something interesting or topical to you.
*find the instructors and lesson style you like (based on date and intstructors) and follow their lessons for a while.
So the site changes and the functions change with it. So, provide feedback and suggestions.
I know some people have hacks for pleco and iTunes. Some use desktop, some the app.
At the moment I am also frustrated which all of that, because it takes time away from learning to get the lessons or vocab to interface between desktop/app or other apps.
However, it is good when I learn a word from a HSK study app or memrise and then hear it in a lesson on Cpod.
You can blitz a level - just do a many as possible
use a lesson or topic and spend the day or week reviewing and using the vocab. Esp combined with a tutor or language partner.
You can focus on memorizing the sentences you think are useful.
You can focus on one area:
speaking fluent/colloquial/with good pronunciation