Studying EVERY DAY is absolutely essential to being successful at learning a new language. I have never met a successful language student who doesn’t study almost every day. Learning languages is like training your body for a new sport. Athletes must train every day or their muscles will shrink and they will not have the strength, speed, or coordination required to play their sport.
In a similar way, an athlete’s muscles are like a language student’s vocabulary. Vocabulary gives you the power to express yourself and actually use the language. Speaking a new language without a good vocabulary is like playing a sport without training. You won’t get injured, but you’ll probably feel embarrassed and incompetent and have lower confidence and self-esteem as a result.
When I was learning Thai and Japanese, my biggest problem was that I didn’t know how to study. Because I didn’t know how to study, I didn’t study very much. As I learned more about the best ways to study and learn a language, I became more motivated. After many years of learning three different languages and making a lot of mistakes, I have designed an extremely powerful and efficient study routine.
In this tutorial, I’m going to talk about the benefits of studying and explain the common study routines I have designed to help you progress through the language quickly, efficiently, and most importantly WHILE HAVING FUN. This isn’t “homework” and I don’t want you to think of it that way. Fun is required for you to be successful. These routines are designed to adapt to your interests and get you involved in the language just like you do with your native language. Let’s make this a fun and interesting learning journey just for you!
The benefits of studying
Students who study are much more successful than students who don’t study. MUCH MORE successful. Here are some common characteristics I’ve noticed among these students:
- Wider vocabulary and faster recall of words
- Better pronunciation and more confidence speaking
- Better comprehension resulting in more enjoyment listening to and reading the language
- Much better fluency speaking. Ability to respond to questions faster and more thoroughly. Smoother and more enjoyable conversation.
- More excited and interested in learning in general
- More independent learners. Don’t depend too much on teachers, classes and courses
These students actively try to integrate the language into their brains every day. They have short-term and long-term goals for their learning. They have a realistic scope of what they need to do and plan accordingly to achieve success. Sometimes these students doubt themselves and their learning process but with my help and encouragement, I can keep them on track and guide them to actually becoming fluent in the language. As they gain confidence and fluency the effects really start to snowball and learning becomes more and more effortless.
Students who don’t study
Students who don’t study rarely reach actual fluency in the language. Many of these students are not conscious of their daily routines. They think that they study more than they do but they rarely keep track of how long they study or what they study.
These students usually conclude that they are not good at learning languages, that they have a bad memory and their brain is not well-suited to learn a new language. Soon after making this conclusion, they completely give up learning. This is very sad for me to see because I know that ANYBODY can learn a new language if they dedicate the time and energy to study.
AnkiMaster Homework Assignments
With the AnkiMaster program, I have different assignments for different things. How you study depends on your level and what you’re trying to improve. If you are a beginner, please see AnkiMaster Homework – Beginner Resources.
The 4 Pillars
Basically, there are four parts to your study routine:
- Getting Input
- Sentence Mining + Making Flashcards
- Studying Flashcards
- Off2Class Assignments
If you can do these four things every week, you can’t fail!
AnkiMaster Flashcards (for vocabulary) – All Levels
AnkiMaster Flashcards will improve your vocabulary, listening, reading, and speaking. I designed and used the AnkiMaster system to help me and my students learn English and Spanish. To learn more about my AnkiMaster system see A QUICKSTART GUIDE TO LEARNING WITH ANKIMASTER.
Accessing your flashcards
See tutorial: How to access your flashcards
Sharing your Anki Stats
See tutorial (coming soon)
See Anki Stats
Getting Input means reading or listening to content in your target language. This can be anything from books, movies, YouTube videos, podcasts, comics, video games, or conversations with a friend; literally, anything you want.
Getting input requires A LOT of repetition. This is especially true for beginners. Please see Olly’s post Attacking Language Dialogues to learn about how you should be consuming your input. For intermediate and advanced students, you can use less repetition than Olly recommends in his post.
While getting input, make sure you are Sentence Mining! (see below)
Sentence mining is a fancy phrase for collecting new words and phrases so that you can make flashcards for them later, i.e. TAKING NOTES. You need to always keep track of the new words that you read and hear.
See Tutorial: Sentence Mining
Off2Class Homework Assignments
Off2Class provides homework assignments after each lesson.