Study Skills for Foreign Language:
To learn a language it is necessary to practice and study every day. In addition to any specific homework assignment, you should spend a minimum of ten minutes a day reviewing notes/vocabulary/grammar. It is important that you study a little every day and not leave it all for the night before the test!
Successful language learning includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing—Both in and out of a class. Try to find things/topics you enjoy as the more you enjoy the learning process, the easier it is to learn. A positive attitude goes along with that.
-READ! Choose magazines/newspapers/books/internet sites on topics that interest you.
-LISTEN! the internet to listen to the radio in Spanish, watch TV or news clips, watch movies (try watching Spanish language films, or watching a favorite, but choose the Spanish sound track on the DVD), listen to music, etc.
-WRITE! Consider finding a Spanish-speaking email pal. Keeping a journal/diary in Spanish can also help you practice writing.
-PRACTICE! Make it a point to learn new words. Consider starting a vocabulary notebook and/or using flashcards. To make flashcards, ideally you should put a picture on one side and the word in Spanish on the other, but it is often quicker to put the Spanish on one side and the English on the other—make sure you spell the words correctly! Don’t just look at the cards, DO something with them. Say the words out loud, quiz yourself (try to write the word, verb conjugation, etc, without looking, then check yourself), or have a classmate quiz you. Try to learn (and USE) at least one new word per day. If you are at a loss for where to begin, start with a list of verbs, then nouns (grouped by topic like health, food, clothing), then adjectives/adverbs. The more senses you can use, the more likely you will be to remember new words. For example, for parts of the body, touch your nose, say “la nariz”, write it, read it, repeat. Consider a self-study grammar book (make sure it has the answers), or practice on-line.
-SPEAK! Try to find a conversation partner. Check with your college/university for conversation tables, clubs and/or language exchanges. Try speaking Spanish with other friends who are also learning. You can help each other.
-THINK! All of the above activities will help you to start thinking in Spanish. You can also try to train yourself to think in a language. While you are walking, driving, or resting, try to make yourself have an internal conversation with yourself in Spanish. Some people automatically think in Spanish when they are using it, but others need to practice.
-SEEK HELP! See your professor during office hours, go to open tutoring times, go to Academic and Career planning to ask for a personal tutor. Spanish builds from one concept to the next, so it is better to get help right away if you are confused.