Foreign Language Tip #5 | Study Habits: Is Your Studying Routine Useful?

Yes we are returning to this topic. I covered it before but I see many people still struggle with this concept so today I’ll go into more detail that’ll probably help you out if you are one of these people.
How often do you study? Would you say:

  • Once a month?
  • Once a week?
  • Twice a week?
  • Every other day?
  • Daily?

How long do you you study?

  • All day?
  • 10+ hours each session?
  • 3-4 hours each session?
  • 1-2 hours each session?
  • Less than an hour?

These questions, though seemingly pointless, measure whether or not you know how to study a foreign language for your own benefit. We create routines based on how other people fare. Some people say they study “day and night, year round” and so we mimic those patterns because it worked for them. But is it really useful for you? Most people, when they learned a foreign language in school, remembered that language all the way until after graduation before miraculously forgetting everything they learned. But why did we forget? Because our study habits no longer meshed with how we were learning anymore.

Huh?

I’ll explain through these steps!
Step 1: Repetition

I say this frequently during the WOTD and GOTW posts and at times I may even post a word that’s been posted before. Why? Well for starters, sometimes I forget I already posted it but for the most part, I leave it up because it’s good to see the word again. Repetition is key for learning a new language. You are literally memorizing new words, phrases, grammar principles and rules and so it is vital that you see these things over and over again. That’s not to say you should go over the same thing each and every time you study until you can read it backward and forwards, (although in the long run that may help you learn the language in a shorter amount of time than most people), because it can actually kill your joy in studying. You may begin to dread doing it and not actually focus on what you’re doing anymore and you may even begin to skip sessions.

So practice repetition, as in, review things repeatedly but do move on to other topics once you’ve gotten an understanding of what you’ve learned.

 

Step 2: Exposure

What exactly are you studying?

Are you jumping ahead to new topics each day regardless of whether or not you mastered the last topic? Don’t be afraid to spend time on a word, phrase, or principle even if you’re focusing on it for a couple of weeks. It’s important for overall recognition and memorization. For example, if you use Memrise like I do, you may notice that they may throw in the same words over and over again in a new vocabulary set even after you mastered them and are trying to focus on the new ones. It can be tedious and annoying but pause and reflect on what just happened, it’s annoying to see the word over and over again because you already know the word. You recognize the word and you don’t even need translation to tell anyone (or yourself) what it means. You probably can use the word in a sentence because you understand this word. This is why repetition and exposure are so very important.

And finally…
Step 3: Study Time!

How long are you studying?

I asked earlier how many days a week do you study and how long do you study during this allotted time. Regardless of how you answered, the length of time doesn’t equate to dedication. Some people can study 5-10 minutes a day and still have the same dedication as someone who studies longer. But how? Because people remember things in different ways. It is better to spend an allotted amount of time specifically for studying, even if it is only 30 minutes once every week, and focusing 100% of your energy into what you’re doing than to spend hours and days only exerting “just enough” of yourself and leaving the session not remembering anything you just went over.

Remember, how you study plays an important role in what you remember and how quickly you progress so adjust your study habits to fit what works for you and focus 100% of your energy into that time to study.

That’s your tip for this week!

Quick Questions to Think About:

  1. Have you created a schedule to include foreign language study?
  2. How long do you need to study?
  3. What exactly are you studying? Is it helpful? Are you practicing repetition?

Duolingo unfortunately still does not currently offer Korean as a language to study. However, Memrise does. There are tons of programs designed to mimic Duolingo’s vocabulary function and there are even some programs that include a fill-in-the-blank option. The one I currently use from “howtostudykorean.com” will even prompt you daily for your quick daily study sessions. If you are looking for a study aid, I would definitely recommend checking out any of the following aids below while we wait on that Korean version of Duolingo.

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