Three tips for (even) more successful language learning

  • Make it part of your routine.

Most successful exercisers go to the gym at the same time each day or on the same days of the week. It soon becomes a habit, and habits are very hard to break. You can try the same thing with your language learning: make it an ‘unbreakable’ habit by choosing a regular time and place to study.

  • If you don’t have much time, go for intensity.

Some research has shown that short, intense periods of exercise can be as good for you as longer ones. The same can sometimes be true for language learning. If you only have 15 minutes free, try to achieve something concrete in that time by really focusing. Can you memorise a short list of words? Can you study a grammar explanation closely so that you really understand it? Can you write a short text? You might find that 15 minutes of intense focus is more effective than an hour of less focused study.

  • Follow a program.

There’s a difference between an exercise routine and a training program. A training program has a purpose and objectives; an exercise routine is just a series of exercises. A training program requires you to monitor your progress over the long term; an exercise routine is often short. Having objectives and monitoring your progress are both essential to successful language learning. So treat your language learning like a training program: decide what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it by. Set yourself objectives, and review those objectives regularly. Ask yourself important questions like, ‘Do I feel like I’m doing enough to meet my goals?’ and, ‘Am I making the level of progress I want?’

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