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March 2020

Jumping Back Into the Game

Tips for restarting study after a prolonged break

We often try our best to study the languages we’re learning, but language learning is a marathon and not a sprint. It requires a fair amount of endurance to study every day, and, with our busy lives, we can easily fall out of the daily habit of learning.

Getting back into study isn’t easy either. After a prolonged break, we may forget where we left off, making it necessary to review material before starting off again. If you’re prone to taking frequent breaks from study, this constant back and forth between progress and review can be disheartening.

What is one to do? Obviously, the ideal choice is to stick to your daily habit of study, so that this problem doesn’t arise in the first place. For those of us who aren’t perfect, however, we offer some tips today.

Don’t beat yourself up about it

When jumping back into your studies, you need to first adopt a healthy mindset. You may feel guilt or anger at having lost your stride, but these negative emotions will only set you back further.

Go easy on yourself and get back into studying without judgment. Start slow if you have to, without pushing or expecting any progress in the first study session. Review the material you studied in the past and use however much time you need. If you rush the review, you’ll find moving forward will be all the harder.

Build back the habit

Daily study is conducted most easily when it becomes a habit. Build a comfortable space and nudge yourself to study every day, even if it’s for a short chunk of time. Once you get used to the idea of studying, it becomes less easy to forget to study.

During this time, it’s also helpful to identify the reasons why daily study became difficult in the first place. Perhaps your prior study sessions were too long, too unsustainable. Maybe the time of day you selected wasn’t ideal. For example, if you study in the evenings but also often go out to meet friends then, it may work in your interest to plan study for the morning.

Add more variation to your lessons

If you find daily study difficult because it’s boring, mix up your lessons to make them more fun. Using different study materials and formats is also beneficial to learning, as you’ll be exposed to a wider variety of media.

For example, you could reserve Mondays for movies (‘Movie Monday’, if you will). Monday is traditionally a stressful day for most full-time workers, making it a difficult day for study. Find some balance by allowing yourself the privilege of watching a movie in your target language while you reserve the more cognitively intense study material for more carefree days (like Friday or Saturday).

You could also fill in free time by studying on your commute using your smartphone or by listening to audio lessons. Smart flashcards are a great resource for reviewing material during an otherwise unproductive commute.

Whatever you choose to do should be tailored to your particular style of learning, customised to your preferences and your life schedule. Most important of all, you ought to find your inspiration to study, whatever reason it was that made you want to learn this language in the first place. Finding this muse may be all it takes to get your linguistic engines roaring again.

How do you personally get yourself out of a study rut? What are your study tips? Let us know on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” telc English for more articles on language learning tips and tricks.