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March 2017

Study Tips for Students Who Aren’t Great At Studying

Advice for foreign language students who face difficulties

Studying is hard work. Many of us would rather go out with friends, relax or play video games instead of studying, especially after work or when we’re tired. Even the most diligent linguistic scholar has moments when he or she simply wants to take a break.

As we all know, studying a language is not a once-a-week affair; it takes regular, daily study to improve one’s skill in a new language. This consistency requires a routine, something that may be hard to implement for many of us who have already busy lives and full schedules. Furthermore, many students have issues with particular modes of study. Diligence aside, many find reading textbooks incredibly boring, the idea of flashcards causing some to cringe.

Today we’ll take a look at study tips for students who have trouble with studying.

Identify your study preferences

Before creating a study routine, identify your strengths and weaknesses. Think about what you liked and what you disliked about past language studies. Distinguishing what bores you from what excites you is an invaluable exercise in determining your preferred method of study. For example, if you find reading incredibly boring, there may be a low chance that you’ll keep it up daily if that is your main mode of study. Consider instead a method that is more preferable, such as watching films or listening to podcasts. The idea behind identifying your study preferences is to ensure you develop a study system that you’ll head back to every day. Additionally, if you tend to be too exhausted at the end of the day, opt to study when your mind is fresh in the morning. Simple decisions such as these can totally revolutionise the quality of your studies.

Create your ritual

Once you’ve identified your study preferences, you should create your study ritual. This should be a well-rounded study routine that can ultimately help you improve comprehension and vocabulary. Discovering which method (reading, listening, watching, talking, etc.) works for you is personal preference. The ritual should be an easily executable and fun routine. For example, if you prefer to study by watching films, you could watch a portion of a film each day, rather than one film per day which would not be very sustainable (it would take too much time each day and you’d eventually run out of films). For such a student, opting for television shows might be better. In other words, it should take no time finding material and resources to study with, so you can dive right in.

Make study your sanctuary

One good method for ensuring daily study is to turn studying into something of a sanctuary from life’s stresses. You should, in other words, make learning not only fun but relaxing. You could turn listening to a podcast into an excuse to get away from the computer and shutting out other stimuli. This would turn studying into a respite from work, changing the labor of learning into something of a small mental vacation. Changing the perception of studying from a laborious task to something that promotes peace can help develop a subconscious want to study more regularly.

Have fun

This tip can’t be repeated enough: studying works best when we turn it into something fun. The more we enjoy the process of learning a foreign language, the better and more often we study. Ditch the textbook for language games, or simply go out more often with a friend who speaks your target language.

What are your tips for overcoming study difficulties? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles on language and study tips!

Picture (c) Fotolia, Henry Schmitt