Do you know the saying ‘everything in moderation‘? Well, the same applies to language learning. Sitting down with your textbook and cramming for hours may seem like a good way to learn, but if you spend too long studying at once, it is easy to over-do it and you’re less likely to remember everything.
Of course, the more you practice and study, the faster you will learn. But if you have a busy schedule and can’t dedicate lots of time to studying, you need to manage your time carefully. This is why I recommend the ‘little and often’ method. It is much better to study for 15 minutes every day than it is to study just once a week, even if that one time is for two hours. 15 minutes might not seem like a long time, but it is long enough to pick up a few new words or to review a new grammar structure. If you spend a long time studying but then don’t open your textbooks at all for the next 6 days, you’ll probably have forgotten most of it by the time you open your books the next week.
Studying a little each day will keep it fresh in your mind. Also, practising the same language point a few days in a row will really help to drum it into your head. It’s easy to get bored when you’re studying for hours at a time, but in just 15 minutes, you can stay focused and not waste time daydreaming. In my opinion, if you are learning a language as a hobby (not studying it full-time at university) a great study schedule goes like this: a forty-minute or one-hour formal lesson once a week, 15 minutes of purposeful study once a day, and speaking the language freely whenever you get the chance.
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About the Author
Celia Jenkins has taught English in China, Japan, and the UK to students from all over the world. Coming from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, she likes small, quiet places where she can squirrel away and get lost in a book. As well as teaching, she is also a professional writer and part-time knitting enthusiast. Visit her website at www.celiajenkins.com.
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