Language On Your Own: Self-Study Tips – Part 5

This is Part 5 of a 12-part series.

Write It Down and Remember More 

Flashcards are a great learning tool with Spaced Repetition.  They are an even better tool when you make them yourself!

Writing a word is part of learning the word —


… especially if it is spelled consistently. Therefore, part of your learning practice can be to make your own set of flashcards.  Start with single words, and work up to full sentences later on.

Take great care to write sentences based on what you find in authentic sources, such as a reliable dictionary.

Software for Spaced Repetition

If you don’t have the time to draw and letter your flashcards by hand, there are a number of computer software programs for Spaced Repetition. Just Google flashcards, “spaced repetition,” software. You will be able to research the different programs available. Some programs are freeware – you won’t have to spend money.

There is plenty of criticism online about “magic bullet” claims for flashcards and Spaced Repetition programs.  It’s true that you still have to put in effort and not confuse memorizing words with knowing a language.

Still, there are two great advantages to using these programs:

  • It’s faster to print the cards,
  • the program does the sequencing for you.

flashcard set display sm

Flashcards are very useful tools for language learning because they make the brain combine visual and speech actions, which cultivates both short-term and long-term memory.

Still, this is just one tool for self-study – don’t abandon listening to correct speech from a speaker or a CD; don’t give up on writing exercises in workbooks! Those written exercises put your vocabulary to use; listening to correct speech will train you to catch words as they are used in sentence patterns.

Whether you draw your own flashcards or use a computer program, there is one tool you don’t want to be without.  Find out what it is in Part 6.

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