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Best Ways To Remember What You Learn In Spanish

You've finally decided to go out on a limb, and step out of your comfort zone by putting into practice what you've been studying in Spanish. You're finally having a conversation with a Spanish speaker and it's going so well. You start to feel like your studies have paid off, but then it happens.. You're stuck. You should know how to respond, but you just don't remember what you need to say! You are now in panic mode and you decide to cut the conversation short and leave in a hurry.

The above scenario happens way to often to those who are learning a new language. Although embarrassing moments and public mistakes can be helpful motivators and can push us to correct our mistakes, so that we never have to feel that way again, I think we'd all prefer to not make those mistakes at all. I'd like to offer you some tips on how to retain what you learn in Spanish and be able to retrieve the words and phrases that you need at the right time.

Things that you should consider beforehand

1. Are you taking physical handwritten notes on what you are studying?
2. Have you made your learning process a lifestyle or is it limited by time?

If you have the above things figured out already, then you're in a good place. Next, I will share with you my tips for retaining what you learn and study.

Direct Activities

1. Know your learning style and focus more on that

There are 4 different learning types: reading/writing, auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.
In school, we are taught in whatever way the teacher feels like teaching. The teachers that we have may not cater to our teaching style, but since we are used to learning that way, we continue to teach ourselves that way without realizing that it is may not the most effective way for us to learn.

It is a good practice to use all forms of learning, however, when you find the learning style that is the most effective for you, that should be your primary and most frequent way of introducing new information to yourself.

  • 👀 If you are a visual learner, then you should use pictures and videos accompanied by the vocabulary words that you are learning. 
  • 👂If you are an auditory learner, you should be listening to a lot of material. 
  • ✋If your are a kinesthetic learner, then do physical activities that will help you remember what you are studying. 
  • 📖✍If you learn by reading and writing, You are probably already used to learning this way from school. You just have to make sure that you are reading the proper material and taking clear notes in a way that you understand. 
While doing all of these things, you should still be taking notes regularly and reviewing your material, and applying it to real life regularly.

2. Consistently review new and old material

When learning something new it's easy to memorize things. Memorization is a false illusion that makes one believe that they have actually learned something. Memorization is cramming for a test. Learning is studying to make sure that you understand, and can apply the material in life.

Consistently reviewing will really help you to learn. Set a schedule and make sure that you review certain things until you feel like it has become second nature to you. As you advance, never forget to review the fundamentals. It gets easy to forget the fundamentals, so consistent and constant review will be huge help when it comes to remembering what you learn.

3. Create triggers for yourself

Triggers are things that spark a memory and remind you of something that you have experienced in the past. For example, if I mention coffee, you may think of caffeine, waking up in the morning, energy boosts, etc. Coffee is a trigger for all of those things. Since we know that triggers exist we can create them for ourselves when we are learning.

If you're learning the vocabulary words for food or things in a kitchen, perhaps your trigger can be learning the vocabulary by cooking your favorite meal which would make it more of a memorable experience.

4. Make it fun for yourself

No one wants to think about things that aren't fun. If in your mind you think of learning Spanish as boring, and difficult, it will be so. You have to find a way to entertain yourself while learning. I know in school, they teach you to be quiet, and to do what you're told. It is very important to be free with your learning, and make it relate to you. Make it real to you. Make games, and play with friends. Create challenges to do in public. Make YouTube videos. These are just a few ideas, but act based off of what is fun to you!

5. Use multiple sources to learn

One of the advantages of living in our world today is that there are many people teaching the same thing, and everyone has their own spin on how they teach it. We have access to everything in the palm of our hands. Explore. Find reliable sources and learn from them frequently. If you discover that you don't like how one teacher teaches a certain topic, find another who explains it better. One teacher may know a topic very well, but just can't get the idea across to you, while another may be able to put it in words that create the perfect image in your head. As the saying goes, don't put all of your eggs in one basket.

Indirect activities

1. Exercise

Exercising may not seem like a lot, but when you are physically active, your body runs better. When you are not healthy your body is not working at its optimal level.

2. Take strategic breaks

Don't overdo it! Your brain has to take a break sometimes. When you are not actively studying you can be applying what you studied in real life scenarios, but don't have your eyes on paper all day.

3. Rest 

Just like exercise, sleep is important for your body. If you go too hard with no rest, you're doing more damage to yourself than good. Being healthy really does affect your brain.

4. Chew gum while you study

This tip I learned from my high school anatomy teacher. Chewing gum while you study may help you to recall what you previously learned.

At the end of the day, you have to find what works for you. Retaining information doesn't have to be hard. Relax, don't be so hard on yourself, and enjoy the journey!

The Best Spanish Vocabulary Books

Here are the books that I used to master Spanish vocabulary! Buy yours from Amazon now by clicking on an image below. You won't regret it!

My Favorite Spanish Grammar Books

Master Spanish grammar with the same books I used. Click on one of the books below to purchase yours on Amazon now! It's how I became fluent and you can too!


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