There’s no doubt that learning a second language can be a difficult task. Although learning Spanish as a native English speaker may be easier than picking up a language like Chinese, it takes time and practice to get from your first ¡hola! to full-blown fluency.
If you’re looking to accelerate your progress, it’s worthwhile to do some research into the best ways to learn Spanish. This means learning how to study smarter, not just harder. With the right study habits and a drive to succeed, you can reach your Spanish goals in the most efficient way possible.
To help, we’ve rounded up six study hacks that will prep your mind and body for learning Spanish more easily. Before we dive in, check out this helpful video on the fastest ways to learn Spanish, from TakeLesson’s expert Spanish tutor Danae Riley!
Now that Danae has got you on the right track, you can apply the following six study hacks to enhance your Spanish learning experience:
1) Write your notes by hand.
You’ve probably heard this popular tip before, but it’s one of the best ways to learn Spanish vocabulary that exists. Studies suggest that you are more likely to recall information if you write it down by hand because your brain has to focus on writing out each letter. So, ditch your keyboard or your iPad, and resort to an old-fashioned pen and paper. If you feel like you have to type your notes in order to keep up with your teacher, rewrite them by hand when you get home to help you study and retain the information.
This might sound like a strange tip, but a 2009 study showed that physical activity can improve brain function, learning, and memory. Try combining your studies with exercise by listening to a Spanish language podcast while at the gym. Instead of watching TV during a study break, take a jog around the block. Leading an active lifestyle will help you recall Spanish better.
3) Chew gum while you study.
A 2013 study showed that those who chewed gum while they learned had higher accuracy rates when recalling information than those who did not chew gum. There is also a potential link between level of focus and gum chewing. That’s because giving the jaws a workout can help keep the brain alert. So, the next time you’re struggling to concentrate, pop in some minty-fresh gum, and get back to studying!
4) Immerse yourself in the language.
A 2012 study shows that students who immerse themselves in a language instead of only learning in a classroom setting are more likely to absorb it. Furthermore, the study suggests that immersion can help the brain process the language like a native speaker. While not everyone can pack up and move to a Spanish-speaking country, there are ways to simulate immersion around your home. Try speaking and writing in Spanish whenever possible, along with listening to music and radio shows in the language. This will help you bring a little Spanish immersion into your life.
5) Say it aloud.
This study shows that people who say information out loud are more likely to remember it than people who read everything silently. The study also suggests that our brain likes to remember oddball information, especially when it’s said aloud. Speaking out loud is not only necessary for sharpening your pronunciation, but it’s also one of the fastest ways to learn Spanish words and phrases.
6) Don’t stress; get some sleep.
Even though cramming for an exam or your trip to Spain might seem like a good idea, studies have shown that sleep is more beneficial than extra hours of studying. Getting a sufficient amount of sleep in the days leading up to your exam or trip will help you to recall information better. Your brain needs time to process the information that you take on throughout the day. Eventually, you may even start dreaming in Spanish!
Here’s a recap of all these Spanish study hacks in one handy infographic:
So, what’s the best way to learn Spanish? It’s ultimately up to your own learning style and language goals. Working with a qualified Spanish tutor will help you build up your language skills in the most efficient way possible. They’ll present you with a customized study plan that considers your own unique approach to the language. Then, you can apply these hacks to maximize your study time!
Ready to start your Spanish learning journey? Online classes make it possible to connect with the perfect Spanish tutor from anywhere in the world. Search for a tutor today!