Tips for Studying a Foreign Language

We asked Ashley our Spanish tutor to give us some advice about studying a foreign language. Ashley has a M.A. in education and taught Spanish for several years at a local high school.

1. Pay attention in school and complete all homework assignments.  Homework reinforces what you learned that day in class and helps to solidify the concept. When reviewing homework in class, always be sure to correct your mistakes so you can use the assignment as a study tool later (block out the correct answers and see if you can complete the assignment again). 

2. Immerse yourself in the language. Speak in the target language as frequently as possible. If you have a friend or family member who is fluent, converse with him or her.

3. When it comes time for the test, see your teacher with any questions you may have. Be sure you have all class notes, previous quizzes and tests, and homework assignments so that you can use them as study guides. Use outside resources such as, and for extra practice with both grammar and vocabulary.

4. Learn your vocabulary words! Foreign languages are cumulative meaning that each chapter builds upon the next. You must keep up with the vocabulary in order to best learn the language. When memorizing vocabulary, make flashcards. Draw a simple picture on each card – doing so will help you remember the word’s meaning.

5. Practice, practice, practice. Note the repetition; writing, speaking, and listening to the target language will help you best retain the information.