Evaluate Your Level
Our past lessons have focused on tips, tricks, and methods to learn a language. Now it’s time to talk about evaluation. It’s important to understand where you are in order to optimize your time and future studies.
When should you self-evaluate?
It’s not necessary to evaluate your learning every day or even every week. You won’t be able to see a substantial difference between two days. Instead, try evaluating yourself every one to three months.
But how can I do that?
Go back to the beginning and look at your language goals. Did you write down specific items you wanted to accomplish, or did you use can-do statements from organizations like the ALTE, ACTFL, and JLPT? Did you plan to achieve the A2 in three months, learn 100 words a week, or be able to write a query letter in a month?
If you are using a checklist, simply check off the boxes for each item you can successfully perform. If you want a certificate, try taking an online practice exam. This will give you an idea of what to work on.
When it comes time to evaluate your performance, it’s important to have good records. Make sure to log the following:
• How much time you spend a day
• What time a day you practice
• What you’ve learned
• What topics you had a problem with
If you don’t do as well on these practice exams as you would have liked, you can go through your notes to see which methods or goals did not suit your needs.
If you want to evaluate your weekly or monthly growth through short activities, here are some ideas:
• Record yourself speaking and compare it to an earlier recording. How has your pronunciation changed? Can you use more vocabulary than before? Can you form more complex sentences?
• Write an essay and have it checked. Did you make fewer mistakes than last time? Different mistakes? Do you see any recurring errors?
• Create a timed test based on what you’ve learned and take it a week later. Did you pass? What do you need to work on?
Is that all?
Yes and no. It can help to have a reward system. This will keep you motivated to do well. Whenever you accomplish a task or see improvement, try buying yourself something from a wishlist, ordering something special to eat, or watching a movie (maybe in your target language?).
After all, learning a language is hard work.
Tomorrow we will cover how to overcome the largest obstacle for language learners—the intermediate plateau.
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