Using Your Vocabulary Materials Effectively

20.05.2016 |

Episode #4 of the course Speak English fluently: How to create your successful English study plan by Sabrina Rose


In order to be productive and efficient with your English studies, it’s really important to be organized so that you can review your notes as much as possible.

If you are organized and have all your materials easily available, you will be more likely to review more often.

Reviewing often is so important for language learning. I have to do this myself with English even though I am a native speaker. I make sure to surround myself with English language videos, books, audio, and people I can talk to regularly in English. I have to do this because I live in a non-English-speaking country (Mexico), but I NEED to stay 100% fluent to continue to be an effective English tutor and English coach.

You can organize your materials a couple different ways:

1. Organize your phrases, chunks, and sentences in a notebook or with paper flashcards.
I’ve never used any flashcard apps, and I still became conversationally fluent in Japanese in about 6 months. I really liked using (and still prefer) paper over apps. Here I am with my favorite tools: a pretty little flashcard keyring, very similar to a few that I used when I was learning Japanese, and my favorite notebook for notes:

4.1 Speak English fluently

2. Organize your phrases, chunks, and sentences in an app.
Yes! Let’s make technology work for us! There are so many apps out there that can organize all your phrases for you. Many apps use what is called an SRS—spaced repetition system—where the app itself “remembers” which phrases you need to practice again and which phrases were most difficult for you.

I’m not a programmer, so don’t ask me how the systems and algorithms work, but I do know that all of my most successful students use apps in some way to help them learn, practice, and review English.

Next up are some steps you can take today to organize all your English notes.

Steps to take today:

Step 1: Take out all your physical English study materials
Maybe you only have an old dusty grammar book or some random flashcards lying around. You might also have an iPod or MP3 player you haven’t used in a while. Look around your house for an unused notebook that you could dedicate to your English studies if you don’t have one yet. Whatever materials you have, gather all your items together in one place.

Step 2: Place your most useful English materials in locations where you are likely to use them
Here are some examples:
– Place your English books and magazines next to a comfortable chair where you like to read books anyway
– Put one of your small English notebooks in your purse or backpack so you can review at lunchtime or on the way to work
– Upload some interesting audio tracks or podcasts onto your iPod or MP3 player and put it next to your keys so that you remember to bring it with you in the car

Step 3: Create an account in a flashcard app or program (or edit your online flashcards if you already use an app)
Some of the most popular are Anki, Mosalingua, and Mental Case.

Here are the links for these apps and programs:
AnkiApp (for phones and devices) and Anki for desktop computers
Mosalingua (the apps) and Mosalingua for desktop (to be released soon)
Mental Case (only on iOS and soon to be called “Studies”)

Start with just one of these apps today and try it out!

Remember to ask yourself: What learning device, app, and even kind of pen do I LOVE? If you love Google Drive, use it with your English materials. If you love Moleskine notebooks, use one for your English notes.

Try out something that makes you excited to study.

And speaking of studying, tomorrow I’m going to tell you why you need to STOP studying. Intrigued? You’ll learn more in tomorrow’s lesson.



Recommended book:

“650+ English Phrases for Everyday Speaking: Phrases for Beginner and Intermediate English Learners” by Janet Gerber


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