How to learn better

As the vocab tests are quite close, here some hints how to learn (vocab).

Learn regularly!
The night before the test is not the best time to start learning. Actually, it's best time to finish learning. Learn new vocab, when it is introduced in class. The vocab booklet organizes new words according to the exercises in the book. Use this important tool.

Well, this hint is probably not very helpful right now. What to do now? Here are some techniques that help learning words.

  • Organize your vocab list semantically, not alphabetically. So, you'll learn the words that belong together together. For example learn the words: der Apfel - die Äpfel, die Orange - die Orangen, die Melone - die Melonen together. And use headlines in the list.
  • Learn words in pairs or groups. That works especially well for adjectives. Learn the opposite pairs (bright - dark, smart - stupid). Or think about verbs like to whisper - to speak - to shout. Learn such words together as well.
  • Use sample sentences. For example, don't just learn the verb "kommen", learn a sample sentence such as "Ich komme aus Deutschland." as well. Such sentences give context and you'll be able to figure out the meaning, even if you forgot the translation.
  • Use additional visual cues. E.g., connect the gender with colors. Either print a list like this:
    der Mann, die Männer - man, husband

    die Frau, die Frauen - woman, wife, Mrs., Ms.
    das Kind, die Kinder - child

    or print the nouns on paper with different colors (e.g. male nouns on blue paper, feminine nouns on pink paper, neuter nouns on yellow paper).
    If you use different lists, don't forget to sort the list semantically.
  • Use body movement as cues.Again, learning the gender. Do a Artikelgymnastik in the morning. Repeat some German nouns and connect them with body movements. E.g.
    maskuline nouns - knee bend
    feminine nouns - trunk bend
    neuter nouns - rotate the arms
    Very important! Say the nouns aloud!
  • Use post its in your room. Write all kind of words on post its and decorate your room. E.g., your TV set could be decorated using the following words: "der Fernseher, die Fernseher", "fernsehen", "schwarz", "Thriller - spannend", "American Idol - langweilig" ...

Some hints on learning in General.

  • Expose yourself as often as possible with situation where you have to apply your knowledge. Knowledge is useless, unless you use it in real-life. If you study civil engineering, explain, why a bridge has a certain shape, when you see it. If you study history, try to explain why something happend, e.g. in a museum. If you study physics, explain why an aircraft is flying and how to calculate the take-off speed of the aircraft you are flying, when travelling ...If you learn German, listen to German music, sing German songs, read German newspaper and magazines ...
  • Do not rely on textbooks and teachers only. Try to figure out, how something works just by thinking. Then check the textbook or discuss the issue with your teacher.
  • - to be continued -

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