Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Vocabulary Studying Method

Learning a language is a daunting task. I realized at the onset that I would have to quickly find an efficient way of studying, or be doomed. Trying to memorize a whole chapter's worth of words just wasn't working for me. I would write the words down on flashcards and just attempt to memorize them all at once, but I realized that while some words came very quickly, most did not. On top of that, there were a few that I just couldn't remember.

Okay, I'd like to take an opportunity to rant a little here. Whats the deal with books that put lots of similar words together in the same chapter... for instance, to open, to close, to turn on, to turn off. Putting a bunch of similar seeming words and their opposites together into one group of words to study messes with my brain. Am I the only one for whom this seems to make things extra difficult?

Anyways, back to the studying methodology. It dawned on me that I could memorize small batches of words and build up from there. Now the way I study is to take a stack of notecards, and take the first six. I memorize those, put them aside in a pile (I'll call it the "memorized pile"), and take the next six. I then memorize those, and go back to the memorized pile to review them and make sure I have forgotten any. If I have forgotten some, I put them aside in a "forgotten pile", and then put all the memorized cards up to this point into the memorized pile. I then take six more, and memorize them. I then go back through the memorized pile and make sure I haven't forgotten any, and if I have then I put them in the forgotten pile. I keep doing this until all I am left with are the two stacks, memorized and forgotten. I then repeat the process with just the forgotten cards. Once I complete this if there are any really difficult stragglers left over, I focus on studying them for a couple minutes, then mix the cards up again and repeat until I don't have any more problems.

1 comment:

Keith said...

Hey, I feel exactly the same way as you do about the books introducing pairs of words together! Such as when you get "left" and "right" together. You know it's either left or right but you can't remember which. And this problem plagues you for quite some time. Instead, only one of them should be introduced, and after you are really familiar with it, then the other one should be revealed.