IWTYAL 277: How to supplement university language courses

Ellen asks: How should I supplement my university language course?

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Myles says:
25 Sep 2018 21:19

I didn’t study languages at uni, but certainly one trick I am finding increasingly useful is essentially brain-dumping.

In Ellen’s case, for example, if she’s worrying about grammar points or specific vocabulary, then just sit down with a blank piece of paper and write them all out. There doesn’t need to be any structure or logic to the order you’re listing things, just keep writing as you think of anything else you want to improve or learn until you can’t think of anything else.

Once you’ve done that, it’ll immediately take a weight off your shoulders and you can then make a decision about what you want to do. Then if you do decide to go and read a book, watch a film, or whatever, you can do so without having to worry about it. It’s written down for you to come back to, so you can focus better since you’re no longer juggling all these things in your head. And if you do decide to work on that list, it gives you not only something tangible to work with and start crossing off, but also something that you can look at for any patterns – any particular grammar points you want to go over with a tutor or other students, or any subjects that you would find interesting to read while working on your vocabulary.

Of course, one lesson I can give you from uni: if you do decide to make that list, probably best not the night before a test.

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