Language teachers repeat themselves a lot. Some of the things they advise, like: learn your vocabulary and do grammar exercises, can be dull. Others are incredibly simple and helpful, here are the 5 golden-rules that you ACTUALLY need to obey to cope with GCSE and A-level.
- NEVER, EVER, EVER use google translate. Language teachers repeat this, and students think, “yeah, whatever..” but seriously, google translate is wrong 99% of the time- and at A-level especially, you absolutely will not get through by exploiting this tool. In place of it use word reference.com, which is an online dictionary- and learn to write yourself (it is much more useful after all)
- ABSOLUTELY DO IMMERSE YOURSELF. Another thing that teachers say a lot is ‘read newspapers, listen to the radio and immerse yourself in the language”. At first this can seem unhelpful because you do not get immediate reward but it really is worth doing, and eventually pays dividends. It is also fascinating to see what the foreign press says about events that happen in your own country.
- FOR BEGINNERS AND REVISION Use sites like duolingo and babbel. It seems silly, but these websites use an interactive method that keeps you engaged. It won’t cut it for A-level students, but if you want to learn some basics or revise a specific grammar rule the technique can help.
- MOTIVATION, MOTIVATION, MOTIVATION Learning a foreign language WILL inevitably involve blood, sweat and tears. You will definitely feel like giving up at times and think “I am not even good at this anyway, this is so difficult!”, but plough through the pain. The rewards are amazing!
- CHECK using a PROPER DICTIONARY When you write in a foreign language it is very easy to make stupid mistakes, you will look at some mistakes and think “How on earth could I have been so dumb!”. This is precisely why you should check every piece of work you ever do with a proper dictionary. For GCSE students this is less important, but for A-level students have a big dictionary- it will widen your vocabulary and more importantly will have great verb tables!
So in short the 5 golden rules are: No google translate, immersion, interactive learning, motivation and checking