Vocab Tips: How to Remember Words While Self-Studying a Language

If you are someone who self-studies and is looking for handy vocab tips to remember words, this blog post is for you! Many people around the world self-study a language, yet don’t attend a class or join a conversation group. This is why we want to provide free, useful tips on how to stay on top of your language practice!

Join a Class or Conversation Group!

First, if you aren’t already, we highly recommend that you try taking a language class, join a conversation class, or try to find some people to talk to in Spanish (or the language you’re learning) at least once a month. The more of a beginner you are, the more often you should participate in classes, conversations, and/or meetups. 

We lose so much by not practicing daily and participating in a class or conversation allows you to take the time and practice. In a class, a good teacher would make you repeat words and have conversations with others. As a result, you learn to repeat the same vocabulary over and over again and then you can better incorporate those words into your daily life. Julieta herself is a language learner and when she stops having her language classes for more than 3 weeks, she loses some vocabulary. It’s imperative to self-study and practice daily in your free time, but joining a class and having conversations can really help you in those beginning phases!

(Conversation group @ CRL)

Write it Out! Then repeat.

Secondly, when you’re just self-studying, writing down words, sentences, and difficult vocabulary is vital to remembering the words you struggle with. Start by choosing a topic (one word) and writing a text with simple, short sentences. For example:

  1. Choose a topic, like House
  2. Keep it in the present tense to make it simple.
  3. Create short sentences. Practice daily by repeating and having conversations or dialogues (even if they’re just in your head and to yourself).
    • I build houses. 
    • I close the windows every night. 
    • The heater warms the house. 
    • I have to water the plants often. 
  4. Then repeat that for other conjugations (i.e. “tu” for Spanish) etc.

If you’re a beginner and need more in-depth tips, checkout our blog post Step-by-Step Vocabulary for Beginners here! (Comes with a free downloadable/printable PDF sheet!)

Re-Read Important Notes and Lessons!

Additionally, read, read, and read some more! Not just anything — go back and re-read the lessons you have already done. Read them until you know what’s coming.

Read the notes you take out loud while you are studying. Writing and speaking out loud (rather than just reading in your head) while studying has been proven to help you learn better and improve your memory. If you practice vocab with the above tip of writing sentences, read out loud as you write!

If you need more help with vocab pronunciation, check out our Study Habit Series: Focusing on Pronunciation here!


Fourth tip: Talk to yourself in Spanish (or whatever language you’re learning). Imagine conversations in your head and try to talk it out with yourself. We recommend doing this at home, otherwise people might think you are crazy. However, if you don’t care what people think, then do it wherever you are! winking face

If you are buying food, practice saying the word of that food product out loud. If you are driving, describe what you see out loud. Try to pay attention to the words that don’t come to you easily. Look them up later. Take notes when you can!

If all else fails…

If all else fails, then repeat, 1-4 again! 

Or check out one more blog post Study Habits Series: Focusing on Learning Superb Vocabulary for more useful vocabulary tips!

Do you have a special way to learn new vocabulary? Or do you want to see if your technique could use some improvement? Email them to us; we’d love to hear from you!


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