Channel 4 Learning

Homework High
Study Skills
Study SkillsLanguages

Study Skills offers tips on how to revise and cope with course work

Below are some of the most common problems you will come across when studying a foreign language, together with some tips to help you on the road to success.

I find oral tests really scary...
Take every opportunity you can to speak the language.
  • Volunteer in your class oral practice.
  • Access oral skills websites on the internet.
  • Ask your teacher for practice exam questions.
  • Study grammar (see below). You need to speak in the past, present and future tenses for top marks at GCSE.
I find listening tests hard because they speak so fast...
Practise listening regularly.
  • Get some foreign language tapes or CDs from the school library, your teacher or bookshops and work on your listening skills on the bus, in the gym, in your room - anywhere!
  • Try using listening exercises on the internet.
  • If you get the opportunity to go on a school exchange in the foreign language country, take it. Not only will you improve your listening (and oral) skills, you'll make new international friends into the bargain!
What about reading and writing in the language? I can't remember and spell all the words.

To remember vocabulary
  • Make flashcards of new words and put them on the wall of your room or carry them around with you to learn in a quiet moment.
  • Learn 10 words and get a friend to dictate them to you. Check them together. Do the same for your friend.
  • Make cards that have English words on one side, and the foreign language translation on the other. Lay them face down with the English words visible. Guess the foreign language words before flipping them over to check.
To improve reading comprehension
  • Read the whole passage through first, and the questions you're being asked. Look for the gist of the meaning in this first reading.
  • Don't look up every word, it takes too long. Guess the meaning from context and check key words.
  • Learn vocabulary regularly (see below)
To improve writing
  • Find opportunities to write in the foreign language. How about a diary, a shopping list, describing your favourite things/ celebrities/ hobbies?
  • Ask your teacher if he/she can find you a penfriend.
  • Pay attention to detail, e.g. accents, verb endings, adjective agreements, gender.
I find it difficult to understand grammar
Develop good working strategies to learn grammar.
  • Grammar skills are the 'building blocks' of a language. Learn little and often to lay good foundations. Four half hour sessions a week are more productive than a single 2 hour session.
  • Look for clear grammar explanations: visit the HH library. Do a search for the grammar point you don't understand and you'll be able to access lots of information.
  • Look for grammar exercises: on the web, in books or from your teacher. Set yourself a specific task and carry it out. When you've finished stop and give yourself a pat on the back!
[ Back to Top ]

Bonne chance!
Viel Glück!
Buena suerte!
Good luck!

BBC Schools revision site
Test bites, quick quizzes and games to reinforce how much you know

BBC Onion Street
Community website: talk to people to own age, and get advice on revision technique and dealing with school stress

This web page contains links to other websites which are not under the control of and are not maintained by Channel 4 Television. Channel 4 Television is not responsible for the content of these sites and does not necessarily endorse the material on them.