Practical guide to creating a study plan

I started learning French a few months ago, on an ad-hoc basis. Mostly out of curiosity and enjoyment. After some time I realised I was spending time and energy each day into deciding what to learn rather than actually learning. So I decided to create a study plan.

I never actually created any study plans when I was learning Korean (oops) but decided that it wasn’t productive spending so much time and energy each day deciding what to study. I trawled through some websites on how creating a study plan as a beginner. After looking through a few I realised there was way too much high level philosophical fluff and not enough practical instructions on how to actually create a meaningful study plan.

I decided to create one from scratch and am quite happy with the result. Enough to break my inactive streak here of 6 months to share with anyone reading. There are three steps and I’ll go through them below.

Step 1: Come up with a list of your learning activities

List all the activities, and then create seven more columns to the left, one for each day. Then note how often you’re going to do each activity each week. The point here isn’t to say you must do grammar on day 1 and day 4. Instead its just to visualise how many times you want to do grammar in one full week, which is shown in the total column.

Repeat for each activity.

Step 2: Classify activities into learning types

The four learning types are reading, listening, writing and speaking. For me, it is essential you’re doing all four and not skimping out any type.

For example on day 1 I classify grammar and Duolingo both as reading activities. Repeat for each day and in a full week I have 6 sessions of reading, 4 for listening, 2 for writing, 2 for speaking. I’m happy with this breakdown.

If you find that you are lacking a particular learning type, you will need to go back to step 1 and find a learning activity that can supplement it.

Step 3: Create a weekly planner

Your weekly planner is for you to check that you’re sticking with your study plan. Each time you perform a learning activity, you can put a mark next to it. At the end of the week you can count of up the marks against your target figure.

Your planner should be between 4 – 6 weeks long, no longer. Every 4 – 6 weeks you need to review your study plan. This is particularly true in the first year when you are developing rapidly. What activity or resource that may have helped last month may no longer be relevant.

Final notes about my personal study plan

Grammar: I used a grammar text book and anything I can find online. I generally make notes of what I want to study for during grammar sessions during my other sessions when I encounter grammar I don’t understand, and I prioritise what I want to learn first.

Audiobook: I bought this online for French and it has elements of listening, speaking practise and written Q&A. For Korean listening resources, I created a list which you can visit here:. For the speaking component you can repeat after what you hear. You may want to record yourself so you can compare yourself to the original recording.

Duolingo: I use Duolingo like a flashcard system as a substitute for an actual flash card system. I still do about 10 minutes of Korean flash cards a day and so I don’t have the time or patience to do the same for French. I also quite like that Duolingo tends to use repetitive vocabulary whilst introducing them with new grammar elements as well.

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