1. How your brain works...

When you are self-studying, or doing homework, different people do things differently. Most people do it the wrong way—maybe this sounds familiar:

You don't do anything all week. Then, on Sunday, you study for 5 hours to compensate or to "catch up".

Is this you? 

This is one of the worst things you can do. If you exercise, would you not go to the gym all week, then go on Sunday and exercise intensively for 5 hours? 

No, you wouldn't. What would happen to your body? 

It would be destroyed.

It's no different with your brain. 

Your brain is a muscle; you have to work on it, build it up and keep it strong. The same as going to the gym, if you don't do anything for a week and then try to do 5 hours of intensive work with your brain, you won't learn anything. After the first hour, you're less and less likely to remember anything that you try to learn.

It's much more effective to do a little bit every day than doing a lot once per week. The “EVERY DAY” part is the part that will really help you to improve.

Also, as with exercising, you can't just work on one area—Imagine only ever working on your arms and shoulders! Your body will be very unbalanced.

Which is what happens with most people when they try to learn. With language learning, you need to improve a range of skills. Most people make the mistake of focusing only on trying to learn grammar and new words. But to master all of the levels and become proficient, you need all of your skills to be balanced. It’s no good having a great range of vocabulary if you don’t know how to put those words into sentences correctly, or if your listening skills are so weak that you don’t recognise when natives use those words in their speech.

The tips on the following pages are all things which are easy to do, practical, and can be made enjoyable, if you truly want to learn.