Tips for Learning Spanish Efficiently

Tip #1 – Practice Spanish regularly

3 people sitting around a desk with studying materials on the desk.

This idea is key when learning any foreign language, and it is one of the most important tips for learning Spanish.

This is how our brains work: new information is stored in short-term memory, and, to transfer it into long-term memory to be able to use it in the future, we need to repeat this information (repeat new Spanish vocabulary and grammar, practice pronunciation repeatedly, etc.)

Without regular practice, you won’t be able to make fast and steady progress. This is why there are so many people who have been trying to learn Spanish for a long time and failing: they do not practice regularly enough.

Imagine you have learned some new vocabulary. If you try to use it the next day, you are likely to remember at least some, if not all, of the words. However, if you do it a week (or more) later, you will hardly remember any of the new words, and you’ll have to learn them again. Isn’t that a waste of time?

To avoid wasting your time and to make faster progress, practice Spanish regularly – and the more often, the better.

Tip #2 – Take advantage of mobile apps

Use Spanish learning apps written in the center of the image. Woman's hand tapping the mobile screen on the background.

We live in a world of technology, which is developing and changing practically every day, giving us more and more opportunities – including opportunities for learning Spanish.

Here are some of the advantages of using mobile apps:

  • You can study practically anywhere and anytime
  • Apps are often fun and interactive
  • You get immediate feedback and corrections

There are apps for practically anything: grammar, vocabulary, speaking, and other aspects of the Spanish language. You can find those that suit you and your goals most and use it in a way that is convenient for you.

Some of the popular apps worth checking out:

  • Duolingo
  • Babbel
  • Pimsleur
  • Busuu

Tip #3 – Listen a lot

A young woman sitting on a sofa and listening to audiobook.

When learning a foreign language, Spanish included, many people have problems with listening, and it seems to many that listening is hard. However, the problem is usually a lack of practice. That is why one of the key tips for learning Spanish is to listen a lot – as much as you can.

Listening is good not just for the sake of listening! It allows you, among other things,  to:

  • Expand your vocabulary and consolidate what you already know
  • Hear the grammar you’ve learned used in real-life situations
  • Improve your understanding
  • Improve your own pronunciation

There are a lot of listening resources available online for different tastes and levels of Spanish, and many of them are actually free.

If you are a beginner, you can start with some podcasts for beginners . You can also try listening to some audiobooks – this way you can combine listening to an interesting story with practicing Spanish listening.

Some of the free podcasts you can check out:

Tip #4 – Read a lot

No Spanish learning advice will be complete without a recommendation to read as much as you can in your target language.

Reading has a lot of advantages:

  • It is amazing for expanding vocabulary
  • There are books for different levels – you can find what matches yours
  • You can read anywhere and at any time
  • Reading is convenient – you can read a little if you have just 10-15minutes to spare, and you can read more if you have more time
  • There are books and stories of many different genres – you can always find something to your liking; you’ll never get bored

Reading is indeed crucial for mastering Spanish. If you have any doubts left.

Tip #5 – Practice with real-life language partners

Two girls and one guy standing on the street and having a conversation.

Of all the tips for learning Spanish, this might be the most important. To be able to use the language you need to… use the language. I know, it may sound primitive, but this is an essential idea.

A lot of people, when learning a foreign language, make the mistake of «waiting» before they can really use it. They want to learn a lot of vocabulary first. Or they wait until they truly master the grammatical system. Or they are afraid to make mistakes and wait until their overall language level improves. This is wrong.

First of all, your language level will improve very slowly unless you add real-life practice to the exercises you do. Practice adds an extra layer. Unlike the exercises that are structured and somewhat predictable, and also often focused on one particular aspect of Spanish, real-life practice is spontaneous, unpredictable, and makes you use all the skills you have, which provides for much faster progress.

Secondly, exercises are just that – exercises. It often happens that a student can do the tasks in a textbook or app perfectly, but cannot speak the language. You will never learn «the theory of speaking Spanish» – you need practice.

Of course, it can be hard to find a speaking partner, but here the Internet comes to the rescue once again: there are great language exchange websites and apps that can help you find a streaking partner.

Tip #6 – Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

A little boy holding palms covering his face. Question mark sign on the background.

This may be one of the most difficult tips for learning Spanish, as it is much easier said than done… But if you follow it, this is, in fact, a Spanish learning tip that will help you learn faster and more effectively.

When speaking Spanish with someone or even speaking at a Spanish lesson, a lot of people are worried about what their conversation partners would think about them. This is a useless worry!

If you are talking to a native speaker of Spanish, more often than not they will be glad to chat with someone who is learning their native language. They will compliment you on your level and encourage you. Even if they notice some mistakes that you make they will not make a big deal of them.

If you are speaking in class, you shouldn’t be worried about making mistakes either. This is what the learning process is for. If you don’t make mistakes and correct them – you don’t learn.

Tip #7 – Use different resources

Woman in glasses reading a book.

No matter how you are learning Spanish – with a private tutor, at a language school, with an app – no teacher or resource, no matter how great, is perfect.

For instance, a lot of resources and language apps have a narrow focus. They may be devoted to vocabulary or grammar only, or concentrate even on a narrower aspect, such as verbs. While these apps may be good, they won’t allow you to master Spanish.

Learning Spanish is not just learning vocabulary or grammar – you also need to develop reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. There is no one app that will allow you to do it, but you can combine 2 or 3 apps to practice different aspects of the language.

Even if you have a great teacher or go to a wonderful language school, adding another resource or two can be very beneficial. It will allow you to:

  • Supplement the lessons and practice what you have learned there
  • Learn vocabulary and grammar not used at the lesson
  • Study more often
  • Listen to different people with different accents to practice listening
  • Have extra practice outside the classroom

Tip #8 – Set goals and track your progress

Sticks on a board. "Makes things happen" written on the stick in the center.

If you don’t know where you are going it is hard to arrive at your destination. The same is true for learning Spanish. To be able to learn Spanish successfully and make faster progress, you need to know what you want to achieve.

Set your goal. Do you want to:

  • Achieve a certain level?
  • Improve your listening or speaking?
  • Prepare for a language test?
  • Study or work in a Spanish-speaking country?

If you know clearly what you want to achieve, you will be more motivated, and it will also allow you to organize your learning process more effectively to achieve your goals.

It is also important to track your process regularly. If you just do exercises and practice, you may not know for sure if you are making any progress. Test yourself regularly to see if you are growing – this will help you adjust if you are doing something wrong (or not going enough) and serve as extra motivation.

Tip #9 – Challenge yourself

A person standing on top of a mountain during the sunrise with a volcano on the background

Learning Spanish may be hard sometimes. However, one of the most useful tips for learning Spanish is not to go too easy on yourself.

I understand that sometimes you may be tempted to choose a simpler task or a resource for a slightly lower level, but this will be ultimately harmful for your learning. Resources, tasks, and apps that are too easy for you will not allow you to make any progress.

And what is worse, you are very likely to get bored with stuff that is too easy, and there is even a risk that you might give up learning Spanish altogether.

To avoid that, you need to challenge yourself:

  • Choose resources and task that match your level or a level slightly higher
  • Try practicing more today than you did tomorrow
  • Talk to native-speakers on different topics
  • Study topics you haven’t studied before
  • Try new resources and ways of learning

By challenging yourself, you keep up your motivation, and also make sure that you are constantly improving and making progress in learning Spanish.

Tip #10 – The king of all tips for learning Spanish – Have Fun!

No list of tips for learning Spanish is complete without this final piece of Spanish learning advice: enjoy the process, love the language you are learning, and have fun. 

It may not sound very scientific, but people learn better when they are learning something interesting, having fun, and have no negative thoughts associated with the process.

Try not to think of learning Spanish as something that you have to do and something that is hard. Instead, think of it as a challenging but fun activity.

To make the learning process even more enjoyable, you can do some of the following:

  • Choose apps/resources that you enjoy using
  • Choose books to read or podcasts to listen to that match your interests
  • Find speaking partners that share your interests and that you enjoy talking to
  • Listen to Spanish music and watch movies and TV-shows in Spanish

The important thing is to enjoy what you are doing. If you find enjoyment in learning Spanish, even the harder aspects will seem a little easier, and you are also likely to make faster progress and master Spanish more effectively.

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