4 tips to keep improving during ‘slow learning’ days

Learning overload is a normal and natural stage of the learning process. Don’t let it discourage you.


1. If you really can’t study today, then don’t

Pressure to focus on your books or learning apps will probably lead to poor results, compared to the effort. Better focus on relaxing activities based on the target language:

  • listen to music, sing along if you want
  • watch a movie, with or without subtitles
  • read an interesting webpage in the target language

Treat these activities as fun time, not learning time. Although they are good strategies that should figure in your study plan anyway, they are not as daunting or stressful.


2. Save time on the answers

The more you practice, the better you learn. Exercises, mock tests, writing, grammar drills…everything helps.

During slow days, however, hard work is counter-productive. Instead of wasting time trying to remember or work out the answers by yourself, look them up.

A bad habit for normal study sessions, occasional cheating on quizzes is good for keeping you motivated.


3. Break the routine

If you are a morning person, try evenings. If you usually learn with audio, try with texts. If you normally focus on grammar rules, try creative writing. 

Any method is likely to help you, as long as it remains interesting and fresh. Also, variety is necessary for improving your overall language level.


4. Break the task

When you are tired, distracted, stressed or just unwilling to study, a day’s worth of learning material sounds like a huge task – and probably is.

Here is an easy method to deal with it: divide the material in manageable parts.

Instead of studying ‘Unit 3’ of your book, think of it as a multi-part task: a) text, b) vocabulary, c) use of language, d) cultural references and so on. The thought of doing only ‘a’ and ‘b’ or ‘c’ or ‘d’, will deceive you into studying the whole material, or at least a large part of it.