I always try to be as organized as possible when I’m studying foreign languages. I started learning Korean a bit over three years ago- I think-; I picked up Japanese again last year and started learning Chinese about a month ago. I still remember when I first started Korean I was all over the place and it took me almost a year to get some semblance of progress and order. I think all my trials and errors during that time helped me figure out how to plan efficiently for the additional two languages. I usually try to tailor most of studies to a specific goal, but still maintain some sort of balance between skills.
My first step is to establish a definite short term goal (something you can actually measure and test). Right now these are my goals for each language:
Korean: Pass at least TOPIK II Level 3 in October/ November 2016.
Japanese: Be able to write a simple 5-sentence-long paragraph.
Chinese: Master the Chinese tones and be able to distinguish between them when I hear them.
My second step consists of figuring out where I was failing. First by asking myself what are my weaknesses and then how to remedy that using my strengths (and change strategies if one doesn’t work).
Problem: I can’t do the writing section of TOPIK because I lack vocabulary.
Solution: Read, read, read and read. Then, write, write, write and write.
Problem: I can hear the difference but I can’t produce it.
Solution: Listen and practice the tones as much as possible while a friend corrects me.
Problem: Lack of pretty much everything, but especially vocabulary.
Solution: Write the vocabulary down and make up simple sentences using the vocabulary.
My third step is to figure out how much free time I have and how much I can dedicate to each language. In this case, Korean is my main language so I tend to devote a lot of time daily to it and alternate between dates among the other two. For example, I dedicate 3 hours daily to Korean and study the rest for an hour on alternate days.
My last step consists of figuring out the material I will be using and then spreading them out. At the end I get something like this:
Korean (each block 1 hour):
|Grammar||V: list/quiz||R: Yonsei||Grammar||V: list/quiz||R: News||W: TOPIK|
|R: Novel||R: News||Writing||L: Drama||R: Novel||W: TOPIK||L: Drama|
Chinese/ Japanese (each block 30 mins):
My study blocks change once I have accomplished my goal and set another one. That’s pretty much how I manage to study all three. Then find out how much time I have during a period of time.
That’s it! Until next time!~