Repeating the lessons in your free time is the first and most important way to study English. Just by repeating the lessons, you will get out much more out of your lessons, and thus more out of your money. Like with everything, the “how” and “how much” can only be decided by yourself. A housewife might be able to spare half an hour in the course of the morning to sit down and study in peace, but will have no time in the late afternoon and in the evening. On the other hand, a busy employee will find it hard to sit down in the morning and spare twenty minutes for studying, but he might be able to use the time riding the train to and from work effectively. A high school student might find some time here and there for studying, but in testing seasons he will have to study for school and no time to study English extra. So, the choice on “how to study” and “how much to study” is an individual choice and might change from week to week.
Here are some ideas and tips on how to repeat the lessons.
1) Use your short term memory. Generally, the short term memory will keep information stored for about 24 hours. Then it will forget. By repeating the lessons the next day (best in the morning) you can reactivate the information from you short term memory and, at least in theory, the contend of the lesson should then be stored in the medium term memory. (Real life is not the simple, but repeating the next day really helps a lot.) When you repeat the lessons, it is important to USE your memory. It is better not just to open the notebook and read through the notes again. If you have the time, put the closed notebook next to you. Have an empty, white page and a pen ready. Then try to remember what you have learned and practiced in the last lesson. Write it down one more time – as far as you can remember. It will need some time to start to remember so plan for the time to concentrate for a while. If you have problems to remember what you did in the last lesson, imagine yourself entering the school again – it will give you a starting point. Once you remember something, more and more memories will enter your mind. After you feel that you have remembered as much as you can, it is time to open your notebook and compare the results of remembering with your notes from the lesson. It is a good idea to repeat this practice one more time the day before the next lesson and then again and again after ever longer periods of time to get the information into the long term memory. If used diligently, this is a very very powerful tool for learning.
2) Reorganize your notes to your convenience. I have got this technique from my junior high school and high school students. Some of them have an exemplary way of taking notes. During the lessons, they take rough notes – just write down everything that comes up. At home, they reorganize them in a logical way and rewrite them clean in there notebooks. Important information, like grammar rules and main phrases, they highlight in color. Vocabulary with Japanese meaning on the side. Example dialogs get their own space. Great technique. Nice tool for learning
3) Reading through old notes. Even though 1) and 2) are very effective ways of learning, most people just do not have the time to sit down and learn regularly in that way. But nearly everybody can use the time in the train to read through last night’s lesson’s notes. Speaking out dialogs and phrases again is very good to reach more depth in the repetition, but not really possible on a busy train. Adjust the learning stile to the environment. Taking the eyes of the notes and seeing the just read phrases with the “inner eye” again is also a good way to repeat an memorize – and quiet.
4) Irregularly and when there is time, flip through old notes. Forgotten phrases, words and lessons will come back to the mind. Forgetting and reading again is a nice way to get something into the long term memory. This practice can be done irregularly and chaotically, so it is very good for busy people.