1. Review. I know it’s boring, but it’s absolutely essential to language learning. Don’t bother to learn new words if you aren’t going to review. It’s a waste of time if you aren’t committed to reviewing your material.
2. Listen. The more you listen, the more you’ll remember.
3. Use your new vocabulary or lose it! Concentrate on a few new words each day and try to use them in different sentences. I encourage my students to take a few extra minutes at the end of class to write a couple of sentences to help them remember the vocabulary. Use new vocabulary in conversation and writing. The more you use it, the easier it is to remember.
4. Learn how to paraphrase. Try describing a word with other words. I always give my students reasons for paraphrasing by giving them extra words to describe with. I encourage them to make notes in their textbooks by paraphrasing with synonyms and antonyms. Use sentences to describe your meaning.
5. Record something in English and repeat, repeat, repeat. Don’t just record your English class. Record a song or use an interesting podcast to challenge yourself. Keep repeating it until you can repeat it at the same speed as the native speaker. The more you repeat, the more fluent you will sound. You don’t realize how many mistakes you make until you listen to a recording of yourself.
6. Practice linking words and expressions. Use contractions and weakened forms whenever you can.
7. Read, read, read. Read something you’ll enjoy. Books, magazines and newspapers aren’t your only source for reading. English is everywhere. Learn a song or poem. Try a menu, a recipe or learn some funny jokes.
8. Read aloud. There’s no better way to practice and it will help you pick out mistakes.
9. Flashcards. They really do work! Make flashcards for eight to ten new vocabulary words once a week. Tape them to your wall and practice making a new sentence with them each day.
10. Recycle your vocabulary. Review, review, review! Don’t assume you’ve learned it after you think you’ve perfected it. Practice makes perfect.