After consistently studying Duolingo Spanish since November 2013, I finally was able to reach the 200 consecutive day mark a few weeks ago. Along the way I’ve picked up some good tips and hints to stay motivated, organized, and increase my success rate learning.
Early Frustrations While Studying
After doing my Duolingo lessons for a few months I began to plateau and feel frustrated at the increasing complexity of the lessons. New words were being introduced very fast but I was having a hard time remembering all of them and staying focused and motivated. I knew that I needed to use some sort of flash card system to keep those new words fresh in my mind and to help me memorize them. I tried using old school index cards like back in high school, but those soon became too numerous and they aren’t exactly convenient for quick and easy travel. There also isn’t a good way to organize them or make quick changes on the fly. :: cue the dramatic voice-over :: There has to be a better way!
Finding An Awesome Solution
I figured with all of the advances in technology and learning in the past several years there had to be some convenient app that I could use to digitally make flash cards. I did some research online and tried out a few different study apps before settling on a pretty cool one called StudyBlue.
StudyBlue is awesome because there is a web version, tablet, and mobile allowing me to create flash cards quickly and study whenever is convenient for me. Stuck waiting on someone (like in a doctor’s office)? I simply whip out my phone and do a quick 20 question quiz to jog my memory. Anytime I come across a new word in my Duolingo lessons I add it to my StudyBlue deck for review later. This has helped me memorize countless vocab words and keep them fresh in my mind. Because I’m reviewing flashcards outside of my Duolingo lessons, it also has helped me stay motivated with the Duolingo lessons and progress faster.
In addition to the awesome level of convenience, StudyBlue also allows you to group your flash cards into separate folders based on different topics. My folders are based around each section of my Duolingo lessons (ex: adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, etc.). Any time I come across a new word I don’t know I simply make a flash card of it to review later. StudyBlue also has quizzes for each folder you make so you can test yourself to he how you’re progressing with your learning.
Don’t Forget a Good Translation App
Another tool I realized I soon needed was a good translation book or app. Again, I prefer something online for ease of access and Google Translate is one of the most popular ones online. But I soon found Google Translate isn’t as accurate as I want. I remembered using a site called FreeTranslation.com over ten years ago back in high school. Luckily enough, not only is FreeTranslation.com still up and running but it seems far more accurate then Google Translate.
When I’m using Duolingo, often times I’ll type out an answer to a Duolingo lesson and run it through FreeTranslation to see how close I am to the accurate translation. FT has helped me realize where my sentences are very close to being accurate or very far off.
Since incorporating both StudyBlue and FreeTranslations.com into my Duolingo lessons I’ve found myself much more motivated and I’m moving much closer to completing the course. The flash cards have helped me keep new words Duolingo is throwing at me fresh in my mind. I’m still a ways off from being fluent but I’m so much further along in my understanding of the language than when I started.
The above tools work for me, but they are by no means the definitive answer to how to stay motivated and succeed at Duolingo. If you have any suggestions or other ideas leave a comment! My other posts on trying to learn Spanish via Duolingo are here, here, and here.
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