(Many students make the mistake of taking a lower level class in hopes of getting a good grade but this usually backfires, especially towards the end of the semester.)
Purchase your textbook immediately.
This should be done before classes begin. This is not a class in which you can get by by taking good notes and listening attentively. If you need to save money, contact your professor as soon as possible to find out how (the LRC staff also have information on how you may do this).
Commit to learning the language.
Attitude is the biggest factor of success. Be positive and determined. Make it a personal challenge.
Make it a habit.
Build your day-to-day studying (vocabulary, verb conjugations, adjective endings, etc.) into your day at a regular time - just like exercise. Flashcards are a great way to build your language study into your everyday life. The LRC can provide you with a link to Quizlet flashcards (and language memory games). These can be done on-line, on your phone or can be printed out for review on paper. And yes, there is an iPhone / iPad app for it! Suggestions: Study over your morning coffee / breakfast, over lunch, before bed, during work breaks, whenever you are waiting (in a line, outside of class, at the bus stop, during commercial breaks, etc.)
Do your homework - on time, every single assignment.
This also means you need your textbook and workbook materials immediately. These are not optional. They are required for a reason. Suggestions: Do/Start your homework the same day it is assigned.
Prepare for class.
Look ahead in your textbook and follow your syllabus to see what pages you will likely be covering in the next class and prepare for these new topics. Suggestions: For vocabulary, use paper flashcards or electronic flashcards: iLrn flashcards [requires computer] or Quizlet flashcards, learn, speller, space race game [can be done on smart phone or on computer] are some electronic options. Quizlet flashcards can also be printed out, or write out word lists repeatedly, read vocabulary outloud repetitively, label the real world around you with sticky notes bearing vocabulary words. For new grammar, look for German grammar videos on YouTube. The LRC has a playlist of some great YouTube videos for German Grammar.
Join one of the LRC's German Study Groups.
These groups proved to be very successful last semester as part of our pilot project with Spanish. We are expanding it to include German 011, 012, 103 & 104 this semester (and all other languages!).
Help us figure out how best to schedule these sessions to fit your schedule! (It won't be easy given the number of levels and languages we will need to accomodate, but we are determined!) Your professor will circulate a list asking you and your classmates to indicate when you would want to parcitipate in a study group to help us in scheduling these groups at appropriate times. If you missed your first class, drop by the LRC to add your name to the lists!
Talk to people you know in your community who speak German.
Practice with your pet! (no stress or risk of embarrassment)
Use Verbling.com. (At the time of the creation of this page,) Connecting to a native speaker conversation partner is a free service. Verbling.com, however, is a commerical product and students must exercise judgement in whether or not this product is safe and should always practice safe Internet practices when communicating with strangers.
Figure out your learning style(s) and make those work for you.
Visual: These learners prefer to use pictures, images and spatial understanding - label the world around you, and add pictures to vocabulary flashcards (if not already included in Quizlet cardsets)
Aural: These learners prefer acoustic stimuli - watch German TV online, listen to German radio, watch German YouTube Videos, use the Speller function of Quizlet.
Kinesthetic: These learners prefer to use their body, hands, gesturing and touching - stand up and move around when studying; use the Learn function of Quizlet.
Verbal: These learners prefer speech and writing - study groups, conversation partner, use German in real life
Mathematical: These learners prefer using logic and reasoning. - Look for speech patterns, look for sound patterns, find out cultural impact on the language.
Interpersonal: These learners prefer to learn and function within groups - study groups, practice dialoguing
Intrapersonal: These learners prefer self-study and to learn alone - ask the LRC staff for technology tools for self-study and for mobile apps
Make learning German fun and part of your regular personal interests and daily activities (you won't even think you are learning, but you are!)
Are you a serious gamer? Up the anti by playing your games in German! Switch your gaming console to German and see how much language you can learn in context while playing games you would normally play anyway!
Change the language on your mobile phone or in simple, rote acts like ATM banking.
Do you ever use online forums to find out information about a hobby or personal interest? Try looking at forums in German!
Change your web search engine to the German version (e.g., google.de, de.yahoo.com, bing.de). Not only will you learn some German, but you may be amazed at how your search results change.
How much time does a student need to spend studying to be successful?
Suggestion: 20 minutes a day reviewing vocabulary & rote grammar like verb conjugations (can be done as 20 min solid block or be broken down into four 5 minute blocks); 10 minutes practicing speaking phrases/mini dialogues per day or 50 minutes per week with a study group; 30 minutes homework after each class, and 20 minutes prep time before each class. Time occassionally needed for projects or compositions. Adds up to approximately 2-3 hours of study time per hour spent in class, depending on students' focus and attitude. *If the suggestions above are followed, the need for "cram" studying (not effective for language learning) will be eliminated. A review of notes, and trickier questions will be sufficient.