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Tips for Success in Spanish 011, 012, 103 & 104

  1. Take a placement test and take the class in which you are placed.

    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.  You can take the placement exam on-line or in the LRC without an appointment during our normal hours.
  2. 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, then buy only the iLrn access code and access the eBook version of the textbook included in the iLrn access (the LRC staff have information on how you may do this).  Your iLrn access code also cannot be purchased used or rented or borrowed from a friend.  Plan for this.  If you have an exceptional financial situation, please see the LRC and the Department of Modern Languages the first week of classes (priority!)
  3. Commit to learning the language.

    Attitude is the biggest factor of success. Be positive and determined. Make it a personal challenge.
  4. Make it a habit. 

    Build your day-to-day studying (vocabulary, verb conjugations) 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.)
  5. Do your homework - on time, every single assignment. 

    This also means you need your textbook and iLrn access immediately.  These are not optional.  They are required for a reason. 
    Suggestions:  Do/Start your homework the same day it is assigned.  If the entire chapter of iLrn is assigned as a bulk, check the iLrn eBook pages covered in class to see what workbook / Lab Manual assignments that correspond with those topics (mouse icons at the bottom of the page).  Just be sure to verify that you have completed all of the workbook & Lab Manual pages before the due date!
  6. 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 [requires computer] or Quizlet [can be done on smart phone or on computer]), write out word lists repeatedly, read vocabulary outloud repetitively, label the real world around you with sticky notes bearing vocabulary words. For new grammar, make use of the Grammar Movies and Grammar Tutorials in iLrn (Practice icon in right menu) to be introduced to the grammar before class.  Or look for Spanish grammar videos on YouTube.  The LRC has a playlist of some great YouTube videos for Spanish Grammar.  
  7. Join one of the LRC's Spanish Study Groups.

    These groups proved to be very successful last semester as part of our pilot project with Spanish 011 & 012. We are expanding it to include 011, 012, 103 & 104 this semester (for all 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 two optional times 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!
  8. Use the study resources available to you through the LRC

  9. Make a friend, and practice your skills & challenge yourself to use new vocabulary in your daily life. 

    Suggestions of how:
    • Join a study group and meet other learners
    • Find a classmate with whom you have something in common and spend time out of class practicing speaking the Spanish you have learned.
    • Meet an international student studying on our campus. The International Student Office offers a service to connect KU students to KU international students as Conversation Partners for a language exchange.
    • Talk to people you know in your community who speak Spanish.
    • Practice with your pet! (no stress or risk of embarrassment)
    • Use (At the time of the creation of this page,) Connecting to a native speaker conversation partner is a free service., 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.
  10. Figure out your learning style(s) and make those work for you. 

    Note: Most learners do not use just one of these styles. The most success can often be found by using a mixture of many.
    • Visual: These learners prefer to use pictures, images and spatial understanding - label the world around you with stickies, and add pictures to vocabulary flashcards (if not already included in Quizlet cardsets)
    • Aural: These learners prefer acoustic stimuli - watch Spanish TV online, listen to Spanish radio, use the Speller function of Quizlet, do the lab manual activities in your workbook.
    • 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 Spanish 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, or check out our wiki of Spanish learning resources.  
  11. Make learning Spanish fun and part of your regular personal interests

    • Replace your current mobile or online game app with duolingo /!
    • Are you a serious gamer? Up the anti by playing your games in Spanish!  Switch your gaming console to Spanish 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 Spanish! 
    • Change your web search engine to the Spanish version (e.g.,,, Not only will you learn some Spanish, but you may be amazed at how your search results change.
    • Follow Spanish language pages on Facebook or Twitter.
  12. Use a tool like to read Spanish language newspapers and blogs and get a new perspective on both national and international news

  13. 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.