Lesson Transcript

There might be times in your life when you need to learn something right away!
Maybe you’ll have an unexpected exam, you need to prepare for a new job, or you might be traveling for work. In situations like these, many people feel the need to try to study a lot of information in a short period of time. But can you really learn a language by cramming in all of your studying in a short period?
In this video, we’ll talk about How Cramming Works with Language Learning.
1. Is Cramming Effective?
A lot of people would probably answer “yes” to this question, based on experiences they had in school. Most of us have probably had the experience of staying up late the night before a test to cram as much information as possible. But how much of that information do you remember now?
Cramming can work if you have a test tomorrow or a short-term study goal.. For example, if your only goal is to pass a test, or give a presentation within a few days, cramming isn't a bad idea. But, it doesn’t work very well if you want to remember what you studied in the long run.
A great example of a better way to study is with something like our spaced-repetition flashcards.
One of the most effective ways to study is to review something over a period of time. Spacing out your studies is what helps you learn and retain information best. You learn something today, you come back in 2 days and review it. Then, you come back in 4 days and review it some more. In contrast, cramming is a one-time thing. You cram a lot of information in your brain, take a test and then forget it all.
But when you review, you’re strengthening the synapses in your brain. Synapses are like little roads that connect the neurons in your brain. So, the more you review, the stronger the connection, and the better the recall.
But what if you need to learn fast?
2. An Example of a Cramming Schedule
Let's say you’re traveling for work and you really need to learn some greetings and some basic survival phrases to make it through your trip. Time is probably not on your side. Your only option is to cram.
Here is what a cram plan might look like in a case like this.
- Spend some time on survival lessons before going to bed.
- Increase the amount of time you spend with anyone you can talk to in your target language. Another student or maybe an online teacher.
- Increase the amount of time you spend on any online language classes you’re taking.
Another problem related to cramming is that your study time has to come from somewhere, and that tends to come from sleep, so that’s not a good thing. We don’t recommend cramming, but If you HAVE to cram, which we all do at some point, here are some ideas for how to do it.
3. Cramming Learning Program
Cramming might get you a lot of fast results in a short period of time, but with just a couple of one-time study sessions, it’s a strategy that won't help you in the long run. If you find yourself in a situation where you absolutely have to cram, here’s what you can do.
First, pick the lessons that align with your goal. Focus on just what you need. If you’re learning for travel, skip the other lessons and focus on our Survival Phrases Series. If you want to learn basic conversations, look at the “Top 25 Questions You Need to Know” content. If you need special phrases for the bank or the post office, we have lessons for that too. And you can find lessons for all kinds of topics and scenarios in the Lesson Library.
Second, prioritize lessons at your level more than the challenging lessons. If you’re working within a limited timeframe, you’ll get more value for your time by doing lessons that are at your level. You can spend more time on the harder lessons later, if you find you have the time.
We have a Vocabulary Slideshow Tool and a Flashcard Tool that you can use for quick study sessions. Both of these features quiz you on vocab and help you learn fast.
Focus on mastering a few must-know lessons. It’s better to know all of the dialog from 5 lessons inside out, than to run through 60 lessons and not remember anything.
You can also take advantage of our lesson notes. Inside the lesson notes, you’ll get the lesson dialog, translations, explanations, sample sentences, and cultural insights.
We have a printer-friendly version of the word bank too. Just click on that to create a printout. It will give you a physical study sheet you can use to review anywhere.
You can also print out PDF Conversation Cheat Sheets and Infographics. These teach you the must-know words and phrases for all kinds of topics: travel, basic conversations, talking about hobbies, airport vocab, and much more. With the infographics, you can save the images to your phone and just swipe through them for a quick review.
And finally, when you’re ready, do a quiz session. Even if you’re low on time, a bit of review can help. After you’re done with a lesson, stop and ask yourself, “What was the main grammar point of the lesson?” Try and explain that rule to yourself in your head or say it out loud.
Remember, we don’t recommend cramming as the best method for learning a language. The key to building skills is repetition. But if you need a quick study session to learn a few key points in your target language, we have the tools to help you.
When you’re ready to come back and review what you've crammed, we can help you with that too.
Get some support for your quick language study sessions and check out our complete language learning program. Sign up for your free lifetime account by clicking on the link in the description. Get tons of resources to have you speaking in your target language. And if you enjoyed these tips, hit the "like" button, share the video with anyone who's trying to learn a new language, and subscribe to our channel. We release new videos every week!
I'll see you next time. Bye!