Lately I have been getting quite a few questions on how to study rather than what materials to study with which has made me realize that self-studying isn’t an easy task to everybody. For some reason it has always seemed quite natural to me and I never struggle to find materials or new methods to learn. I adjust everything to my needs and I can spend hours on relatively simple materials because I want to get the very most out of it.
Since I always struggle to explain HOW to study, I figured I’d start a series on the blog where I simply just show you guys what I’m working with and how. Hopefully you can feel inspired and try out a few of the things that I do, and as soon as you have an idea of what you like to do and what works the best for you, you can simply start to pick and choose from your experiences. The best way to study is honestly impossible to write down. It’s such an individual thing and you just have to try a lot of different approaches to see what works for you and what doesn’t.
Today I want to show you guys how I’m going through a Kmooc course called 한국인의 똑똑한 밥상.
This is a course in Korean, for Korean people so obviously that influences my study approach. There’s not any explanations to vocabulary or grammar that I need to write down since it isn’t created for foreigners. Instead I take a lot of notes on the actual content and the unknown vocabulary.
I begin by collecting all of my materials. I’m currently obsessed with my Ecco Pigment pens and I use a Tombow correction tape. It’s the best correction tape I have tried so far (and I have tried A LOT), and I totally recommend it.
My yellow Aurora notebook is only used for my Kmooc course notes.
I then get my studybudy ready a.k.a my tablet. When I know that I’ll be studying for a long time, I always use the Pomodoro technique. I might write about it in an blog post soon, but you can just google it if you’re curious. Basically you just have a timer to tell you when and for how long you should take breaks to get the most out of your studying efforts. I also use my tablet to look up vocabulary. As soon as my studybudy is ready to go, I put my phone away in my drawer and I don’t touch it again until I’m on break or done with studying.
I begin by watching the video lesson. The lesson is in Korean and has the option of Korean or English subtitles. I watch it with Korean subtitles because that way I have a clear image of how much I understood from the video. I listen carefully and read along as the professor starts the lesson.
I then re-watch the lesson with English subtitles. I do this to close any gaps in my understanding as well as to confirm the things I believe I understood from the lesson. It’s a good way to find out just how much you might have missed or maybe even misunderstood.
Now that I have closed any possible gaps, I’m moving on to taking notes. I switch back to Korean subtitles and look at the transcript. At this point I understand more than enough to choose whats important and what is not from the transcript, but if you are struggling then you can keep the English transcript and either write you notes in English or simply mark the time stamp and then find the same paragraph in the Korean transcript. I recommend the latter. Even if you struggle to understand the notes you are jotting down it’ll still make you feel more comfortable with the words, the grammar and the sentence structure. A third option could be to write down each of the points you find important, in both Korean and English. Just do whatever works for you!
My notes a mostly just copied straight from the transcript, however I do change certain parts. I find that this course repeats the same points quite a few times and I see no use for that in my notes. Also I change things like ‘우리나라의’ to ‘한국의’, because it would just be too odd for me to refer to Korea as ‘우리나라’ as a foreigner.
Basically it’s all just about adjusting everything to your needs and preferences.
It took me just over 6 pomodoro sessions to finish my notes, so around 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Now I move on to vocabulary. As for me, I find it way better to learn vocabulary through context so I always look up words in the end. By this point I have already learned a handful of words through context and I find that these words stick to my brain way easier than all the other words.
I now go through the transcript once again, writing down all the words I still don’t know or are unsure of. Even if I know that I wrote down a certain word from the last lesson as well, I still write it down. Repetition is your friend in this case, and someday it’ll suddenly stick!
I always color code my notes. It makes everything way more organized and it’s such a big help when you want to review your notes.
I spent another two sessions (50 minutes) on looking up words and writing them down.
Lastly, I create a Quizlet set. This is in itself a great way to review everything, because you have to write down all the words once again. When I’m done I can usually already remember a few of the words, which makes me feel great when I actually start practicing via the app.
Quizlet also remembers definitions so if you (or someone else) have written a certain word then it’ll often suggest previous definitions to that word, which can save you a lot of time.
It took me around 25 minutes to create my set.
In the end I spent just over 4 hours studying a lesson, based on a 9 minute video + whatever time I end up using on Quizlet later. I could have just watched it once with English subtitles and then moved on, but why not take advantage of the video and the transcript, and get as much out of it as possible? At least that’s how I feel. If you struggle to stay focused or if you hate working on the same thing for a long time, then obviously this might not be the best approach for you.
It’s all about adjusting!
I hope this was somewhat helpful!