Learning another language is not easy, but most people can learn a second language IF they are willing to put in the necessary time. Here are some practical suggestions for studying effectively, overcoming anxiety, and learning the grammar and skills necessary for success in foreign language classes.
STUDY EVERY DAY: A foreign language course is different from any other course you take. Language learning is cumulative: you cannot put it off until the weekend. Study 1 or 2 hours for every class hour
DISTRIBUTE YOUR STUDY TIME in 15- to 30-minute periods throughout the day. Focus on a different task each time: vocabulary now, grammar next, etc. Get an overview during the first half hour: spend 10 minutes reviewing dialog, 10 minutes learning new vocabulary, 10 minutes learning new grammar...so you'll at least have looked at it all. Approximately 80% of your study time should be spent in recitation or practice, including practice in the language lab.
ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE IN EVERY CLASS--even if you are not well prepared. Class time is your best opportunity to practice. Learn the grammar and vocabulary outside of class in order to make the most of class time. Spend a few minutes "warming up" before each class by speaking or reading the language.
MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE IN THE CLASSROOM. Get to know your classmates, so you will feel you are among friends. Visit your instructor during office hours to get acquainted: explain your goals and fears about the course to your instructor.
LEARN GRAMMAR IF YOU DON'T ALREADY KNOW IT. Grammar is the skeleton of a language, its basic structure: you must learn it. Review a simplified English grammar text. Compare new grammatical structures in your foreign language to their English equivalents.
PRACTICE FOR TESTS by doing what you will have to do on the test. If the test will require you to write, then study by writing--including spelling and accents. If you will be asked to listen, then practice listening. Ask for practice questions; make up your own test questions. Invent variations on patterns and forms. Over-learn: study beyond the point of recognition to mastery.
DEVELOP A GOOD ATTITUDE. Have a clear personal reason for taking the class. Set personal goals for what you want to learn. Leave perfectionism at the door; give yourself permission to make mistakes and learn from them.
GET HELP IF YOU NEED IT. Talk with your teacher. Form study groups among class members. Use tutoring services. Don't wait!