When we study in a language course, it's easy to feel like we're not actually taking in all of the grammar rules, vocabulary and other information we learn. Teachers, especially in high school and university courses, often have strict curriculums and don't have time to go back and revise.

This might leave students, especially beginners feeling as if they're not improving at the rate they expected to, or getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content they need to study.

Unfortunately, there's no special mind trick or technique that can really change this. The only way to make sure you're on top of the skills you're studying each lesson is to revise consistently and efficiently, either alone or with a great Portuguese tutor.

Like any skill worth having, the more students speak, read, write and hear a language, the faster they will get to a more advanced level. You can think of it like building a house, brick by brick, you build on the foundations you've laid.

Of course, all of this applies to Portuguese as much as any other language. In order to make the most out of your investment in your hours of learning, it's important to revise on a regular basis, perhaps after each lesson.

While this might seem like it will take time out of a student's private life, it's worth it if you're serious about meeting the goals you set when you start your Portuguese course, whether it's at school or with a private teacher.

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Revisiting Key Topics Will Help You Build a Strong Foundation

There are so many things that students could choose to revise, and it's actually most beneficial to revise a little of everything. Here are some ideas of concepts to revisit:

  • The verbs and tenses, their conjugations and uses;
  • Common collocations and colloquialisms; or
  • Vocabulary related to particular areas of interest.

Going back to previous Portuguese lessons and rereading notes will allow you to consolidate your knowledge, and solidify it in your memory, which makes for better and faster recall in the next lesson or in a conversation with a native Portuguese speaker.

Find a range of ways to revise
Improve your Portuguese language level outside of classes by revising with flashcards and free apps. | Photo Source: Charles Deluvio- Unsplash

This is especially key for learners who are beginners. To be able to progress to an intermediate understanding of all languages, it's essential for beginners to have a good understanding and recall of the most basic concepts.

For example, you must know how to conjugate verbs like 'ser' and 'ter' in simple tenses, so you can then use them in higher-level compound tenses. Every student also needs to memorise a certain amount of vocabulary to be able to speak and write more fluently.

Actually revising doesn't involve spending hours reading and rereading your textbook, or listening to audiotapes and repeating again and again. All it takes is around 30 minutes a day to quickly reread your own note from the previous lesson.

For memorising verbs and their conjugations or important vocabulary, flashcards are a great resource. You can use them to review on your own, but also in games with friends or colleagues from your course.

They're also small enough to carry around! Got a couple of free hours between two appointments? Head to a park and use flashcards to study Portuguese in a more exciting way.

Use Online Apps to Make Learning Fun

In today's life, people have an app for everything from professional needs like Gmail to maintaining a public profile with Instagram. The good news is that learning languages is no different!

There's a variety of resources, both in the app store and on the web, that can help you to hit the books, but make the experience more exciting and fun.

For instance, we've already mentioned flashcards, but what about digital ones?

Try Quizlet.com, where you can make your own sets of cards, or search for other pre-made public ones. Not only will you revise while you're making the cards, but the site also offers plenty of fun ways to review verbs and vocabulary, like typing games.

Other apps you could try include Babbel and Duolingo, which are both used by millions of learners every day. Babbel is a more serious app, where people can study rules about verbs and tenses and then start practice exercises.

Instead, Duolingo is best for vocabulary revision, as its game-like set-up is a little bit more fun, but gives learners less information. Both of these apps are free, although there are extra features at a cost.

There's also a treasure trove of resources on the internet, from audio and video that you can use for listening practice, to online forums where a student can ask questions and get answers from native speakers.

Another interesting site is Tandem Language Exchange, which can be great for intermediate or advanced students who want to start to speak in Portuguese with native speakers.

Conversation is good for listening
Contact a native speaker on a site like Tandem and speak about what you learn in classes to revise. | Photo Source: LinkedIn Sales Solutions- Unsplash

Engage with Portuguese in a More Authentic Way

One of the most exciting benefits of learning new languages is that you are suddenly opened up to a whole new world of art from music to literature to cinema. While it's great to revise grammar you've studied in class, one of the best ways to review a language is to see it in real use!

Obviously, the best way for students to achieve this is to uproot their life and go on an extended holiday to either Portugal or Brazil. Being surrounded by a language makes it so much easier to pick up, and students especially develop their speaking and listening skills.

Plus, you get to immerse yourself in Portuguese or Brazilian culture!

Unfortunately, not all of us have the opportunity to spend long periods of time overseas, but that doesn't mean you can improve your language skills. There are plenty of authentic texts that will allow you to develop your understanding of the language, and of culture.

Cinema and TV

Plenty of people love to sit down at the end of the and watch a good film or show. You can start turning these leisure hours into a fun practice by switching from an English program to something in Portuguese.

This can be anything from a Brazilian telenovela to a documentary about Mozambique, as long as it interests you and, of course, is in Portuguese!

Beginners can use English subtitles so that they can understand what the actors are saying and follow the story properly. But if you feel like you're ready for a bigger challenge, try watching with Portuguese subtitles, or none at all!

No matter how you watch, you'll be developing your listening skills and hearing correct pronunciation, all while watching something!

Check Out Some Portuguese Literature

For those who are more into reading a little every day, try reading a Brazilian or Portuguese classic like Memorial do Convento or grab a magazine about a topic that interests you, like politics, design or sport.

As you're reading underline words that you don't understand. You can try to figure them out from the context or come back at the end of the chapter and look at each word in the dictionary. It's important not to stop reading at every new word, or else you'll never finish!

Another interesting way to practice is by getting an audio version of the book as well as the paperback. That way you can listen along as you read to hear the authentic pronunciation and improve listening comprehension skills.

You can even find Portuguese lessons focusing on literature on Superprof.

Discover Brazilian and Portuguese Music

In both Brazil and Portugal, music is an important part of the native culture. Portugal is famous for Fado, mournful tunes often sung by women and Brazil is known for its many genres from Samba to Axé.

By actually listening to the words of a song, you can learn some great vocabulary, like common phrases and idioms. You're also more likely to remember them, as our recall for songs is generally much better.

Find Portuguese classes Melbourne here on Superprof.

An image of a computer desktop, keyboard and mouse with a notepad, mug and pair of glasses next to it. An online Portuguese tutor is one way to improve your proficiency in Portuguese.
You can look for a variety of professional private tutors to contact from Sydney to Lisbon through their public profiles on Superprof.com. (Image Source: CC0 1.0, fancycrave1, Pixabay)

 

Try Courses With Online Tutors

If you feel that you're not able to consolidate what you learn in your courses on your own, you can contact a private teacher who can give you some structure and motivation.

While some students might balk at the idea of taking a class online, there are actually some important benefits like:

  • You can find a great teacher anywhere from Sydney to Brazil;
  • It's easier to schedule video classes into your day; and
  • You can take courses from the comfort of your own home.

Hiring a professional tutor for lessons outside of a school or university definitely adds to the cost of your Portuguese lessons, but it can also allow you to improve faster and more consistently through constant practice.

There are also different types of courses you can try. Having a private tutor on hand can make your learning experience more tailored to your goals and motivations.

If you're simply interested in improving speaking skills, look for teachers who are native speakers and have conversation after conversation. If you want to learn about business Portuguese in your classes, you can find a teacher who has worked in Brazil or Portugal.

You can easily find a great tutor on Superprof.com. There are tutors from Perth to Sydney with the experience to make learning exciting and fun. Contact a tutor to begin private classes ASAP!

Just remember to double-check whether the tutor you choose is a speaker of Central or Brazilian Portuguese. The two differ quite a lot and knowing that information could affect your choice of tutor.

Search for a Brazilian Portuguese online course here.

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Giulietta

Giulietta is an English-language teacher currently working in Italy who loves fashion, history and finding the best restaurants in whichever city she finds herself in!