Learning French is not easy - it requires time and motivation. But you can accelerate your learning with the right mix of learning new vocabulary and grammar along with listening and translation (English to French and French to English).
Below is a suggested for a daily routine – see if you can keep the articles short, really focus, and do it in an hour (except point 7).
- Vocab - try to learn 10 new words every day. It is good to learn new French as much as possible by listening and reading to French. However this is a very frustrating experience if you cannot learn new words through context because you don't have enough of a vocabulary base. If you have a fantastic memory then plough through word lists by topic. If not use Memrise.com or RapideFrench.com's system which keeps track of what you've learnt so far.
- Grammar - read through one new grammar point or verb tense every day (but don't try to memorise it). If you move to France and are immersed 100% in French you might get away with learning Grammar. But your speaking will be very limited if only know vocabulary and a few verbs. However just ensure you understand the grammar so that you can recognise it being used in the first instance. We list the grammar and verb tenses needed for up to GCSE here
- Listening – listen to one short article in French each day. Listen to an article that is appropriate to your level (e.g. graded listening articles and attempt to write it down (even the words you don’t know). Then have a look at the transcription to see how much you got right and to check your spellings.
- Translate - one short article from French to English each day. Use the article you have just listened to and transcribed for this exercise. Look up any words you don’t know in a dictionary and try to get the meaning rather than a purely literal translation.
- Speaking – improve this even when you don’t have a tutor. Again use the graded listening articles from RapideFrench.com; this time take a harder and longer article, read it out loud (attempting to read at a moderate pace rather than being too stilted). Then listen to the article being read out in French, listening for differences from how you said it. Repeat the process until you are happy that you sound similar to the recording!
- Writing – write just a short entry about what you did yesterday, and what you will be doing today. Look up any words you don’t know – this is exactly the vocabulary you are likely to be using in the future.
Finally, for a bit of light relief…
- Listen to some French songs - buy a few CDs of French musicians (check they sing clearly on YouTube first), print out the French and English translations for them, learn any vocabulary you don’t know, then listen to them in the card.
Have a concentrated period when you focus on your French – if you do the above every day for just 2 weeks you will see a noticeable improvement in your French reading, listening, speaking and writing!