Knowing how to study effectively for Spanish can be difficult. Everybody learns in different ways. You need to experiment and find out how you learn best. The following powerpoint may help you work out your learning style.

This powerpoint outlines how some pupils learned vocabulary:

Here are tips past pupils and some teachers have given re learning speaking and writing answers:

  • Teacher from a forum:
Most powerful thing I find is to get them to colour in their work:Green = Spanish I knowOrange = Spanish I need to learnunderline = I need this bit to impress the examinerYou can have a word in green but with the ending in orangeThen if they have written it from within their own repertoire, most of it should be green.Then they don't have to memorise word by word. They just remember the points they were going to make.Also important is the underlined. They need a mental checklist of the things they need to show off.
  • Richard: I found the best way was to know what the questions and answers were in English - might sound silly but i remember people not knowing but still doing well because it was just associating one set of words with another. I did this by making sure i knew all of the key verbs etc and the different endings
  • Rachel: things I found worked well were1. writing out, saying out loud, rewriting, saying out loud, then cover and try to write from memory, tedious, but works the best in my opinion!2. record yourself on your phone and listen to it over and over3. As ur practising ur answers out loud, walk about, might seem strange but helps concentration! This works with stress balls as well, doing something with ur hands helps certain learners concentrate better and retain more4. In terms of the volume, take one topic a day for example, dnt try to cram too much in one day5. It's better, where possible, to be natural, so learning word for word wouldn't be necessary, although this obviously isn't possible for all candidates!Writing: practice practice practice, check check check!Reading, learn vocab throughout the year as u go along so that it's not left to last minute!A level, hmm, learn quotations, practice grammar, check agreement, practise oral stimulus for convo exam!
  • Lara:For me, recording myself saying the answers and then listening to it back on my ipod always worked! It's very cringey but it can be very effective. I suppose it entirely depends on being a visual or an auditory learner, if you are more of a visual learner I would recommend writing the answers for each section on a different coloured piece of paper then you associate the colours with the themes. Even at GCSE I never managed to learn all of the long answers by heart, but so long as you have something to say for each question and can avoid those awkward silences then everything will be fine!In terms of the other exams, learning vocab lists was always useful for the comprehension part. I always enjoyed putting myself in a Spanish mood in the couple of days leading up to the exam by listening to copious amounts of Enrique in Spanish so that you start to think more in Spanish rather than awkwardly trying to translate everything in your head. My only other recommendation would be verb drills and practice exams.
  • Mark: I know this is a lot to take in, but you don’t have to use it all, and you only have to learn the bit’s you use.The more often you use these phrases the more they’ll stick in your headI used them so much by the time I got to the exam I didn’t need to learn them because I just knew them all in the back of my head! Try to record your answers and take forty words out of he text and replace them with blanks, so that as you listen to it you have to fill in the blanks. Also, the words I take out are ones I think could form my forty words. if they were put in groups and they recorded each other's and did something like that it might help them. I found that I just had to take it a bit at a time and I went back to the start everytime I made a mistake so I was constantly repeating it. Walking around saying ou tloud gets you used to hearing it so you know what's coming next. Using loads of connectors is a good way to pick up marks and I found it actually made it easier to remember.Really I think it's just constant repetition for the controlled assessment and gradually going from having it in front of you to reciting it from the forty words alone.For the writing, I just kept writing it out over and over again. Doing the first paragraph, then the second, then the first and second, then the third, first, second and third etcOh and for learning vocab, what I'm doing at the minute for idioms, is each day I have a different phrase as the background for my laptop like "En casa de gaitero todos son danzantes" so that I'm constantly reminded of it, I've found it's worked pretty well I've only been doing it for about a week but I'm remembering them so far. It could be done with vocab, verbs, tenses etc
  • Teacher on a forum: "Make sure they have a checklist of what the examiner wants to hear, and build their answers around that I get them to "draw" the shape of the sentences they are learning (specially good for extended sentences which examiners want to read or hear) using rectangles around a group of words (groupe nominal or groupe verbal), a circle around the link words (les articulations) , sometimes squares around adverbs (see below), and adding triangles (like warning signs) around persistently difficult words or notions they find hard to remember.They then remove the words and keep the shapes. They recall the text looking at the shapes. They can accompany that with gestures, e.g. drawing a long line with their open hand (equivalent to the rectangle), opening a fist for adverbs and drawing a circle in the air for link words - or whatever else works for them. For speaking: practising how to break up the text in meaningful chunks and where to make short or longer pauses has also helped. It certainly makes a big difference: from sounding like they are regurgitating a text they don't understand to actually sounding quite convincing, specially once they get used to stressing the adverbs I insist they use!"
Teacher on the ML forum:My students like to use Cue prompter. We use it in class and they can use it at home to practise their speech.You can do several speeds, forward, backward and mirror
  • Jonny: For GCSE, I always found it was easier to focus on one topic per night and not to mix up everything by tryng to learn everything at once. Also by trying to memorize 3 or 4 answers in response to one question, I thought it was easier and that the conversation flowed more easily instead of giving simple, short answers and waiting for the examiner to ask more.For A level - literature - practice essays and spider diagrams on each topic/theme with a few quotes thrown in to make it easier.Grammar - your vocabulary bible idea ... vocab at front, fabby phrases in middle and condensed all you need to know notes on grammar at the book ... definitely helped me when doing last min stress revision before an exam.Translation - again, practice. Look through past translations from class / past papers etc and you will definitely find examples of words repeatedly creeping up in your mistakes or words you constantly have to look up. Then make a list of these and learn them, simples.
  • Robyn
-I wrote my essay onto this for speaking and just read it off deleting bits each time and trying to keep reading it.- For writing, i wrote each paragraph out several times and then put it all together and used my pro forma for bitsthat i found difficult to remember. :)
  • Amy I think it’s different for each exam. But in general, for my oral, I think recording and listening to yourself back as Lara said is the best and easiest way. And also, do not try to learn answers word for word for the oral exam – you will mess up at some stage. Make it natural by knowing linking phrases and words, and learning a few general useful sentences for different questions and not just pre-written answers, it feels more like a conversation than an exam then too and can be more relaxed! Also, listen to Spanish music and watch films in Spanish to get you used to different accents, as we’re used to learning in class with some strong Belfast accents! Also, learn grammar!! If the examiner asks a question in a certain tense and you’re not 100% sure, it can be very off putting and can stall you quite a bit. It can be boring but it is worth it in the long run. Other than that, don’t leave revision until the week before!
SPEAKING (and listening)
  • Prepare meticulously – effort made early in forms 4 & 5 really pays off and helps build your confidence
  • Highlight your verbs and bonus structures and learn these thoroughly
  • Know your question trigger words and be able to recognise the tense of a question
  • Record your work
  • LISTENING ( and reading and writing)
The great thing about language revision is that it’s all interlinked – the preparation you did for speaking will help here too especially recording your work. You need to know your vocab well – make lists of vocab you don’t remember as you come across it and keep reducing this list as you progress. If there are words you confuse or find difficult to spell put them on post-its and place them on place you often look at e.g. the inside of a wardrobe but don’t damage anything! Your grammar needs to be tight here too as you will have to write in Spanish for some questions. You’ll need to learn this perfectly at the start and keep going back to it. Check your mistakes in any written work and ask if you don’t understand the error. You could try putting grammar rules on post-its again. Listening to Spanish will help a lot too – use the internet and the sites listed on this wiki, as well as listening to Spanish songs as much as possible. Sometimes you might be able to select Spanish on a DVD – this is ideal with a film you know well.IN THE LISTENING EXAM
  • Write in pen
  • During the five minutes at the start skim read the paper to check the instructions and highlight or underline the key words e.g. Contesta en inglés
  • For each question read the words carefully and do a rough translation – don’t worry about any words you don’t recognise because the tape may give you a clue. Focus closely on the question word and make sure you know the difference between dónde ,cuándo e.t.c.
  • During the first listening note down just the first part of the words you think you need – your answer might look something like the one below. Check the number of marks for how much detail you need. If there’s a word you’re not sure of write it down exactly as it sounds and it might become clearer
¿Qué hace Manuel los sábados?(2)V ................... piscOn the second listening complete the question and check you’ve included enough detail – it’s always worth a guess if you’re not sureVa a la piscina en el centro
  • If you have any time left pre-read the instructions for the next question then check over the previous question
  • While working through put a ring round the number of any question you’re not happy with
  • During the five minutes at the end go back over these questions and at least have a guess then read through all your answers which are in Spanish and check the spelling and grammar. NEVER CLOSE YOUR PAPER IN ANY EXAM UNTIL THEY FORCE YOU TO
READING (and writing)As above in preparation for the listening exam you need to do the same thing for vocab and grammar. Also try to read as much Spanish as possible – the Internet is good for this if you look at sites you would be interested in anyway. . Sometimes you can get Spanish subtitles on a DVD. Go over previous exam papers – note all the new (to you at least) vocab and phrases. When reading new material concentrate on trying to make sense of the piece rather than translating each word. IN THE READING EXAM
  • Write in pen
  • Roughly translate the article – just try to get an idea of what’s going on and don’t worry about any words you don’t recognise as you mightn’t need them for the answer
  • Read , translate and highlight the instruction words
  • Read each piece of the task carefully and decide on the answer – watch out for negatives
  • Check you’ve answered each one and keep an eye on the mark allocation – have you given enough information?
  • Be careful with timing – don’t spend too long on the early questions – if you get stuck on something put a ring round it and move on then you can go back to it later
  • The questions where you have to answer in Spanish are often the trickiest but are also where the top grades are. You cannot be given credit for copying chunks from the text rather you must carefully select the words which relate to the question and you will often have to adapt some e.g. verbs – the text is often written using the Yo part of the verb whereas the answer requires you to use the él/ella part. You must try to make your Spanish accurate here so plan and check it carefully
  • This might seem obvious but you need to answer the question set
  • Time left ? Check all your ringed questions and guess where you have to then read through all your answers which are in Spanish and check the spelling and grammar. NEVER CLOSE YOUR PAPER IN ANY EXAM UNTIL THEY FORCE YOU TO
CONTROLLED ASSESSMENT WRITINGAll the previous advice about vocab and grammar applies here but even more so. With careful preparation and technique you can all do yourself justice. A good mark in a written exam is not achieved with a few weeks' revision – you train for it the way you would for any assessment which involves a skill – it's an ongoing process. Prepare your written homeworks thoroughly and review them afterwards – this will help you to develop good writing habits and will help prevent the repetition of mistakes. Develop a bank of verbs , words and phrases which you can use and add to – it can be useful to keep a notebook of these.IN THE WRITING EXAM
  • Write in pen
  • Q1 ( about 100 words) will usually have a list of tasks or else it will be a letter where you will have to find the tasks – make a numbered list in English of what you have to do – note the tense you’ll have to use
  • Work out how many words you need for each section as a rough guide you need to answer the question and then give some development in each part
  • Write carefully using language from your bank – if you can’t say it don’t say it
  • There are no marks for being creative – concentrate on producing accurate Spanish rather than an interesting story
  • Write clearly using alternate lines if your writing is as bad as mine
  • Take a new line for each section from your list
  • Tick each item of your list as you include it
  • Check it at the end and re-read the question again to check you haven’t left anything out
  • Q2 (200 words) will be a choice of two tasks with a shorter list of details to include. Again make a list in English of what you have to do and select which question suits you better then follow advice as above
  • Take a new paragraph for each section and try to make them of roughly equal length youll probably have about 4-5 paragraphs of 40-55 words each
  • In Q2 you need to show off more but its still more important to be accurate than to have a glut of incorrect bonus phrases
  • Don’t copy any language from the text
  • Don’t include any English e.g. not Fui a Topshop but Fui a una tienda de moda que se llamaba Topshop
  • Write at least the number of words they ask for ( count a typical line and then count the number of full lines you use) but not much more as this gives you more opportunities for mistakes
  • Use material you already know
  • Vary your vocab NO hambuguesas y patatas fritas
  • Remember your letter lay-outs
  • Time left ? Check your spelling and grammar. Check it again and keep checking it until they take the paper from you. NEVER CLOSE YOUR PAPER IN ANY EXAM UNTIL THEY FORCE YOU TO!