Independent Language Learning and Self-Study Tips

Indpendent Language Learning: Business Language Study Tips

Whether you are taking a Beginners Language Training course, an Advanced Language Training course or have chosen a blended learning solution, independent language learning and self-study play an important role in your language acquisition and progression. For every hour of tutor-led tuition you receive we recommend you dedicate 45 minutes to an hour to self-study to order to reinforce and recycle what you have learnt in class.

Finding the time and motivation to study in your own time can be a challenge. For this reason, we have collated several useful ways that you can introduce self-study and independent language learning into your daily schedule and routine. Keep your language learning journey engaging and varied, and will achieve your goals and progress faster than you thought possible.


It’s important to record new words and new language. Keep a vocabulary notebook but we recommend that you order this by topic, rather than alphabetically. Group words associated by theme or subject together, and learn words that are commonly found together as expressions rather than individual words. This is called ‘chunking’. Due to grammatical differences with your own language it is not always useful to dissect expressions and try to understand each individual part. It can often be more useful to learn an expression as a collocation and understand the meaning of that expression and when to use it.

Online Apps

There are plenty of free online apps that give you the opportunity to practise the language every day when you are commuting or have a free 5 or 10 minutes.
Duolingo is very aware that everyone learns in different ways. That’s why this entertaining and user-friendly mobile app is so popular. You will find a wide range of vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and translation exercises in many languages. Duolingo is the favourite language app for the Cactus team and a great way to support your learning.
Memrise is a popular website and mobile app based on three keywords: science, fun and community. They help you to memorise new vocabulary faster, in a fun way and with the possibility of watching and sharing tips and multimedia content such as videos, audio, mnemonics and much more to improve your learning experience.
Quizlet is an entertaining and simple website and mobile app that helps you to develop your vocabulary by using or creating flash cards, word games and tests. Moreover, you will be able to search for any kind of content within its millions of study sets, from French Animals to Chinese numbers, or the spelling of the Crime and Punishment character names.

Language Learning Groups and Forums

There are plenty of language learning groups and forums across social media and other language exchange websites. These forums enable you to connect with native speakers and practise the language you are learning with someone who speaks the language fluently. This is a great way to practise what you have learnt and gain real-life experience of using the language.

Other Resources

The internet provides endless resources for learning a language. A good way to approach this is by thinking about what you would like to watch in your own language – and then choose to watch this in the language you are learning. It is more likely you will enjoy the experience and you will be more motivated. Walter Presents is an online free box set channel delivered by Channel 4, which provides TV series from all around the world in their original versions. From romance to satire to psychological thrillers, Walter Presents has something for everyone.

Novels, Magazines and Newspapers

As with your listening material choose books and reading material that you would read in your own language. Magazines provide short, entertaining articles and can usually be understood even if your level is fairly low. You can also find graded novels where the original version has been adapted for the level of the reader.

Weekends Away

If you are learning a language and that language is spoken in a country that is not the other side of the world then take a break, a weekend or a few days and visit that country. Ask people for directions, chat to waiters, speak to hotel staff, you can even engage friendly locals in conversation. Gain a better understanding of the culture of the language you are learning and you will come back more motivated to continue your language learning journey.

Language Holidays

You could really indulge your language learningd desires by taking a language holiday abroad. With language tuition in group format in the mornings and a wide range of social and cultural programme activities in the afternoon, a language holiday abroad is a great way to accelerate your language learning and meet like minded people.

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