Before we start, it is important to note that all the times in this article should be considered only as suggestions since every individual is at a different language level, has different life priorities and goals, and availability.
Set a goal
There is no point in discussing the length of your daily dose of Czech if you haven’t set yourself a goal. You need to know what you want to achieve. Do you need to pass the exam for permanent residency? Do you want to be able to order a beer and pay the bill? Or do you just want to chit chat with your colleagues at work? Depending on your desired outcome, you should focus on certain activities more.
Czech Time timing
Time is in the name of this portal, so it is understandable that timing is a great deal here! All Czech Time lessons come with an estimated duration of learning. The time you can see in the Grammar section is the sum of minutes needed for reading the unit, doing the test and homework. It can range from 20 to 90 minutes for really demanding grammar points. In your statistics, you can see the total time spent studying with us. You will be surprised how the time flies here.
Studying with a teacher
When you attend a course at school or if you have private lessons with a tutor, you will usually get one to three hours of teaching. In general, you should spend the same amount of time studying yourself at home. Everything counts – doing homework, revising vocabulary or listening to a Czech audiobook.
For the best results, do these extra tasks during your no-school days. If you have lessons on Tuesday and Friday, self-study for half an hour on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Never do your homework last minute before the class begins. You are more likely to make mistakes, and, more importantly, your brain will miss the opportunity to initiate the required knowledge on a different day.
The following part of the article focuses on students who don’t have a teacher and they need to handle all the learning by themselves. However, you can take the guidance as an addition to your school studies.
15 minutes a day
Let’s start with the most accepted strategy. Study 15 minutes every day with one day off (preferably Sunday). Don’t set the bar too high. If you gradually sink into learning, this time will naturally extend and you will possibly end up studying far more than 15 minutes a day.
Do not try to fool the system by accumulating minutes for the future use. You shouldn’t say: “Meh, I learned for an hour yesterday, so I’ll take an extra day off today.” Consistency is the key here! If you learn for an hour one day, it is only for your benefit, but it should never be used as an excuse to learn less the other days.
What to do in my 15 minutes?
If you are a complete beginner, simply do anything! Taking up Czech Time lessons is a great start as you will get plenty of opportunities to learn new grammar and vocabulary, practise it and share your efforts with fellow student.
If you are a super organised student, you may want to make a detailed schedule to follow. Listen to a podcast on Monday, learn and practise vocabulary on Tuesday, speak to a friend on Skype on Wednesday, write a short summary on your favourite series’ episode on Thursday, revise a difficult grammar point on Friday and read a few news articles on Saturday. A nice nap on Sunday to get ready for the following week.
When improving reading skills, you can do reading activities all week long, but always try to make it diverse so that you don’t get bored. On different days, you can read a chapter of your favourite novel, film reviews, news, recipes and magazine articles.
For speaking, you can talk to your Czech friends, describe photos, make a presentation on your favourite topic or pretend to be a tour guide in your town. Let your imagination run wild!
Morning or Evening?
It is not an easy to question to answer since every student has different schedule and daily routine habits. If you are an early bird, squeeze in a couple of extra minutes to your morning routine. If you rather stay up late, study in the evening before watching a film. You can also have time in the middle of the day at your lunch break or while commuting. Use it for a quick practice.
Whichever day period you choose, try to be consistent and study at the same time for a roughly same duration. In other words, create a school-like habit and treat yourself for adhering to the set schedule.
45 minutes a day
You can either reach this duration by gradually extending your 15-minute-long sessions or you can start with 45 minutes from the very beginning.
You need to have enough time for your studying and be well self-disciplined. It is recommended to have at least two days off so that you can be in full power on your study days.
It is always good to have the agenda of your lessons more diverse, it should comprise of minimally two different tasks (listening + writing / vocabulary + reading / speaking + grammar etc.)
No matter which path you take, always enjoy learning new things and don’t let it become a boring and forced routine task. If you feel like you desperately need a break, take a couple days off and come back with fresh mind. Often look back at what you have achieved and compare your current results with the set goals.
Article Author: Tomáš Ptáčník
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