How to Prepare for Learning Spanish: 4 Things to Do before Your First Spanish Lesson


Learning Spanish deserves some preparation

Learning Spanish is a complex long-term task and therefore deserves some planning and preparation. Make sure you don’t skip these 4 necessary steps before you start with your first Spanish lesson. Though some of them may seem really small and irrelevant, they can significantly influence your success later as your Spanish becomes more advanced, lessons become more difficult, and your initial motivation becomes history.

1. Make sure you really want to learn Spanish

Decide that you really want to become fluent in Spanish. Make sure you have valid reasons for learning Spanish and that your motivation comes from within. In some cases, the mere fact that you have enjoyed your holiday in the Caribbean or the fact that your friend is now attending a Spanish course is not the kind of motivation that will keep you working hard later in the learning process, when you encounter difficult parts or your external conditions (for example the amount of time you have for learning Spanish) deteriorate.

2. Choose tools and resources for learning Spanish

As soon as you know that you really want to become fluent in Spanish, you need to get several different resources for learning Spanish. Combining multiple different types of exposure to the Spanish language is crucial. You need a textbook with exercises for learning grammar, a dictionary to quickly translate words you don’t know, and you will also need exposure to spoken Spanish to learn pronunciation and accents and get used to live conversations.

There are many ways how you can get exposure to spoken Spanish: mp3 lessons, tapes, DVDs, watching Spanish TV and video, listening to Spanish radio, or listening to Spanish spoken live by other people. You can get multiple tools at once as part of a live classroom course in Spanish (if you have enough time and money and can find courses in your city) or as part of an online Spanish course (if you have less time and less money).

3. Think about the time you can regularly dedicate to learning Spanish

Think about the time you can dedicate to learning Spanish every day, week, and month. Some portion of this time should be spent in a quiet environment where you can focus solely on learning Spanish without distractions.

However, you can also use additional time when you concentrate on other things besides Spanish (for example when commuting to and from work or doing some routine work at home) – these are good opportunities to listen to Spanish audio lessons for example.

4. I will complete lesson 12 by the end of March – set goals

After designing your time budget for learning Spanish, set goals providing that you will be able to track progress and you won’t fall behind your originally intended schedule. Make sure your goals are in line with your time budget. More ambitious goals (learning faster) require more hours per day or week. Your goals should be both challenging and realistic. Don’t expect to become fluent in Spanish in a month. On the other hand, don’t give yourself too easy goals. Easy goals don’t increase the probability of you achieving them. They often lead to laziness and excuses instead.

How to formulate measurable goals for learning Spanish

The goals in learning Spanish are best to be formulated as completing lesson X of your Spanish course or textbook by a certain point of time in the future. Make sure the goals and dates remain fixed. Write them down and don’t change them, unless you have a really strong reason (for example you get sick and unable to learn Spanish for two weeks).

Now that you have motivation, tools, time budget, and goals, have fun learning Spanish!