How to use busuu
Start by setting yourself a manageable goal
Some students work through an entire busuu course very fast, but most take it more slowly, logging in regularly and studying for manageable periods of time. A manageable goal might be, for example: ‘I want to complete the first half of the A1 Beginner level and have 5 short conversations in Spanish within the next 8 weeks.’
Decide when you study best – this will usually be when you are alert and less likely to be disturbed. Set some appointments in your calendar to remind you when it’s time to study.
How often and how long you study for is really down to personal preference and how much time you have available. We’d recommend you spend a minimum of one to two hours actively learning on busuu each week. We advise that you do this in small chunks rather than one large one: 10 minutes per day is a manageable goal, or 4 sessions of 30 minutes each is also good. If you want to do more than this, that’s great!
What to study
If you are a complete beginner, we recommend that you start at the beginning: A1 Lesson 1, and work through each lesson in sequence. When you have studied the language before, we recommend to take the placement test that will place you at the right level in the course.
Lessons begin with vocabulary units and then usually a grammar unit. These units generally contain one or more dialogues so you can read and listen to the language you are learning in context. Units often end with a Conversation activity, where you can put what you’ve learned into practice in a spoken or written task. It’s important that you complete all the units to get the best learning experience – only skip a unit if you are certain you already know all the words and key phrases in it.
Most vocabulary units teach you between 5 and 10 new words and phrases. Most units contain flashcards with the word, a translation and a key phrase showing the word in a full sentence. If you see a flashcard with a word you already know, great – just move on. If you find a word you don’t know, we advise that you write it down and save it to ‘My Vocabulary’. You can save a list of all the words you struggle to remember in the Review section, and then at the end of your study session, or when you have a spare five minutes, go into Review and test yourself on the words. As you become familiar with the words, you can delete them from your vocabulary list.
Work through all the quizzes in the grammar units. If you find a grammar unit difficult, we advise you to take a short break and come back and repeat it later. It can also help to take notes as you go. Many students struggle with grammar – especially verb conjugation. It’s important to know that you don’t need to memorise verb tables or remember every verb conjugation. You will encounter these over and over again throughout the course, and each time you do, you will find it easier to remember them. Don’t put pressure on yourself to get your grammar ‘perfect’ – this comes with time and you can expect to make lots of mistakes at the beginning. This is a sign of progress!
These are some of the most important activities in your course. They allow you to practice writing and speaking the language you are learning, rather than just understanding or recognising it. Each Conversation activity has an instruction for you to speak or write something related to the language you studied in the vocabulary and grammar units. You can choose to practice your writing, your speaking or both. It may seem hard at first, but try to write or speak in the language you are learning as much as you can. Even if you can only think of a couple of words, use those and take a guess at the others. Once you have run out of ideas, you can click on the hint section to see a model answer. Try to write or speak in your own words as much as possible, and try to say as much as possible – the native speakers in our community will correct you and give you suggestions on how to improve.
The best way to get good corrections is to become friends with as many native speakers as possible and ask them to correct your Conversation activities. You can find people to connect with in the Social tab.
Sample study session (30-40 minutes)
- Log in to busuu on the website or via the app
- Open the next lesson in your course
- Work through the vocabulary units – write down any new words and phrases and save them to ‘My Vocabulary’, practice saying them out loud if possible
- Work through the grammar unit – take notes. Repeat the exercises as many times as necessary until you feel confident that you can get most of them right.
- Do the Conversation activity. Try to write in your own words as much as possible. Only use the hint if you get stuck. Challenge yourself to say or write as much as possible and don’t worry if your answer isn’t perfect. Send your answer to as many native speakers as you can to get good feedback.
Sample study session (5-10 minutes)
- Open the busuu app or website
- Go to Review
- Work through your list of vocabulary and test your memory. To challenge yourself further, you can change your interface language in the settings menu so that you can’t see the translation.
- Delete any words that you remember easily.
- Keep any words that you struggle to remember, and come back to test yourself again later.