4 Practical ways to study medical Spanish and keep your Spanish proficiency moving forward between classes:
Finishing up your medical Spanish class is always met with mixed emotions. You’re happy with the progress you made during class, but you’re also glad to add some extra down-time back to your busy schedule. Your biggest concern, however, is about letting your medical Spanish backslide too much before you have the chance to take another medical Spanish class.
Below I’m sharing some specific tips for maintaining your Spanish, but if I don’t share a simple strategy with you, it will all be useless. One of the first language learning strategies we discuss in our free Medical Spanish Masterclass is the Rule of 30. The Rule of thirty is pretty simple, here is how it goes:
- Study Spanish 3x/week for 30 minutes each time.
- Master 30 vocabulary words before moving on to the next set of 30.
Here are some practical ways you can maintain your medical Spanish now that class is over:
1. Stay on top of your medical Spanish vocabulary.
One of the most beneficial study habits for students in industry-specific language classes is to master the vocabulary for your industry. In most cases your grammar never has to be fancy to communicate sufficiently, you can usually use a simple grammar construction. However you do need the precise vocabulary for your context to be able to communicate effectively. Work through the vocabulary that was presented in your medical Spanish class until you master it.
When you are studying Spanish vocabulary, make sure that you study it from English to Spanish and from Spanish to English. This will make sure that your comprehension (Spanish – English) and your expression (English – Spanish) are both improving. As you probably saw in your course with us, we upload all of our medical Spanish vocabulary to Quizlet for easy studying. See all of our Quizlet vocabulary sets here.
We also created a free medical Spanish terminology and testing website called Certified Spanish. Create your free account there and take as many medical Spanish terminology tests as you would like!
2. Review your notes once a week.
This is a smart study practice for any class, not just your medical Spanish class. However, it is especially important for the language class. Spanish classes for professionals typically meet less frequently and are packed with good information each time. It’s a lot to take in, and you don’t usually have as much class time to review and recycle information as you do in a typical high school or college Spanish class. If you’re able to carve out 30 minutes three times a week to progressively review all of your notes from your recent class, you’ll certainly not backslide as much as you could if you never picked up your textbook or workbook again.
3. Hire an online Spanish tutor for individual lessons.
Individual tutoring is a great way to keep your Spanish moving forward at your pace. You get the practice you need, and you don’t have to be locked-in to the schedule and pace of a formal class. It’s important to secure individual tutoring with a professional instructor – someone who is more than a conversational partner and who can provide meaningful answers to your ‘why?’ questions. It’s frustrating counterproductive to not get the answers you need to make sense of a concept in a foreign language, so it’s always better to pay a little more for instruction to get what you need and what will actually help you.
This is why we have created a network of online Spanish tutors to work with you from the comfort of your own home or office and at the convenient time that works for you. Our online Spanish tutoring is convenient, effective, and a good value! Learn more about how our online Spanish tutoring works!
4. Make the most of opportunities as they present themselves.
Here and there you get little opportunities to speak Spanish. It might be with a patient before the interpreter comes (or with the interpreter present), or it may be in a random place (restaurant, shopping, in the hallways at work, etc). Taking these opportunities is actually a crucial step (and important habit to form) in improving your Spanish communication. Sometimes these opportunities come and go quickly and you’re left with the afterthought: “Oh, I should have tried that in Spanish”. Get in the habit of just going for it! This is what you need to do to keep your Spanish fresh. You can always use the Yo soy estudiante de español qualifier if you want, call the interpreter for help, etc.
Becoming proficient in a second language is not just about mastering the content of the language – it’s a mental game too. You have to be okay with making mistakes, looking & feeling silly often, and being a little more outgoing than you might normally be. So, be on the lookout for opportunities to speak Spanish with someone and go for it when you get the chance. You’ll be surprised with how your comfort improves over time.
Of course we’d love to have you join one of our upcoming Medical Spanish classes or Spanish immersion programs in Ecuador and Costa Rica too. Here are some quick links to see what options are available to you: