Distilling method with a twist

The original method was invented by “Uncle Davey” and named the “gold list“. It is meant to use the long term memory. This means that it takes some time to work out, for you have to wait about 2 weeks, before you get back to the words you originally wrote down. This was way to long for me, so I came up with a little different method. whiskey-315178_960_720

I mixed the gold-list-method with an advice my husband gave me and along with my experiences with flashcards.

My husband`s advice

“You learn much better, if you do not only note down your vocabulary, but use them in a sentence. I always wrote down one sentence for each word and then deleted the paper.”

I know, that I do not have a super-brain, so I knew, that I would not only have to write one sentence, but maybe some more. So I tried to combine the goldlist, SRS and this advice.

General idea

It is called distilling method, because you concentrate on the “hard” vocabulary more than on the easy one. So you so to say “distill” all the difficult words from the easy ones.

  1.  Like my husband told me:
    You will learn your vocab, by using the words in sentences.
  2. Like the SRS told me:
    The words will be used over and over again, but only the ones you do not remember. You will check back from time to time, whether you still know the words or not. The longer the word is in your head, the less often you will refer back to it. (This is the SRS part of it, but since you have to use the word it is more effective for me than traditional flashcards.)
  3. Like the goldlist told me:
    I use a vocab book and note the vocab before using it. I will strike though, what I didn´t know, so I will minimize my work.

I like this method, because writing down something every day helps me a lot with learning. And I do not like to write down all the same stuff over and over again, so I get more motivation to learn my words.

What you need

  • a notebook or vocabulary size DIN A5 or bigger
  • Pen/biro/pencil just something to write with

How it works

  1. Number the pages
    You may also do this on the go, but it is easier to do in advance…
  2. Seperate the page in two halfs – upper half and lower halfdistilling-method_i
    and seperate the upper half into two halfs again (left and right)
  3. Note the amount of vocab you want to learn today in the upper half like in a normal vocabulary. I do 9 words each day.
    I usually do the slovak part (target language) in the left and the german part (mother tounge) on the right. By doing so, I put some little boxes in the front of the word, so I can easily check it off, but you may also just striketrough, when you come to this point.
    This should look something like this:
  4. Once you have written your vocabulary, you have to write one sentence for each word in the target language. Therefore use the lower half of your sheet.
    I always ask my husband to correct these little sentences before we go to bed, so I will in addition learn some grammar rules as well, but this is not necessary.distilling-method
  5. Do these steps every day, but instead of only adding new vocab every day, you will first check your old vocab! If there are words you can´t remember correctly, you check them off/strikethough on the old page and will note them as the frist words of your new day and only fill the free space with new vocab.
    In the picture above you can see, that I didn´t remember chrápať and podobať sa, so I immediately put a cross on the old page and added theses words on top of the new page.

How to check the old vocab

Of course it would be a ton of stuff to do, if you would have to check the whole book over and over again. So here are the rules for checking the old vocab.

  1. You only check the words on old pages, that do not have been checked off/strokethough before.
  2. You only check certain pages on the go:
    Check the following pages by calculating from your current pagenumber:
    Pagenumber minus 1
    Pagenumber minus 3
    Pagenumber minus 10
    Pagenumber minus 22
    Pagenumber minus 50
    Those equal aproximately the times that SRS is using.

So as an example: If you are about to fill page 24, you will have to check through the uncrossed vocab of pages 23 (for 24-1 = 23), 21 (24-3=21), 14 (24-10=14) and 2 (24-22 = 2) (Of course you can´t check  page 24-50 = – 26, for you started with page 1. 🙂 )

If you ever get more vocab on repetition than you have space to fill in your notebook, concentrate on the most important ones and mark the others for the next day. You will get through it, I promise!

I hope this helps you as much as me!
Just tell me about your experiences!


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