How often should one review/repeat content?

Currently I have about 14 different courses going on in French, consisting of a number of different lessons; all beginner 1. My current goal is to become familiar with 500 words in the language; working up to the 1000 word challenge in the next 2-3 months. I like a very mixed approach to learning and encountering familiar and new words in different contexts. I have been quite strict with the adding new words, but I am becoming a little more relaxed now, especially with cognates.

That being said, I am finding it difficult to know when to review things. My theory is that in these early stages I want to encounter the most common words in a variety of different contexts, but not to neglect older material.

I figured after I have “completed” the remaining lessons I can filter down a bit and then review things I have already encountered whilst slowly introducing similarly difficulty content, but in different contexts.

I remember Steve saying about reviewing the Mini-stories after every 5 lessons, but I’m reluctant to do this as I am basing it on current words known and learnt. (beginner 2 is misleading.) - fortunately these are now a lot simpler than I first thought :slight_smile:

I suppose a more accurate question would be; “Is is worth reviewing/revising the same content that uses very common words I have already encountered.”

Any ideas?


If you are talking about texts and audio lesson, in my opinion you should revew them five times during a week, but the longer a lesson is, the more you should review it to fix all the phrases and contents.

I started at the beginning of march, right where you are. For me, I made the mini stories the focus, but I also read through “eating out” and “who is she” before the mini stories not realizing they were there.

You can find “kids” news articles here:
some of the article even come with audio. also look at the news feed and pick a few articles, you’d be surprised how many words carry over once you get into more complex topics.

But honestly pick up and drop content as it interests you. that said, I listened to each mini story at least 20 times by this point and keep going back.

the sooner you work your way through the mini stories, things seemed to get a lot better after that

If you do want to review content, here is my take. I’d say only review it after like 2 weeks or so have passed. That will give you a lot of time to see if it’s significantly easier for you the second time around. It gives you a better sense of achievement, and you are guaranteed to avoid any inefficient cramming. I would recommend never cramming anything when it comes to languages. Always implement intervals if you’re really trying to internalize a concept. This is one of the reasons that people like SRS, and this is the purpose of it. Don’t review these things multiple times in a short period. More time should pass between each review.

Also, don’t worry about getting words moved to known too early or too late. While the known words goals can be a great motivator, the important thing is that you have the definition for a word when you want it. You can always move the words back to lingqs, or turn them into lingqs. That’s not the issue.

I’d say it’s definitely worth reviewing things every once in a while just to see how much you have improved. I think it’s a good motivator with the added bonus of coming across some familiar words. Paul Nation, a pretty well known figure in SLA, also recommends that SLLs read things that are very easy. Easy to the extent that you don’t have to look up ANYTHING, grammar and/or words. This is for fluency development. Obviously that’s boring/hard at the beginning, but it’s something that is recommended as part of a complete SLA package. Don’t spend too much time on it, but go ahead and try it out every once in a while.

One last thing I want to add is that you may encounter the words in different contexts too. This way when you revisit after 2 weeks or so, you may have a better overall sense of the words too, which is fantastic for revisiting it. I imagine this would be really common at the beginning when the core words appear in various texts.


How do you, guys, look at the topic in perspective of beginning or intermediate learning, can you see any differences in the most effective attitude to learning techniques?

Personally, I can see a little differences there from my experience. At the beginning, 100 % sure the reading is so valuable even for the “revising” = the common words repeat again and again on all pages of the book. In the next stages, probably some additional revising could be useful (some sort of words you find only occasionally)

Like you said, I haven’t seen enough of a difference other than the size of the content. a book will be advanced and an a news article might be beginner, but the topics could be the same. just the length varies, even if the vocabulary is about the same.

For example: I read through the little prince, and am going through Lord of the rings now. I am barely done the prologue of LOTR and I have read more words than in all of the little prince, but the actual words are about the same in difficulty, and even the grammar most of the time from what I have seen.

I can’t speak for the very beginning process using LingQ as I started off at probably an A1-ish level already. However, I did start LingQ by importing all of assimil into LingQ and starting from scratch. For myself I mostly started off repeating those beginning lessons a lot, until I felt like I knew the words and I could hear them well as well. I can’t say for sure if this was a good strategy at the beginning stages or not. Others here don’t repeat at all so you can certainly do it in different ways. The beginning words are going to be used very frequently though so in many ways “review” is going to happen in new content…and quite frequently.

Later stages I’ve continued to use shorter stories/lessons that I use for repeating (usually a few times over the course of up to a few days). Other content I only read once…for instance reading of longer books broken into lessons, or long articles. These would typically be more difficult content.

On the content that I repeat, I try to progress learning of the new words, but if I don’t get them all ingrained in a few days, I’ll still move on. There will be sticklers that will always be hard to learn…best to move on and see the word in a new context later…and also learn new words that will be easier to “stick”.

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