Indiana Jones had one—and it worked.
And while we’re not searching for the Lost City or the Holy Grail—we need one, too.
You do know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
C’mon, think about it. Indy was searching. We, the Spanish learners of the world, are searching, too.
He hunted for artifacts. We’re looking for something that’s just as valuable.
So, have you figured it out yet? What’s the tool that led Indiana Jones to the treasure?
Yes, you do remember! I knew you would!
That’s right—he had a map!
For language learners, a study guide is the map.
Let’s see how we can make our maps work as well as the eminent professor did!
What Is a Study Guide, and Why Is It Useful for Learning Spanish?
A study guide really is like a map for language learners. I’m not just saying that—it’s true.
Most maps show you a way to get from point A to point Z, or, to put it in typical treasure map terms, from wherever you are to the big red X that marks the spot where the treasure lies. Study guides do the same, with the starting point being absolute beginning learner and the goal, our X, as all-important fluency.
Study guides are similar to treasure maps in other ways, as well. A goal list replaces a landmark-and-miles key but the idea is the same.
In general, study guides give you a step-by-step look at what you need to learn in what order. Many study guides, especially those that are built into learning programs, help you organize your progression through a whole language level or broader set of material. Others target specific skills or subjects. In this post, we’ll look at both kinds.
Studies have shown that independent learning with a study guide format can be very beneficial. And since language learners often pursue individualized language programs, this is good news for us!
X Marks the Spot! 11 Study Guides to Spanish Fluency
Spanish Study Guides Available Online
UniSpain specializes in presenting a variety of Spanish courses for language learners in specific locations around Spain.
This study guide is for absolute beginners. It’s an e-book introduction to Spanish with basic lessons, designed to teach some core skills.
It’s especially useful for learners who may be trying to decide whether to pursue the language or anyone who just wants some extra lessons. In any event, this prestigious organization makes the guide available for free, so it’s worth a peek.
The College-Level Examination Program is a series of tests designed to give students the opportunity to get credit for knowledge they’ve already mastered. The test results are accepted by over 2,900 colleges who use those scores to determine whether credit will be awarded.
The actual Spanish exam stresses vocabulary and grammatical usage mastery along with reading skills.
While this study guide is a clear map for plotting success on the CLEP, it’s very useful for any Spanish learner. Any extra guidance on the tough topics is beneficial, and this guide, which includes video lessons and quizzes, hits the important issues.
FluentU’s Spanish Playlists
If all this talk of organized guides and tests is making you feel sleepy and not putting you in a fluency-hunting mood at all, you might find FluentU to be a more appealing online option.
FluentU takes real-world videos, like music videos, commercials, news and inspiring talks, and turns them into Spanish learning experiences.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos—topics like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
Plus, if you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
This Level 1 Spanish study guide in PDF format is a super guide!
It covers all of the material taught in the Level 1 Rosetta Stone course, including the alphabet, numbers, sentence structure and much more.
Using this guide will certainly take beginners a substantial way into Spanish language learning. It’s a great first resource—even if you’re not doing the full Rosetta Stone course.
Reflexive Verbs PDF from savvyseñorita inthecity
Verbos reflexivos (reflexive verbs) have been known to throw some Spanish language students off track, but this PDF guide takes the mystery out of the confusing topic.
Just to make it clear what this one covers, let’s refresh our memories on the guide’s topic.
A reflexive verb is a verb where the action of the verb falls on itself.
It sounds complicated but consider this simple example:
Yo me baño. (I bathe myself.)
The verb baño (I bathe) is considered reflexive because the action of bathing is exerted on oneself.
That bare-bones explanation pales by comparison to the material in the study guide. It lists reflexive verbs with translations, and along with the included practice lessons it’s a comprehensive tool for mastering this particular topic.
Targeted guides like this one are particularly helpful for trickier aspects of Spanish study. Look for more topic-specific guides by searching “Spanish study guide + subject.”
The Ultimate SAT Spanish Subject Test Study Guide on Prep Scholar
The Spanish SAT exam is taken for college admission purposes. It’s an exam that covers vocabulary, sentence structure and reading comprehension. Idioms and cultural references appear on the test as well.
This study guide is broad. It covers all topics on the SAT, provides tips for passing and even gives example questions.
Spanish language learners of all levels need to keep these skills polished, whether they’re taking the exam or not. It never hurts to get up to speed on the basics of the language and this is a resource that addresses them.
Books and Software That Include Spanish Study Guides
Great news! Many Spanish software and book courses include study guides with their programs!
That’s a bonus to learners because the road map to success is already part of the course package. Just like with the study guides for online courses above, they often provide in-depth explanations for material covered by audio lessons.
This course comes with nine audio CDs and not just one study guide, but three!
The three guides support the 46 audio lessons on the CDs. There are extra language exercises, grammar summaries and an in-depth glossary. Also, the guides feature cultural material, making this a bonanza of Spanish learning material!
This intermediate Spanish course promises to make learners “functionally fluent” by the end of the course. In other words, its focus is to provide resources to help adult learners actually interact in a Spanish-speaking environment.
The course is 10 units long. The study guide maps the path to fluency using grammar drills, intermediate-level practice exercises and review sections designed to facilitate language retention.
This course operates under the premise that the fastest way to get from point A (beginner, remember?) to point X is by following a route that focuses on grammar. This guidebook combines two guides (“Easy Spanish Step-by-Step” and “Advanced Spanish Step-by-Step”) into one, so it’s definitely wide-ranging.
This guide touches on other topics besides grammar, including vocabulary building, idioms and sentence structure.
An audio guide builds listening skills. This program covers a lot of ground—and in a concise format!
“Accelerated Spanish” is a three-volume program designed to teach Spanish the way native speakers learn the language. It asserts that it has the potential to make learners fluent in an accelerated time frame.
Fast track to the goal? Worth a try, isn’t it?
The guides provide vocabulary, still more vocabulary and then stress using that vast vocabulary in conversational situations.
It’s a highly recommended program—and looks like it’s got a lot of satisfied learners.
This one provides information on key grammar points and explains the finer points of mastering tricky subjects. It covers difficult prepositions, adjectives used as adverbs and tense changes, just to name a few.
If you’re like so many Spanish language learners who find grammar a stumbling block on the route to fluency, pick this one up. It answers every question regarding grammar and its application!
Study guides really do map the language learning journey and eliminate surprises by moving learners closer to their goals.
Indiana didn’t leave home without his map.
Don’t leave home without yours.
Grab a study guide or two and follow the route straight to the Spanish treasure!
¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.