german language strategies

For Learners: The Top 10 German Learning Strategies

learn german @ germanpod101.comHey Junkies!

Let’s talk about German learning strategies. There is one great strategy that you’ll see here again and again. It’s reviewing. And it comes in many forms. So, today, you’re going to learn the top 10 German learning strategies (be sure to add your own in the comments so we can make this a top 20 list!).

These will help you speak, read, and understand German better.

Now, reading advice is one thing. Any dummy can do that. Putting it to use is another. So let’s get to it.

  • You’ll learn German learning strategies.
  • You’ll learn how to read & say them in German (which means you learn even more German). Romanization, Translations.
  • Feel free to print this out for your own review.

1. Listen and read along to understand German better.

  • Hör zu und lies mit um Deutsch besser zu verstehen.

This my favorite German learning strategy.


It’s one of the fastest ways to improve your reading, understanding and speaking skills. And boosting grammar and vocab. All at the same damn time.

Sounds too good to be true… but it’s not so easy. Why? To make it possible – you absolutely need the text of the audio that you can read along with while you listen to an audio lesson. Most resources won’t give that to you. That’s why it’s not so easy to do.

Here’s an example from my favorite German learning site – GermanPod101 – where you can listen and read along.

german learning strategies

Why does it work so well?

  • For Reading
    • Simply put, reading is a lot easier when you can follow along with audio. You can also read faster if you practice again and again.
  • Comprehension and Understanding.
    • You understand which word is which with the audio.
    • You get instant translations and instantly know what you’re reading.
    • Grammar comes a lot easier as you see it in action.
  • For Speaking & Pronunciation

    • If you read out loud – and do it again and again, you can speak faster.
    • Hearing the pronunciation helps yours.

2. Record your voice and compare your pronunciation with native German speakers.

  • Nimm deine Stimme auf und vergleiche deine Aussprache mit der von deutschen Muttersprachlern.

Highly uncommon advice. However, if you record your German speaking… and compare it with a native speaker… you will INSTANTLY hear the difference. The result? You adjust yourself and you speak better German.


If you do this… this strategy that will make you sound BETTER than any self-learner. How would you know how bad you sound… if you’ve never heard and compared yourself, huh?

germanpod101 voice recorder

Great for perfecting your German pronunciation.

3. Download dialog tracks and listen to the German conversations.

  • Lade Dialoge herunter und höre dir die deutschen Unterhaltungen an.

german language strategies

Imagine cycling through flashcards. You learn words or phrases.

That’s nice…. but empty. Words are just words.

Now Imagine having a playlist of German conversations & lessons on your iPhone. Just German. No English. You can listen and re-listen and listen until real German conversations are stuck in your head.

german playlist

The magic here to is to re-listen many times over. I always add new lessons to my iPhone music playlist. Then, I’ll re-listen (and try to repeat) several times a day. Sometimes I pay attention and check every word, other times, I just listen to refresh myself.

4. Repeat the phrases that you hear out loud again and again.

  • Wiederhole die Ausdrücke die du hörst immer und immer wieder laut.

Why repeat? Well, in order to speak German…. you must open your mouth, push some air out of your throat, emit sounds and… SPEAK German.

german language strategies

Repetition is the mother of all learning for a reason. It’s how brainwashing is done. It’s how marketing works on you. And it’s how people master a language. If you repeat a phrase once, or twice, you’re kidding yourself.

5. Review old lessons to master them completely.

  • Wiederhole alte Lektionen um sie komplett zu meistern.

As soon as people are done with something… they move on. Finished an App? Move on. Finished a video lesson or work book? Move on.

german language strategies

The magic to fluency is in reviewing (again, repetition). Noone remembers things on their first try. Or second. But with enough reviews – you’ll be mastering German.

6. Stay motivated by tracking your learning progress with the Dashboard.

  • Bleib motiviert indem du mit dem Dashboard deine Lernfortschritte mitverfolgst.

How many German words do you know? How long can you speak German for… – 5 minutes, 10 minutes? You should know the answers to these questions.

germanpod dashboard

By tracking your progress and knowing how much you know… you become invested in the language. Imagine, what if you knew 500 German words and phrases. That’s a lot. That tells you that you can get to 520, 550, 600. And soon enough, 800. It goes on.

This is great for motivation.

If you sign up at GermanPod101, you can track your progress (lessons, hours, flashcards, % of series completed) with the Dashboard as shown above.

7. Read lines slowly at first. Then re-read and increase your speed.

  • Lies die Zeilen erst langsam, dann lies sie nochmal schneller.

german language strategies

This is reviewing as well. However, THIS is what helped me read FAST and speak FAST. Any new sentence I started – I started reading slow. Then, I’d read it a little faster.

Then a little faster.

Then, I could read it with a single glance. At the same time, you familiarize yourself with more words and phrases. This makes future reading easier.

This is great with any reading material you choose. Textbooks. Audiobooks. Audio Lessons with scripts.

8. Set small and measurable learning goals with a deadline.

  • Setze dir kleine und messbare Lernziele mit einer Deadline.

german language strategies


  • Small: It’s realistic enough to do it. Most people fail at German because they SET hard, vague goals. Easy goals are easy (duh), very reachable and give you confidence to keep going when you reach one. Here are some examples:
    • learn 100 words in 1 week
    • learn 100 top phrases this week
    • finish 1 chapter of your textbook this week
  • Measurable: So you know if you reached it our not. If your goal is to learn 100 words – either you know 100 words or not. Either you finished 1 chapter this week or not. Done. No arguments.
  • Deadline: Believe me – nothing in school or in the working world gets done WITHOUT a deadline. If there was no deadline, nobody would do anything. Set your deadlines – by when do you plan to accomplish your small goal?

When will you learn German? Set a deadline!

9. Try harder lessons to challenge yourself and improve faster.

  • Probiere schwierigere Lektionen um dich zu fordern und schnellere Fortschritte zu machen.

german language strategies

Do you know what people do at the gym to get stronger?

They lift heavier weights.

Know how you can improve your German? Try lessons that are too hard for you. Yes, you will struggle. You will feel discomfort.

However, struggling is a sign that you’re improving. See, most people don’t get this because its uncomfortable. It feels bad. But if you can understand that – when it “feels bad,” that’s when you’re learning – you’ll be much more open to struggle.

10. Improve your listening skills by reviewing each line of the conversation with the Line-by-Line Audio tool.

  • Verbessere dein Hörverständnis indem du jede Zeile der Konversation mit dem Line-by-Line-Audio-Tool überprüfst.

german language strategies

What’s the line by line?

It’s an interesting tool (that really should be it’s own app & learning method) over at Basically, it breaks down the entire German conversation … line by line.. so you can read each line – in German or with English translations. And you can listen to each line, again and again as you read.

germanpod101 line by line

Very effective for understanding a German conversation 100%.

So, what are your thoughts?

What are your favorite German learning strategies? Let’s make a HUGE master list of strategies for new learners.

Add yours in the comments and I will add it to this list.

– The Main Junkie

P.S. I highly recommend this for German learners. If you REALLY want to learn to German with effective lessons by real teachers – Sign up for free at GermanPod101 (click here) and start learning!

learn german @

One thought on “For Learners: The Top 10 German Learning Strategies

  1. Thank you so much! I’m about to move to Germany, I want to study IT at a German school (best reputations all around Europe), but therefor I need German in C1 level. And I need it fast as the enrollment for the university I chose ends in September…yes I know I’m a little late for that, but I still have hope as my super-intensive German course starts in March and as far as I know, this might just be enough to get the desired level (might!). With this tips and other sites I’m positive to learn enough beforehand to maybe jump straight to level A2 :O (or even B1 >.<). Anyway thank you very much! Your site is saved now 😛 And I miiiiiiight come back with a looooooot of questions, so prepare for walls of text (o.o')

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