random Make sure you study every day. You will learn much more if you can study for 30 minutes, or even just 15 minutes, every single day. Make Latin part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth. In fact, make toothbrush time work for you! Write out one of your Latin stories in nice, big letters and tape it to the bathroom mirror and read it out loud as your perform your ablutions. Yes, that may make you the most eccentric person in your neighborhood. But it will also make you learn Latin.
random Make REVIEW a regular part of your study routine. With language learning, constant review and repetition is the key to success. So make sure that you begin each study session by reviewing what you learned in the previous session. Also, you should set aside one day each week dedicated 100% to review. Do not new material - just review what you have studied in the previous week, praising yourself lavishly for all that you have learned.
random Learn with stories and poems. As soon as possible, start studying Latin by reading stories and poems, instead of just relying on a textbook presentation of the vocabulary and grammar rules. You will get so much more out of reading Latin stories and poems than you will ever get out of a textbook! Stories and poems are something you can go back and read again (and then again and again), learning the vocabulary and grammar in context.
random Copying Latin: learning with your hands and fingers. It is a great idea to copy out Latin by hand, sounding out the Latin as you write it. The sheer act of moving - moving your fingers, moving your tongue, moving your brain - is a great way to become more and more familiar with the Latin. So after you have read a text, any text, in Latin, copy it out by hand, word by word, reading it aloud as you copy. Then copy it again. And then copy it again. You will be learning with every word you copy.
random Keep a learning diary. You will learn best if you can study Latin every day, even if you just study for 15 minutes each day! To make sure you are studying every day, create a learning diary where you can make notes about what you have practiced each day. You can buy an engagement calendar or journal if you want to keep a pen-and-paper diary, or you can create a free online blog at blogger.com if you want to keep your learning diary online.
random Keep a Latin quotations diary. A great way to remember vocabulary and grammatical forms is by memorizing your favorite Latin phrases and quotations. There are thousands of wonderful proverbs in Latin, and you can also memorize pithy phrases from Latin poetry and prose that you are reading. If you write down your favorites phrases in a Latin quotations diary, you will be able to look back months or even years from now and enjoy the Latin again and again.
random Create a Grammar Gallery notebook. Grammar is best learned by example! So start keeping a Grammar Gallery Notebook where you can write down specific sentences and phrases that give concrete examples which you understand of the different grammatical features of Latin. If you have learned that there is an "ablative absolute" in Latin, for example, then create an "ablative absolute" page in your Grammar Gallery Notebook where you can write down sentences that contain ablative absolutes (you may, or may not, write out an English translation to go with the Latin sentence).
random Use a Study Guide for each story or poem you read. You should use a Study Guide for each story or poem that you read. There might be a Study Guide supplied with the story or poem (many textbooks have study questions, and there are study guides for many of the stories at poems at BestLatin.net) - but you can also make up a Study Guide based on your own study habits. Take a look at this sample Study Guide to get a sense of what components a good Study Guide might include.
random Archive your notes! As you study, save ALL your notes. Save your vocabulary flash cards, save the texts of any story or any poem that you read, save the Study Guides you use, save the texts that you copy by hand - save everything! That way, you will be able to go back and review your past work. Language learning is just 10% new learning... and 90% review. Anything that you learn, you will need to re-learn and re-learn, over and over again, until it becomes automatic. If you save all your notes and papers, you will be able to easily go back and review all your old work again in the future.
random Praise yourself constantly. Yes, you ARE doing a good job. Every time you sit down to study and work on Latin, you are making progress - and you need to praise yourself lavishly for every bit of progress that you make. Here are some Latin adverbs you can use for recognizing your wonderful work: bene! optime! egregie! praeclare! eximie! lepide! magnifice! pulchre! excellenter! praecellenter! laudabiliter!
random Say EVERYTHING out loud. You will always learn more if you make noise! Speaking and listening are primary language activities - reading and writing are secondary. So say everything out loud while you read, while you drill with flashcards, etc. The more noise you make, the more Latin you will learn.
random Don't worry about your "accent" in Latin. Let's face it: Latin is a dead language! There is nobody left among the living who has any right to criticize how you choose to pronounce the Latin. Most schools teach a Roman or modified-Roman pronunciation, but over the past three thousand years Latin has been pronounced in thousands of different ways by the many different communities of Latin speakers. The only thing that is important to remember is that there are no silent letters in Latin the way there are in English. So as long as you are pronouncing every letter in Latin, don't worry about too much about your "accent" - the important thing is to read with confidence, which only comes with practice, practice and more practice.
random Listen to the news in Latin. Yes, you can listen to the news in Latin thanks to the folks at Nuntii Latini, a weekly news show produced in Latin by the folks at Radio Finland. The audio is available each week in RealAudio format, and there is also a transcript of the broadcast.
random Create your own audio dictation exercises. You can create your own audio dictation exercises by creating your own audio recordings with a cheap cassette recorder. Take your current vocabulary list, for example, and create an audio recording where you say - very slowly - the English meaning of the word (pause) and then the Latin word. You can use this tape as dictation practice - you can try to write the Latin word based on the English meaning, and then use the Latin to either correct what you wrote or prompt you if you were not able to write the Latin on your own.
random Create your own flash cards. You can get 1000 blank flash cards for $6 from vis-ed.com - and make sure you create your own flash cards. Do not buy a pre-packaged set. A big part of learning from flash cards is the vocabulary acquisition that takes place while you are writing out the cards to begin with!
random Use flash cards to drill word forms. Most people are used to using flash cards to drill vocabulary, with Latin on one side, and English on the other - but you can also use flash cards to practice word forms! For example, write the first principal part of a verb on one side of the card, and then write the other principal parts on the reverse of the card.
random Carry flash cards with you everywhere you go. If you carry flash cards with you, you are ready to make use of every odd moment to reinforce your Latin skills. Plus it's a great conversation starter... especially if you are muttering to yourself in Latin while you drill the cards (and you should always say the words out loud when you drill with flash cards, even if you just whisper them).
random Think IN LATIN, instead of translating into English. If you are serious about learning Latin, you should focus on understanding the Latin in Latin, "thinking in Latin," rather than constantly translating the Latin into English. Latin and English are very different languages, and there are some aspects of Latin - especially the word order - which can never be fully conveyed in English. So when you read in Latin, make sure you understand the meaning of what you are reading... but do not spend too much time writing out translations in English. Your goal is to read Latin - not to write English.
random Rewrite Latin in English word order. Since Latin word order is extremely free, you can let this work to your advantage. Whenever you want, just take a Latin sentence and write it out in English word order: Subject-Verb-Object. The S-V-O word order is not extremely common in Latin, but it is a perfectly acceptable kind of sentence. You will learn and remember more by re-writing the Latin out in English word order instead of trying to write out an English translation.
random Learn vocabulary in context. You should only study vocabulary that you are using in stories and sentences. Do not just make vocabulary lists for their own sake! Instead, compile lists of stories and sentences that you read (and read those stories and sentences again, and then read them again and again). Use these stories and sentences to learn the meaning of the vocabulary, and use flash cards only to practice words that you are reading in context. You should be learning vocabulary in order to help you understand the meaning of actual Latin stories and sentences.
random Keep a good paperback dictionary at hand. You want a dictionary that is big, but not too big, which you can have at hand. A good choice is John Traupman's Bantam New College Latin & English Dictionary, although any of the standard paperback Latin dictionaries will probably suit your needs. You should use this paperback dictionary to do your first look-up, and then be prepared to turn to a bigger dictionary (like the Lewis & Short dictionary at Perseus) when the paperback dictionary is not able to give you the answer you need.
random Latin roots and English vocabulary. It is a fantastic idea to connect your Latin vocabulary to English words that are built from the same Latin root. Many English dictionaries (like dictionary.com or Merriam-Webster online) given information about English word origins, so that you can see if an English word comes from Latin. So when you learn a new Latin word, take your best guess at an English word that might come from the Latin - and then look up the English word online to see if you are correct.
random Learn how to use the online Latin Tools at Perseus. The Latin Tools at Perseus are invaluable. They are not perfect... but they can provide you with an incredible amount of help. You need to learn how to use the Latin Morphological Tool, the Dictionary Look-Up (make sure you select "Latin" - because the default is "Greek"), and the English-Latin Dictionary Search. The user interface is not exactly designed for beginners, but it's worth your while to take some time to browse around the site and learn to use the Tools. They are fabulous!
random Read the Latin dictionary for fun. You can discover amazing things simply by reading through the Latin dictionary for fun. You can read through a paperback dictionary to learn some basics about Latin vocabulary, but the real fun begins with you start reading through the entries in a big Latin dictionary, like the Lewis & Short dictionary online at Perseus. Just look up some English word, any English word, in the English-Latin version of the dictionary and see what you can learn from looking at the various Latin dictionary entries.