What is your strategy using the system?

Hello again,

So I just finished unit 17 of the A1 section. I’m adding every single word, sentences, phrase, letter, number and watherver everything… to the smart review. I also finished the present tense quiz for all the verbs that have been shown on every unit that I have finished. Now, I wonder if I should stop and dedicate more time on the smart review section. How do you use this system? How do you balance between the units and the smart review? Do you not continue the next unit until you have mastered all the sentences and vocabulary of a unit or you don’t care and keep going and going?


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Ok so I tried the smart review flashcards and it says that I have to complete 139 rounds of about 5 question each, to complete a review session!!! Am I doing something wrong? Is there a way to limit the number of items to review?

¡Olvídense! ya vi como hacerlo.

just do it)

I have been learning on this app with my husband for about 6 months now and this is what we have been doing, feel free to ignore me if you dislike learning this way:
Every day we get our smart review down to 0. Then we do 1-2 lessons in the next unit.
However, like you, it’s definitely possible to accidentally go too fast or, in our case, we were on vacation and had a ton in our backlog. In which case we did this:
Set a maximum number of rounds you can do everyday without being overwhelmed. For me personally, my eyes start to hurt and I start to make silly mistakes after round 17 or so.
Now do those max amount every day and do not do any more lessons in the units until your rounds is below your personal max amount and you can easily get it to 0 every day. I know 139 seems like a lot but it will go down as things move up to the short, long term, and mastered categories.

Ultimately practice Portuguese isn’t going to get you to 100% of the way there to fluency. You’re going to have to seek out Portuguese media such as books, films, music, and most importantly people to talk to. You should use practice Portuguese in whatever way that makes learning fun and makes you feel like you’re improving in consuming Portuguese media and talking to Portuguese people.


I use Smart Review first thing in the morning and last thing at night, even while travelling. I try to do it after every unit as well. That means that I only have time for 1-3 new units a day. The constant exposure helps me master sentences over time and made it possible for me to communicate adequately (beginner level) on a trip to Portugal after three months of studying about an hour a day.

At first, I added every new word encountered in shorties, etc., but that became a bit too much. Now I simply add all the new phrases at the end of each unit and a very few items from shorties. From what I have seen so far, I trust that PP has a good idea of what we need to know and when in our journey.

Of course, reaching fluency in a language eventually requires as much reading, listening, and speaking as possible, but at the beginning you have to learn many new words and sentences and how to pronounce them. At later stages you still need to do some [regular] study if you want to continue improving. I’m confident that with PP and Smart Review I will master Portuguese much more quickly than my other foreign languages.

We will naturally all have different approaches. Now I’m trying to make it more fun by doing more shorties. Lydia Máchova has some good videos on how to learn a new language to a B2 level within two years by studying effectively for an average of an hour a day. Just check out the free videos – it’s not necessary to pay for one of her courses.

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energy.of.life.perm ¡Pura energía! Keep on it. :grin:

mehzpez, jonfeller your advice has been well taken… Obrigadíssimo!

I personally do a few lessons, adding all the new phrases to Smart Review (but not any single words). I then run Smart Review at least twice a day until I feel I’ve mastered the new phrases, then do a few more lessons, and then back to Smart Review. It will take a long time to cover all the material and I accept fluency is a long ways away, but I’m making slow progress.

The difficulty is understanding what someone says when speaking to me. I can ask a simple question but I more often than not do not understand the reply. I probably understand something like 3000 words currently but a typical local knows tens of thousands and they use every one of them. The various accents don’t help either, as well as the speed at which the locals speak (I’m in the Algarve).

I do better with reading of course. Seeing the words spelled out, even if you’ve never encountered them before, makes it easier to translate what’s being said. Many Portuguese words have common roots with English words.


Using Smart Review Flashcard option is very good. Just do all the SR rounds that you can handle, every day, before opening a new Unit. That new Unit will generate in additional SR rounds. So, better to get on top of the SR’s. It’s a matter of just doing it.

Ok so I just finished unit 32 - “O verbo Pôr” of the A1 section. I have decided that I will finish the entire A1 section and then for the next month or so I will use the smart review options exclusively. After that I will began with section A2.

By the way I have searched and searched “e procurei” Youtube for channels that teach european portugues (or are european portuguese related), and so far I have only found 31. Out of those, fifteen are either explained in english :unamused: or the examples are given in english :neutral_face: (which by the way, the best one, even when is in english, is from a non-native portuguese teacher that is from Serbia), fourteen are completely presented in european portuguese :slightly_smiling_face: :slightly_smiling_face: :heavy_heart_exclamation:, and two are presented by teachers speaking spaÑish :grin: :grin: :grin::100: ¡Genial! Ótimo!. The thing is that I’m at this point where I prefer the channels that teach european portuguese exclusively in portuguese, even when I don’t understand every word they said, but since they almost always put written examples, I’m getting a very good understanding with the benefit that I’m training my ears. In one of those he speaks so slowly in order to make himself understood, that I set the playback speed to 1.75 times faster and I understand perfectly with the exception of few words here and there. So, if you can do it I invite you to do so.

While I sometimes do the lessons, I’m using the site as a resource to supplement the outside tutoring I’m receiving. In particular, the ability to use the Smart Review to generate MP3 files that I listen to in the car. I’ve got it set to say a word or phrase in English, pause, say the word/phrase in Portuguese, pause, then say the word/phrase in Portuguese again. I use the first pause as a chance to say the word from memory.

When I do this on a Windows computer, I’m able to download the MP3 file which I put into Google Drive making it accessible from all my devices and available anytime I want. You might be able to get the MP3 from the mobile app but I’ve not spent much time trying to figure that out.

Manipulating the Smart Review in this way affects the lessons of course.


Jerry thanks for the tips.

ok so as I said, yesterday I finished the A1 section and now I will proceed to use the smart review exclusively. Question is there a way to select only exercises where they talk, you listen, and then you have to type what they said? I mean not only select the words but to write everything. In my case the flash card are not useful for me because they are all in English.

Ok I see the utility of the flash cards but is very hard for me because there are moments that I have to translate to spanish to get the proper idea and then say aloud the sentence in portuguese. So I get lost in translation. Funny thing is that I’m using the translation tool and not even with that it match the translation given by the flash card.

I’ve been using Practice Portuguese for over a month now - mostly quite intensively. I’m extremely happy with it at many levels!!

QUESTION: I feel that through the units and exercises, various elements of grammar and vocabulary arise that are “ahead” of the basic level of the current unit. This is fine. However, over time, my Smart Review, includes more and more language elements that I have not yet been taught by PP - so it becomes difficult to answer the Smart Review questions because they include more and more of the 'more advanced" grammar. For example, I was getting confused by prepositions and contractions - and then demonstratives in particular.

Going ahead to those learning notes was really useful. This allowed me to finally understand things that were appearing frequently in my smart reviews that I could only guess at - or memorize. This has started to make it easier to benefit from my Smart Review backlog.

It seems there is no way to avoid this ‘problem’ - but perhaps there are different or better strategies, such as being more restrictive in choosing what to add to the Smart Reviews - or skipping ahead to ‘more advanced’ learning notes from time to time.

For me, it seems like a balancing act, where having too many elements to learn in each smart review card becomes counter productive, while having seeing some things from future units is good.

Also, for now I want to spend a bit less time studying Portuguese daily, but I want to reinforce what I have learned – and those extra elements from future units (that pervade my smart reviews) make it harder for me to commit what I have learned to a strong memory.

Seems I could have been more concise, but I hope you understand my ‘question’ here. Thanks for any suggestions!

Vastspace1 I don’t know what to tell you and I have to concur in all what you said. The program with the tools and everything is awesome and sometimes it gets tricky.

Today I got a smart card with a picture of a woman holding letters in front of a mailbox. First I thought “as suas cartas” but then I said “wait a minute that doesn’t specify the gender and there is a woman in the picture” so I change my response “as cartas dela”. Click to flip and the answer was “as suas cartas” go figure! :exploding_head:

I completely understand, the learning process does feel like a balancing act sometimes because there is so much information to learn, even for some of the simplest sentences. The A1 level contains many essential units, but it’s a lot to take in when it’s all brand new.

Some Smart Review phrases can just be memorized “as-is” at first, without understanding all the grammar. Over time, you’ll gradually start to fill in the gaps.

I think what you’re doing is generally the right approach — it’s okay to skip ahead to more advanced Learning Notes, especially when something makes you curious to learn more. But also don’t feel like you have to 100% understand each sentence right away. With some grammar, you can just get familiarity with a concept, but not fully dive into it until later.

If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, I would recommend redoing some of the early units, to try to strengthen your foundation. You could also spend time with “quiz mode” of Smart Review. This is easier than the flash cards so it can be used as a sort of stepping stone to get to the level of the flash cards. Don’t worry if you are still getting a lot wrong, this is expected. The system is set up to adapt to your performance, so you will get there eventually.

I also agree about being more selective about what you add to Smart Review. Only add the phrases that are most relevant to your life, or that are helpful for you in understanding a particular concept. If there are phrases in your Smart Review that just don’t feel useful at the moment, you can remove them to allow yourself to focus more on what you need right now.

Prepositions are particularly confusing because there are not very straightforward rules, so it takes a lot of time and exposure to the language to start getting comfortable with how they are used. For these, in addition to the prepositions units, I would recommend lots of listening practice with the Shorties (keeping an eye/ear out for when they are used), and adding a few phrases to your Smart Review for each preposition.

One other possible idea, if you are feeling the urge to jump ahead quite often: You could consider working through all the units first, just to get a full overview. Don’t try to understand each concept fully – just get some familiarity. Then, start from the beginning and work through more slowly and thoughtfully. Maybe after having at least a little exposure to the more advanced concepts, it will feel less confusing going through the second time.

Just some ideas!

You were right with ‘as cartas dela’ too! :wink: In fact, that is probably more common to hear for just that reason – it’s less ambiguous. There are lessons in that unit to show how both formats work, so you may have added one of those phrases. Read more here: When to use dele/dela vs. seu/sua

With some of those phrases, you can click on the “i” info icon in Smart Review to see the explanation, which should explain that there are other correct answers.

Definitely don’t feel like you have to complete every round if it’s that high! You’ll go crazy. :sweat_smile:

The number of rounds is just to let you know how many more you would have to do to get through everything that’s due. If it’s consistently really high, it either means you aren’t reviewing regularly, or it means you have added too many cards to Smart Review. If you’re adding every single word, that’s definitely too much. I would recommend removing some that are less relevant from the Manage Smart Review page. Going forward, just pick out a few words/phrases to add that are particularly helpful to you, or ones that you think you would use in your own life.

After that, if you’re reviewing pretty regularly, you don’t need to focus too much on the number.

As far as balancing out how much to spend on new units vs review, that often comes down to personal preference / learning style. I would say to check in with yourself at the end of each unit and ask yourself whether you have a decent grasp on what you’ve done so far. If not, spend a little extra time on Smart Review first, or consider redoing units. But don’t feel like you have to perfectly master everything first, especially if you feel motivated to go forward. Sometimes things you learn later will also help you fill in the gaps from what you learned in the beginning.

Molly, obrigado pelos teus comentários e sugestões.