no two students will approach Latin in exactly the same way, experience
teaches that systematic, organized approaches work best. Some
basic tips for success:
up with the work.
Latin is like learning math: what we do today builds on what
we did yesterday; fall behind, and it quickly becomes very difficult
to catch up. You should work on Latin every day - don't save
it all for the night before class!
trying to attain in one year a level of proficiency in Latin
that Roman children took years to acquire (indeed, most adult
Romans never acquired the level of literacy that you're aiming
for). The way to do this is by constant review of vocabulary,
syntax, and morphology. Do whatever works for you — flash
cards, drilling with a friend, on-line drills, study guide exercises
— but do it!
Read, don't memorize.
That is, rather than memorizing an English translation of every
sentence or passage, focus on putting all of the pieces together
in Latin. The result will be a closer focus on the Latin —
which is, after all, the primary objective of the course.
Latin isn't just different words.
Many native English-speakers tend to expect that learning a
different language primarily means learning different words.
In Latin, though, just learning the vocabulary won't get you
very far; without the rules of morphology and syntax that tell
you how the words fit together, Latin sentences will remain
mystifying gibberish. Commit to learning Latin grammar from
the start, and you'll save yourself a lot of heartache later.
Compare, but don't confuse.
Latin grammar and vocabulary has a lot of parallels in other
languages, and if you can use those parallels to help you, go
for it. But beware! Latin isn't exactly like any other language,
so be careful to approach each new topic with an open mind.