It is not a secret that you can not learn a language while just studying with a textbook. Everyone has his/her own tips and tricks.. Let's share them.
One of my trick is to learn word together with prepositions or postpositions they used with. It usually simplifies the usage of such word in conversations.. You don't need to remember rules as you know that this preposition or postposition is commonly used.
I use a pretty natural approach. In the beginning phases, I will find small articles that have both audio and text. I dont memorise words or check grammar etc, I just try and understand what the article is generally talking about. I do this for a few months, then I find a few novels that I have read in english (Harry potter, Dan brown etc), and find an audiobook that matches. Then I spend a few months listening AND reading to that, and after that its normally quite easy to pick up a novel or watch TV. After that, I start feeling a desire to speak the language, so I look for a partner, whilst still continuously reading novels that I want, or watching documentaries or TV series each day.
Ive found that its worked for me, and is really pleasant, since you can choose whatever books etc that you find interesting, and your not cramming anything into ur head.
Every thing people usually don't do, I do to learn German, or French.
I LOVE big lists of vocabulary with one or two definitions of the word with maybe one example to help me get the context. I end up learning 20-50 new words a day, and that's only because I love lists and that they work for me.
I understand that some people need exercises in order to learn new vocab, but I honestly don't understand the point of them. Exercises tell you a context in which to write in, but in reality you will NEVER know which situation or context you will be in, therefor sometimes you have to MAKE your own context without referring to a past exercise.
I also love knowing EVERY SINGLE WORD. Some would say "That's stupid, just learn the ""common"" words" well I see where they're coming from but as stated above: You NEVER know what situation you'll be thrown in, so it would be embarrassing to know what you want to say in your mother tongue, but because you said "I don't need this" you might be misunderstood, or worse offend someone.
Also I avoid articles that have the words "secret", "(number) of ways to...", and "master...in X amount of months". Most of them are, inaccurate, vague, not well explained, or they try to make you buy something that has really horrible information, or at worse misleading and just straight up WRONG.
Other than the articles, I'm not saying these are all "wrong" way to learn a language, they are just what works me, and because of the mind set of "You never know" I became about 3/4 fluent in German in a year, with 0 "Secrets" Just pure hard work.
I used to watch news and interviews in english to improve my listening skills. In such videos you can discover many new words about diverse topics. Using books is a good idea if we add an innovative method. To ameliorate vocabularies, I take an A4 paper I divide it into 8 parts in each one I write one vocabulary from a book of words ,its definition and a sample phrase. Daily, I memorise between 10 and 20 words and before starting, I revise the words of the two previous days. I hear words on the net ( I use google translator ) to learn pronounciation.
What's more, I used to watch movies with english subtitles. Hearing and watching the word at the same time in a real situation is very useful to get the meaning and to memorise it.
I can send you some materials (pdf books ) if you want.