My main downfall throughout my language learning escapades is definately trying to remember new vocabulary that I've learnt and trying to remember the writing systems as I almost always manage to choose a language that has a different writing system to english! It seems sometimes that I spend hours learning words, phrases, grammar points, and sentences, but always seem to forget it all the next day and need to relearn it from scratch again!! It can be quite disheartening at times. I suppose it's just practise as I've found, with my better known language, I can learn new things quicker and easier then my newer acquired ones. Overall, I would say it perhaps comes down to physically using and speaking it aloud that will allow me to remember new items, but it's hard to get up the courage to do it. Does anyone else struggle or have any particular tips or methods to remember what they've learnt?
I have the exactly same problem in my language learning process. I think it might help if you try to use the new words as soon as possible. Recently Ive been trying a new method, that is, trying to incorporate the new words I learned into one little story. They are short(or shit :D) little stories I made up just to remember the words, and I think it's helpful. Every time I would use about 15 words and last time I checked I remember them all.
To memorise basic grammar and vocabulary, I usually repeat the same workbook at least several times. At first, I forget most of what I've learnt or don't understand very well, but I'm getting familiar to each point or expression little by little. When I was at school, a teacher said that a student who passed the entrance exam of a good university did a few well-known workbooks eight times each, so I tried to do the same thing and managed to get rather good marks on English exams. Some of the workbooks provided maps showing your progress. I enjoyed colouring each part on the maps. But, basically, this method is boring. I don't like it very much. My favourite way of memorising basic things is to talk to native speakers. It is much much easier to memorise what I speak in front ot others, especially mistakes I made. I enjoy getting reading for the next conversation.
To memorise complicated spellings, I use this software: 英単語学習ソフト P-Study System (http://www.takke.jp/).
By the say, when you speak, you should remember what you've learnt much more quickly. I think I need different methods from ones for reading and writing skills, so I've been trying the method called shadowing for abou a month. The professor who thought of it says that you should repeat after the reader's voice, and that sometimes you read the translation or transcription. I've chosen audiobooks that I know are easy enough to understand when I read. They also sound very slow while I'm just listening, but they seems too fast to do shadowing. I think that is because I have to be able to use what I've learnt immediately, but I'm not given enough time to remember it. My speaking and listening skills seem to have improved a little because of this method, but I'm not very sure. Anyway, it won't do any harm to me because I think it is a good thing to read books as a lot of people say.