Now that I've gone through two of their Comprehensive language series, as well as a Quick Start in Hindi, here's the advice I would give myself were I starting again (and could talk to myself as two different people, of course ;-) :
- Carry a good pocket dictionary and use it while listening. Seeing helps remove audio amibiguities, and locks in the learning with a secondary sensory modality.
- Ignore that "Tomorrow, please start with Lesson 2" business. I still don't know what they intend by that.
- Use spaced repetition of lessons. With Japanese and the later Chinese lessons I was able to review yesterday's lesson before starting a new day's lesson, giving two days in a row to each. With Chinese I ran through each lesson from the week a third time. I'd still like to do a quick review of all sessions after finishing, giving me a four or five week review.
- During reviews, use a variety of vocal tones to dramatize the repetitions... high voices, low voices, loud, soft... break it up. Imagine speaking in different situations.
- During reviews, elaborate the spoken replies. Make longer sentences, tie them in with your own questions, negate assertions, change the tense of speech... use their questions as a trigger for a range of different replies.
This material is great; I would definitely rely on it again. Pimsleur doesn't do everything -- it ignores formal grammar, vocabulary accumulation, and only touches on cultural communication issues -- but for an ability to hear and respond easily, with a range of pattern sentences and assistance in pronunciation, it's definitely, definitely useful.
(And if you came to this blog because a search engine told you that you might be able to find various Pimsleur materials here (I get "free Pimsleur downloads" and "Pimsleur MP3" as frequent incoming referrer terms), then please spend some time looking at the other articles I've written here, which give you the best actual links. It may take some time, but just keep looking.)