Perhaps the hardest aspect of learning French, or indeed any foreign language, especially for those of a certain age, is simply the matter of memory. Words, phrases, points of grammar, all are perfectly used during the lesson but somehow, like the Arabs, fold their tents and quietly steal away, leaving the learner depressed and wondering if the game is worth the candle.
Of course, this problem is nothing to do with the language itself. It’s a question of dying brain cells and is found in all aspects of life: failure to buy the item you went to the shop for, the tool you can’t find though you know exactly where you put it down, and the old classic – why did I come upstairs.
My solution to dealing with this is to write down what you want to remember. I always carry a small notebook to jot down words and phrases, and then review them at the end of the day. Many French people will spell out a word for you and this in itself is a help.
Come to think of it, maybe those teachers who made us write out our spellings five times got it right!