I remember how great it is to speak another language and how much I like talking to other people. It's about communication.
Flash cards were a God-send!
I frequently used the repetition of writing the conjugation of verbs over and over to drill the verbs into my head, a.k.a. "muscle memory."
Associate actions/words with people/friends.
The best way for me to learn vocabulary and grammar was to translate (to English; then back to French on my own)the short passages they had in the beginning of the chapter.
One thing that I feel helped was to have the oral homework section taped (the lab was very prompt on doing this) and keeping each one as a sort of listening exercise. Reviewing them before a test helped as a sort of warm-up for the dictation section of each test.
Also, finding music, or telivision shows on cable that are in French. Celine Dion has put out one album called "The French Album"......hey....everything helps!
I only like study groups after I've had enough time on my own, just for reinforcement. Go into groups knowing the material pretty well.
Get comfortable. Even if it means chewing gum, sitting on the floor, or even leaving the room to work alone.
Use a pencil for dictation. It is not permanent and there are a lot of changes to be made.
Prepare BEFORE class, i.e. read over what will be presented in class. You get so much more out of it.
Don't hesitate to answer a question, even if you think you're wrong.
What I Wish I'd Done Differently:
Learn the vocabulary.
Don't hesitate to talk with your teacher outside of class.
I would have memorized more.
If you study alone I recommend you be in a room alone (or outside) where you can study aloud, hearing yourself speak.
It is very important that students of French know first the grammar of English. (see Morton's English Grammar for Students of French, recommended and available at the University Book Store.)