Experiment 1 compared the effectiveness of retrieval practice, the keyword mnemonic and rote rehearsal for learning foreign language vocabulary. Both mnemonic methods produced similar recall and were superior to rote rehearsal. In Experiment 2, participants learned German vocabulary using keywords, retrieval practice or their own method. Retrieval practice and keyword-based recall were similar and superior to self-directed study. In Experiment 3, participants studied using keywords, retrieval practice, a combination or an elaboration strategy. Criterion testing occurred immediately and after a week. For receptive learning, retrieval practice and keywords were equally beneficial but for productive learning, retrieval practice was more effective. Combining strategies produced mixed results with significant benefits only for receptive learning in the delayed test. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.