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60 things you can do to improve your English

60 things you can do to improve your English:

  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Be confident. People can only correct your mistakes when they hear you make them.

  2. Surround yourself in English. Put yourself in an all English speaking environment where you can learn passively. The best way to learn is through speaking.

  3. Practise every day. Make yourself a study plan. Decide how much time a week you are going to spend studying and stick to it. Establish a routine.

  4. Tell your family and friends about your study plan. Get them to push you to study and also don’t let them interrupt you.

  5. Practise the 4 core skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. They all need to be worked on for you to improve.

  6. Keep a notebook of new words you learn. Use them in sentences and try to say them at least 3 times when you speak.

  7. Visit EC’s free learn English website at least once a day and complete a lesson.

  8. Memorisation of lists is one of the most common ways of learning vocabulary for a test. It's only a good exercise for short term studying because you often do not retain the information that you have learned for a test.

  9. Use your body clock. If you’re not a morning person, study in the afternoon.

  10. You will find words easier to remember if you try to remember an example sentence using that word rather the word on its own.

  11. Plan to take a test. You’ll find that you work harder when you need to study for something.

  12. Saying that, it’s better not to study just to take a test. Think of the bigger picture. What can you do when you have a good command of English? How will the quality of your life improve?

  13. Give yourself a long term goal. Focus on working towards it.

  14. Give yourself short term goals too and reward yourself when you achieve each one.

  15. Create an atmosphere in which you want to learn, not because you have to. You’ll learn more when you’re learning because you want to.

  16. Know what works best for you. Think about what methods have been successful for you in the past and stick with them.

  17. Figure out how you learn. It can be by memorising, reading, speaking, summarising or other methods. Find out how you study best. It can be in a quiet place by yourself or with a group.

  18. Get help! If you don’t understand something you’ve got to ask someone. Ask your teacher, classmates or friends for help.

  19. Review! Review! Review! Make sure that you take the time to review things you have studied in the past.

  20. It’s not a good idea to study on your own for more than 30 minutes at a time. Take regular breaks, get some fresh air and stretch your legs.

  21. Don’t be in such a hurry to move up a level. Concentrate on the level you are at now.

  22. Watch DVDs rather than TV. It’s better to use something that you can watch over again to catch information you might have missed the first time.

  23. Watching TV only gives you the chance to hear something correctly first time. This is better for high level students. It can be great practice for speaking to native English speakers so you don’t have to ask them to repeat themselves!

  24. Read graded readers. These books are especially written for your level. Read a whole novel. You can do it! You’ll feel great afterwards.

  25. Children’s books have easier words and are a good alternative to graded readers.

  26. Newspapers are a good place to find passive constructs. Read through an article and see if you can find the passive sentences.

  27. Read for the general meaning first. Don’t worry about understanding every word, then go back and look up new words.

  28. For a word you don’t understand in a sentence, look at the other words around it. They will give you a hint. Try to guess the meaning from the context.

  29. Learn root words. They’ll help you guess the meaning of words. For example: scrib = write, min = small

  30. When you learn a new word, think of all its other forms: Beautiful (adjective), beauty (noun), beautifully (adverb).

  31. Learn prefixes (dis-, un-, re-) and suffixes (-ly, -ment, -ful), these will help you to figure out the meaning of words and build your vocabulary.

  32. English, unlike Japanese or French, uses word stress. For new words, count the syllables and find where the stress is. Only one stress per word and always on a vowel. Two syllable verbs have a stress on the second syllable (beGIN). 2 syllable nouns (TEAcher) and adjectives (HAPpy) stress the first.

  33. Use English whenever you can. It’s as simple as that!

  34. Don’t translate into English from your own language. Think in English to improve your fluency. Talk to yourself…but not on the bus otherwise people will think you have gone crazy!

  35. You can’t learn English from a book. Like driving a car, you can only learn through doing it.

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