8 Easy Methods To Improve Your English Language Skills
Are you an international student looking to apply for an English-taught postgraduate course? If English isn’t your first language, it’s likely you’ll have to prove your proficiency for your postgraduate application.
There are several English language tests on the market you may take including TOEFL and IELTS. You can find out more information on our blog if you are required to complete an English Language test. These exams test your skills in four areas; reading, listening, speaking and writing.
To help you improve your English language before completing exams and completing your postgraduate application, we have some habit tips to help you improve your English skills over time.
#1 English media
There is no shortage of easily accessible media on the internet for people to immerse themselves in the English language. There are tons of TV shows, films, music, books and other materials to help you learn English over time. You can start by watching the shows with subtitles in your native language before swapping to English. Eventually, you should be able to understand the language altogether.
Another method you can do is listen to podcasts if you are running an errand or at the gym. The podcasts can help build a real-life conversation in English rather than acted and fake conversations you would normally see on TV. Scientific studies have shown music sets in a tone can help with memorising certain words. It’s worth expanding your music collection to include a strong selection of different types of music genres.
#2 Practice with friends or family
Speaking is an important component of the English language test. The exact format of the test differs but you will either be speaking into a microphone or through a face-to-face with an examiner. But no matter what the format is, you will need to be comfortable speaking out loud.
Regular conversations with someone who is fluent is the best way to get comfortable. Consider speaking in partial English with the idea of transitioning to English full-time while conversing with someone. If you don’t have a friend or family, there are some online groups you could join to help improve your language skills. These groups could either be people also learning English, or in groups specialising in gaming, music, or a similar interest of yours.
#3 Change your phone and the PC to English
Changing the language of something you use on a daily basis is a good way to help understand things easily in English. Changing the language setting on your phone and pc to English encourages you to understand what some components mean in English. A note though: Make sure you save the path in case you need to change it back.
#4 Label everyday objects
Although this is very time-consuming, labelling objects around your house with a label maker will help you remember the name of each object. It’s not uncommon to forget names in English especially as you tend to mind-read in your native tongue. Every time you use the object, read the word out loud and embed it into your memory.
#5 Speak out loud
Research has shown those who speak out tend to memorise the words quicker than not. By speaking out, whether to a friend, family or even in the mirror, you are more likely to remember the words. If you tie the word to an object, using drink as an example, you could tie water in a glass equals a drink. A sandwich would be bread on a plate. By using this technique, you can grasp the language quickly and effectively.
English is not an easy language to learn. Sometimes one word does not sound similar to another word even though they appear extremely similar. These words are called ‘homophones’, which means ‘same sounds’. Examples of such words are ‘two’ and ‘two’, ‘ate’ and ‘eight’, and ‘you’re’ and ‘your’.
Sometimes, our language doesn’t always follow a logical pattern and sometimes it makes you feel like you made a mistake. For example, the plural of tooth is teeth but a booth is not two beeths. A horse hoof is hooves, but a roof is roofs (not rooves).
#7 Put yourself out there
One of the best methods to get outside of your comfort zone is to get into an event where you have no choice but to communicate in English. This could be something simple such as ordering food at a restaurant or asking for directions. The more you try, the more confidence you’ll get and don’t worry about getting things wrong – most people appreciate those who try to learn the language.
#8 Attend classes & exams
There are various classes available to those who want to learn English. Depending on where you live, the style of classes can differ from those in Anglophone countries. If you choose to attend an English-learning class, aim to attend one with a certified qualified teacher.
In addition to the classes, you can also practice your skills on various exams you can find online. The certified language exam boards have multiple exams of past exams readily available to download online for you to practice. The more you practice, the better you’ll become.
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