Ways to improve your English
While there is no quick fix for English language issues, consistent practice in quick activities every day can make a big difference in the long run.
Practising your English skills purposefully can take as little 10 minutes per day. Spending time practising and setting goals about what you want to learn can help you to steadily improve your English and enjoy it more.
Your practice should be:
- Comprehensible - You understand most of the material.
- Interesting - You enjoy discovering new ideas about the topic; it could be one of your hobbies, for example.
- Daily - You spend 10 minutes a day, every day, focusing on a language skill.
Here are 10 tips from Unimelb students.
It is important to pick one skill you want to develop and set clear goals for each session. This can be any language skill or item you want to focus on. Aim for both the understanding and use of the language skill or item. It’s a good idea to practise a receptive skill, i.e., listening or reading, and a productive skill, i.e. speaking or writing, on alternate days. This allows you to both learn and practise using what you’ve learned while staying focused on one skill at a time.
Here are some examples of goals:
- Learn three new words and use them
- Learn and practise a grammar point (e.g. the use of ‘a/an’ or ‘the’, the use of an English tense or subject-verb agreement in a sentence)
- Understand the main idea in your reading or listening, and summarise it verbally or in writing
- Learn and practise ways to give your opinion on another’s idea, verbally or in writing
- ‘Free-write’ about the information (without stopping to edit your writing as you go)
- Talk about the information focusing on fluency (just keep talking with minimal pause)
- Practise pronunciation of an English sound, e.g. the 'th' sounds
- Practise putting sentence stress on important information
- Notice and practise ways to start a conversation
- Practise using idioms that you hear or read
You can quickly jot down a specific goal every day or make a list of all the goals you want to achieve in a week or a month. Whatever you do, be flexible about the goals as they can change with emergent language needs.
- Choose a comprehensible and interesting source, e.g., a newspaper article, a podcast or a picture
- Spend 10 minutes practising the skill
- Assess how your goal has been achieved, e.g. I read 5 pages and found 2 new expressions!
- Use language/skills learned from your practice in everyday communication
- Identify issues in everyday communication to set new goals for upcoming sessions.
And repeat the cycle from 1 to 5.
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Looking for one-on-one advice?
Get tailored advice from an Academic Skills adviser by booking an individual appointment, or get quick advice from one of our Academic Writing Tutors in our online drop-in sessions.