If you’re thinking about leveling up your English, now’s the time to jump in. But where to start? Well, we’ve got a plan with five simple steps that’ll help you pick up English faster.
Step 1: Set Goals
First things first, set yourself some goals when it comes to learning English. Trust us; this step is a must for two big reasons. Number one, having a goal in mind will motivate you, you will have a specific result you want to achieve. This will help you track your progress and determine how effective your learning is at each stage.
Number two, once you’ve got your goals in sight, you can plan your learning journey correctly and choose the learning methods that suit you best. For instance, if you’re prepping for the TOEFL exam or just want to master everyday chat, you’ll follow different paths.
Set specific goals with realistic deadlines. For example:
- Prepare for the TOEFL exam in one month and score 100 points or higher
- Level up your English from level A1 to level B1 within a year
- Learn 100 new words in a week
- Read two books in English in a month
- Travel in a year and chat it up with the locals in English
- Pass an interview at an international company
- Apply to a foreign university after school (with some mini-goals like acing English tests, sorting out paperwork, and nailing that motivation letter).
Keep it realistic. Be real with yourself about your abilities and how much time you’ve got. No need to promise you’ll go from Beginner to Advanced in two months – that’s setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, promise to give it your all and get closer to your goal. If you overshoot it, even better.
And when you’re making a year-long plan, remember to break it down into bite-sized goals for the short term. If you only focus on global goals, you’ll quickly lose motivation. It’s better to set sub-goals to achieve in 2-3 months and adjust the plan if something goes wrong.
Step 2. Check Out Your Skills
Take a look at what you’re good at and where you might need a little boost. This helps you focus on what really matters for your success. Let’s say you’re not so great at understanding spoken English, but you blaze through written stuff and grasp ideas on the fly. So, put some extra effort into improving your listening skills and make sure you’ve got plenty of time for it in your schedule.
Check your study habits too: Maybe you don’t realize it, but your brain might not be firing on all cylinders before lunch, yet you become a genius after dinner. Take a closer look at how you usually study and learn. Can you go at it for a longer stretch once or twice a week, or is it easier for you to tackle it in short 30-minute bursts every day?
Step 3: Pick Your English Learning Style
Alright, so you’ve got your goals and deadlines all figured out. Now, let’s chat about how you’re gonna tackle English. We’ve got a bunch of ways to go about it, and you can totally mix and match them however you like.
Learning with a Tutor
First up, we’ve got one-on-one English tutoring. This is like the express lane to becoming an English pro. But there’s no escaping homework, and you can’t hide from your tutor if you’re not feeling up to answering questions. It’s a bit like working out at the gym – you’ve got to put in the effort yourself. But don’t worry, your tutor’s not there to make your life miserable. They’re gonna tailor the lessons to fit your strengths and weaknesses. Struggling with verb tenses? They’ll load you up with grammar exercises. Need to chat it up in English? They’ll have friendly conversations with you. You can even learn English over a video call on Skype!
- Lessons are all about you and your goals.
- You decide when to study, so it’s super flexible.
- You can learn at your own pace, no competition here.
- You can do it offline or online.
- It can be a bit pricey.
- Someone might feel a little shy about one-on-one learning.
- Different tutors have different styles, so you might need to shop around.
- You won’t get exposure to various accents and viewpoints.
Language School Courses
Next up, we’ve got English courses at language schools. You’ll be part of a group here, but the smaller the group, the better. Usually, there are about 4-8 students, so keep that in mind when you’re picking a school. To really make the most of it, look for courses taught by professional teachers – people who speak English like it’s their first language and have experience teaching it. If you just end up with an American or Brit who’s a regular office worker, your lessons could turn into paid chit-chats. They’ll be polite, nod, and say nice things, but they won’t correct mistakes or give explanations, so you might not make much progress.
Language courses can happen in the morning, afternoon, evening, or even on weekends. You can have classes once a week or a few times a week. Each group follows a plan with specific topics and the time it takes to complete a level.
One big plus with language courses is the lively vibe and loads of speaking practice. You’ll work in groups, join discussions, play games, and chat with classmates who are on the same language-learning journey as you.
So, what’s the difference between taking English courses in your hometown and going abroad? It’s all about how immersed you get. In your country, even with a native English speaker, progress can be slow; it might take months or even years. Abroad, courses that last 2-4 weeks can really give you a boost, especially if there aren’t many folks from your home country in your group.
- It’s usually cheaper than one-on-one lessons.
- You get to meet other students.
- Regular classes keep you on track.
- You get plenty of interaction and practice.
- You’ll need to find a school close to home or work to avoid long commutes.
- The group’s proficiency can vary, and slower learners might hold you back.
- Fixed class schedules, not much flexibility.
- Limited exposure to different accents.
Online English Courses
Now, if you’re all about the online world, we’ve got you covered there too. Online courses come with a clear plan, and they’re often interactive and fun. Plus, they’re cheaper than a language school, but they do demand some serious motivation and self-discipline. We recommend going for courses that offer feedback and chat rooms so your homework doesn’t just sit there unattended, and you can ask questions and chat with other students.
At LinguaTrip.com, we’ve got two types of online courses: marathons and intensives. Marathons are for those who want a quick boost in a specific area and are ready to dive in right now; they’ve got a set start date. Intensives are pre-recorded video courses with assignments that you can tackle whenever it suits you.
- Super convenient – you can learn anywhere, even under your cozy blankets.
- It won’t break the bank like one-on-one tutoring or language schools.
- The lessons are all structured with extra materials.
- There’s feedback and chat rooms so you can interact.
- You’ll have tests at the end of lessons or levels to track your progress.
- The quality of online courses can vary, so you’ll need to pick carefully from the options.
- You’ve gotta stay motivated and disciplined on your own.
- You won’t have direct contact with a teacher, which can affect your motivation.
- You won’t get much practice speaking and listening.
Learning English Solo with Textbooks
Now, if you’re the independent type, you might be thinking about using good old textbooks to learn English. It sounds pretty straightforward, but it’s a pretty passive method and takes a lot of motivation – even more than online courses. While textbooks are awesome for grammar and reading, they’re not so great for spoken English. We recommend using a textbook as a supplement to tutoring or courses.
- Perfect for nailing down grammar and reading skills.
- You can study the books anytime, anywhere.
- Everything you need is right there in one handy book.
- There’s not much in the way of explanations.
- It can get boring pretty quickly.
- You won’t get much practice speaking, and you’ll need to grab extra materials for listening.
Step 4. Set Up a Schedule
So now you’ve got your goals locked in and a plan for tackling English. It’s time to set up a study schedule. English is all about consistency, so you’ve gotta make it a part of your daily routine to really level up your skills.
The more detailed your schedule, the more effective it’ll be. Try to plan out what you’ll be doing each day, ensuring that you cover all four language skills: Reading, Speaking, Listening, and Writing. Don’t forget the language aspects like Grammar, Vocabulary, and Pronunciation.
As an example, you can use this table. Go ahead and fill it out in English for that extra language practice.
|Day||Time||Activity /||Skill(s) Practiced|
|Monday||10:00 — 12:00 |
18:00 — 19:00
|English school Homework||All|
|Tuesday||19:00 — 20:00||Read a book||Reading, Vocabulary|
|Wednesday||10:00 — 12:00 |
18:00 — 19:00
|Thursday||12:00 — 13:00||Practice vocabulary during lunch||Vocabulary|
|Friday||17:00 — 18:30||Attend English speaking club||Speaking, listening|
|Saturday||16:00 — 18:00||Repeat what I have learned this week||All|
|Sunday||20:00 — 22:00||Watch a movie with subtitles||Listening, Vocabulary|
Step 5: Make English Part of your Life
English should be your buddy in crime all day, every day. By immersing yourself, you trick your brain into thinking you’re living the English life. This turbocharges your learning because your brain kicks into survival mode.
So, what can you do right now? Switch your phone and computer settings to English. Think about how you can blend English with your hobbies.
- Netflix and chill with TV shows in their original language. Go for full-blown series or quick bites on ororo.tv. If you’re just starting out, try the “EXTRA” series. It’s simple, repetitive, and covers everyday topics like shopping and making pals.
- Tune in to podcasts. If you’re commuting to work or uni, or just want to spice up boring chores, find an English podcast that matches your level. You can also dive into the world of audio dramas.
- Break down song lyrics from your favorite artists.
- Dive into books or audiobooks. The key is to choose the right material. Newbies can start with adapted literature or bilingual books, while those who’ve sworn off dictionaries can tackle foreign literature.
- Keep an English journal. Write down your day in English using notes on your phone or record voice memos. Review and analyze your notes to spot errors and weed out filler words.
- Draft your shopping list in English.
- Slap stickers with new words all around your home – on your bathroom mirror, for example – so you can practice vocab while brushing your teeth.
- Follow English-speaking social media influencers who share your interests.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to incorporating English into your daily grind. The main thing is to keep it fun and dedicate 30-60 minutes a day to your fave activities. You’ll start seeing results in just a week.
Step 6: Find a Study Buddy or Language Exchange Pal
Time to get yourself a study buddy, not a tutor or teacher, but someone else who’s on that English grind. Studying together can make it more enjoyable and motivating. You’ll cheer each other on, brag about progress, tackle homework, keep an eye on each other’s scores, and, most importantly, practice speaking English.
Your study buddy could be your best friend, someone you’re planning to travel with, or a classmate from your English class. You can hit the library together, chat about books or movies in English, or pick something fun from our list of cool ways to chat in English. Team up and tackle the language together!
If your friends aren’t about learning, think about finding a language exchange partner. Say you’re learning English, and someone in the USA is learning Russian. You can hop on Skype for 30 minutes, chatting in English for 15 minutes and Russian for the other 15. The goal here is to practice conversation, not give each other grammar lessons. You can scout out language exchange partners on sites like Conversation Exchange, Speaky, and LingoGlobe.
Extra Study Hacks
Alright, so you’ve got your study plan all sorted. But what’s next? You could just jump into the learning process, but how can you be sure your plan is the real deal? Here are some laid-back tips to boost your self-study game:
Get Some Guidance: If you’re not too sure about your study plan, don’t sweat it. Talk to someone you trust, like a professor, a super-organized colleague, or that buddy with their own business. Show ’em your plan and ask if it seems doable or if you need to tweak it.
Explain It in Your Own Words: Think you’ve mastered the material? Let’s see. To really test your knowledge, try explaining it in your own words. Jot it down in your notes or chat about it in the kitchen with your mom, as if you’re telling a five-year-old.
Revisit and Review: Use spaced repetition and come back to the material later to help it stick in your memory.
Stay Flexible: Plans can change because of unexpected stuff or new opportunities. Be open to adjusting your study plan as things come up.
Track Your Progress: Keep an eye on how you’re doing regularly. Figure out what’s going well and what could use a bit of improvement. This keeps you motivated and on track.
Stay in the Game: Consistency is the name of the game. Stick to your study plan and develop those good habits. Set reminders, use apps like Notion or Trello, and maybe even silence your gadgets during study time. Starting is the hardest part, but it’ll become second nature over time.
We’re all different, so don’t be afraid to experiment, make changes, and adapt your studies to suit your style. That way, you’ll find an approach that gets you results and makes learning a breeze.