1. Take notes
I know, your teacher is always telling you to take notes, but writing things down does help you to remember things and are key to learning English effectively. If you take a photo, you will remember very little of what is on the board, but if you write it down, you will begin processing the information. Take care with your notes, present them nicely and most importantly go back and review them for a short time at the end of the day, the following day or at the weekend when you have no lessons.
You should review things regularly if you want to remember your lessons. You need to review vocabulary a number of times before it becomes part of your active language. You should review it on the day that you study it, the following day, at the end of the week and a couple of times the following week. You should use it in different ways, as well. You could read it the first time, listen to the pronunciation of the word, write it down in a sentence and then try to use it in your spoken English.
3. Use a good dictionary
How do you know if the dictionary that you are using is any good? Lots of dictionaries online are free, which is nice, but are they any good? I think some of them are but some of them less so. Try to use dictionaries that are well recognised. In the UK, Cambridge and Oxford dictionaries have an excellent reputation. Ask other students which dictionaries are good in your country. Google Translate is quite reliable some of the time but not so good at other times. How do you know if you can trust it?
4. Talk a lot
Learning a language is communication; if you don’t talk, it will be hard to improve. If you are shy, try to find some safe places you can practise. You could find one person that you like talking to in English. You don’t always have to speak in a big group. It is not just about talking a lot. Some people talk a lot but don’t improve so much. You need to listen to yourself when you are talking. You need to think about the grammar and vocabulary you are using. Can you correct yourself when you make a mistake?
5. Know yourself
Do you know what you are good at? Know yourself as a learner. Are you good at speaking a lot? You are lucky but perhaps start focussing on how many mistakes you make. Are you good at grammar? Maybe it is time to concentrate on your listening skills. What do you need English for? If you need English to take part in business meetings, then speaking and the language of business should be your focus. If you are going to study at university in English, then you should really be focusing on your writing and reading.
6. Set goals for studying
Set realistic goals when you are studying and reviewing your work at home. Don’t say I will work for two hours every morning when I wake up. Most people will fail if they try to do this. Set yourself a realistic goal and then be nice to yourself when you reach your target. 2 hours is too much. Say you will study for 30 minutes and then take a break and give yourself a little treat for completing your goal. Have a biscuit or a cup of coffee after you completed your task.
Follow these 6 tips for learning English effectively and you will soon see an improvement!