Tips to improve your English

In English class, a teacher gave me this list for improving my English skill.

1. It is important to plan and to have a structured program when learning English. If you plan your learning, it will give you direction and you will know where you are going with your studies.

2. You must motivate yourself to conduct private study when you are at home or not in class. This could range from listening to audio, reading articles from relevant magazines/internet etc. (Remember to view all class notes!)

3. Make learning a habit! Try to learn something every day. It is much better to study (or read, or listen to English news, etc.) 10 minutes each day than to study for 2 hours once a week.

4. You may also want to work your way through an IELTS or TOEIC exercise book, or some of the following sources:

http://www.ted.com – this is an excellent website to view lectures on many topics, and you can also see the script in English (Korean subtitles are available for some lectures). Observe the way speakers give their talks, and make notes on new vocabulary and expressions etc.

http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com – this website provides articles with a variety of exercises too. All audio/mp3 files are in a British accent.

http://www.voaarchive.com – this website provides short articles with an audio file (American accent).

http://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en – this website was originally designed for German students who wanted to improve their grammar skills etc. However, the website is in English, so work your way through the exercises; you can also check your answers online; answers are provided. Don’t forget to read your answers aloud if it’s the only way to memorise grammar forms and tenses!

You may also want to read, analyze, and understand articles from the following websites:

http://www.bbc.co.kr
http://www.economist.com
http://www.ft.com
http://www.nationalgeographic.com

5. Use the dictionary and thesaurus to improve your understanding, and NEVER ignore a word that you do not understand! Try to learn at least one word every day! Start writing a word-list and bring it to class so that you can use it while talking (if you don’t use new vocabulary, how will you expand your language pool?).

6. Try to read a new book every month.

7. Watch an English film at least once a month.

8. Spend your time on things that interest you. If you like cooking then buy an English-language cookbook or find recipes on the net and practice following the recipes. You’ll soon know if you have made a mistake!

9. Keep something English on you (book, newspaper or magazine, cd or cassette, set of flashcards) all day and every day, you never know when you might have 5 spare minutes.

10. If you are too tired to actively practice, just relax and listen to an English pop song or a talk radio station. And the next time you go karaoke, you can sing an English song!

11. Pronounce the ending of each word. Pay special attention to ‘S’ and ‘ED’ endings. This will help you strengthen the mouth muscles that you use when you speak English.

12.  Try talking to your friends or family in English! This may seem a little weird at first, but I’m sure you will enjoy it!

13. And finally, remember that learning a language is a gradual process – it does not happen overnight; be patient!

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