Advice on Studying English

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There are countless articles written to give you study tips aiming at helping you learn English more effectively. They usually contain so many recommendations though that you feel completely swamped with their sheer volume, so you end up forgetting them and never using them at all.

The reason why this might be is that everyone learns differently and some tips will not be suitable to you so you reject them subconsciously.

Before you read any more such articles, first decide on these two aspects related to you:

  • Your intrinsic motivation (versus extrinsic motivation)
  • Your main learning style

Intrinsic motivation — the type of motivation that comes from ‘inside’ of you, like learning English for the pleasure of it, for the enjoyment. This type of motivation is usually more effective because you do things that bring you joy. Extrinsic motivation such as the need to know English for work or study, for example, can also be strong, but is related to obligation and therefore can be less enjoyable than the first type of motivation.

While it is important to follow your extrinsic motivation, continue learning English and remain strong-willed to achieve your learning goals, realising what you most enjoy doing in English will add an element of fun to help you remain motivated to study.

Photo by Aki Tolentino on Unsplash

Intrinsic motivation — the type of motivation that comes from ‘inside’ of you, like learning English for the pleasure of it, for the enjoyment.

Whether you are learning by yourself or with a class and want to do extra work, think about what you enjoy the most in English and then do it. These could be:

  • Learning with your favourite app
  • Learning with your favourite grammar book
  • Reading graded readers (literature created especially for students and using simplified language according to different levels of proficiency) and then analysis vocabulary and grammar in it
  • Learning with your favourite website
  • Reading about topics that really interest you in English
  • Watching your favourite series in English (with or without subtitles)
  • Listening to podcasts that you enjoy
  • Playing video games that have English dialogues, monologues and narration
  • Reading comics in English
  • Learning about the culture of an English-speaking country
Photo by Prasanna Kumar on Unsplash

Whether you are learning by yourself or with a class and want to do extra work, think about what you enjoy the most in English and then do it.

Think about your learning style too. There are different divisions but here is an example:

  • Visual — you learn best by remembering what you saw, like remembering a page from a book or notebook, or a screen
  • Auditory — you learn best by hearing things, like listening to podcasts, lectures, YouTube videos, repeating what you just read out loud; you might also enjoy listening to music while you study to help you focus
  • Kinaesthetic/physical — you learn best when you can move, for example walk around the room while you study or when you can play with something in your hands
  • Solitary — you prefer to learn on your own
  • Social — you enjoy learning with other people; you may want to join an online speaking group, an English Facebook group or online group classes instead of one-to-one

This is not an exhaustive list but these points are some of the main ones. Use them to your advantage when planning your learning and choosing how to study. Think about these considerations whenever you come across study tips and pick the ones that align with your intrinsic motivation and learning styles. And finally, remember to make it a fun experience.

Written by Joanna Bartosz-Donohoe, owner of Anglica Language School

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