ESL Study Guide

Saturday, December 02, 2006

So you want to learn English

Hi All

I am often asked, "I want to improve my English" or "I want to learn English so what should I do?". There is no step by step guide to learning any language, but some common sense will get you a long way to accomplishing your goal.

1.) What specifically do you want to learn?

Clarifying your purpose in wanting to learn or improve your English is the first step in planning out your goal and how to reach it. Do you have a specific purpose in mind, such as wanting to take academic classes or do you just want to be able to understand your favorite song? For those of you wanting to improve your overall level of English you need to first find a place to start.

2.) Finding a place to start.

Have you completed any placement tests within the last 6 months? The majority of commercial placement tests will give you a general idea of your English level. A test such as the TOEFL test will measure a variety of aspects of your English broken up by skills. Remember, learning a language is very much like building a house, you need a good solid foundation to build on.

3.) Working on your weaknesses

Knowing what areas of English you are weak on, you can now concentrate on improving those areas. It is not a good idea to allow some of your skills to be high while others are low. For example, if you just wanted to improve your speaking you should be aware that you need to improve your grammar as well. If you only worked on speaking but your grammar level was too low, while you may pronounce everything properly if you can't say it with the correct grammatical structure, it is not likely you will be understood.

4.) Practice, Practice, Practice

The final and probably most important step is practice. If you do not practice with English you will quickly forget it. Interacting with people, whether online or offline, will help you not only keep your English but improve it.

Happy Studying,

ESL Study Guide

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