With English being the most widely spoken language globally, you may want to brush up on your skills if interested in studying in a country where English is the primary language (or, where your courses will be offered in English). Becoming proficient requires an investment of time (we all know that practice makes perfect) and the use of some simple tips:
TIP 1: Begin at your present level
To determine your present level, you can start by taking vocabulary tests online. These tests will help you uncover the strengths and weaknesses in your current vocabulary level so you can prepare a list of words to go through daily. If you realize that your vocabulary level is high (or if you knew this prior), start where you recognize and understand every word in front of you. If your vocabulary is more limited, work gradually to improve in constant, small steps. Remember, patience and practice!
TIP 2: Don't fear mistakes
When learning anything new, especially something as complex as the English language, remove the fear of making mistakes. By definition, the process of learning is acquiring knowledge through study, experience, or being taught. What this definition fails to mention is that learning is an exercise of trial and error. So speak freely and write without worrying. It doesn't matter if it takes you several attempts to get something right. We can't say this enough: patience and practice!
TIP 3: Play word games
An entertaining way to master the English language is to participate in word games. For example, you can try online crossword puzzles or even a crossword puzzle book. These help improve language comprehension, critical thinking skills, and overall vocabulary. Another good word game to play is Scrabble, and Facebook also has its own Scrabble application. Words with Friends is also a popular app and similar to Scrabble; it allows you to improve your English while also socializing with buddies.
TIP 4: Record yourself and read aloud daily
Have you ever listened to yourself speak English? If not, record yourself on your computer or phone and pay attention to what you hear. Listen for pronunciation and tone of speech. If there are areas you can improve, write them down and put your focus there. The importance of reading aloud from a magazine, website, or book in English each day helps develop your mouth muscles for speaking a new language. It also helps with acquiring more English skills.
TIP 5: Practice, practice, practice
We can't stress enough how crucial this is! Review the tips above, find the areas where you're struggling, put your effort and focus there, and dedicate time every day to mastering this language. There are so many options available to help you study online, and the majority are free! If you prefer more structure, there are also free online English courses that you can consider.
We hope these tips, coupled with your hard work, get you closer to mastering the English language—good luck!