10 Jun 4 English Self Study Tips to Dramatically Improve Your English By Yourself
It’s possible to dramatically improve your English by self-studies!
Here is the approach that was practiced by me. It helped me to substantially improve my level of English from very basic (I couldn’t construct even basic sentences correctly) to a fairly high standard of academic English within just 6 months.
The first requirement you need is to establish your goal. You need to learn the foreign language thinking about your goal and desperately wanting it. It could be your successful professional life, happy family, life in a foreign country or new experiences. The connection between learning English and your goal is very important for your motivation.
There are 4 activities you need to do during your regular English hours (3-4 hours a day, 5-6 days a week).
1. Movies. Pick up any movie you like that was originally filmed in English. It should be something you like a lot and has strong characters. Watch the movie in your native language a few times so that you understand each individual phrase very well and know when it’s said. Once you have it, watch the movie in English with subtitles in your language a few times. You will start to associate English phrases with their meaning. English phrases become familiar to you. Then you need to start pronouncing each word and phrase and they happen on the screen. Try to mimic the actors’ voices. Become the character yourself! After one week of 3-4 hours watching the movie you will learn all phrases and will be able to pronounce the whole movie by heart. The second movie will be faster! Repeat first movie once you complete second. After just 10 movies you will be shocked!!!
2. Sentence writing. Another activity you need to do is to practice your writing memory and improve the knowledge of various English sentence structures. Take any phrase that has a new structure to you (e.g. from the movie) and write it down. Then write again. Repeat these 10 times. Then change one word using a thesaurus (e.g. Power Thesaurus, it was developed by me as all others were just too inconvenient and not really user-friendly). And write the new sentence 10 times. Change the same word again to another one and write the re-phrased sentence 10 more times. Repeat this task for each word of the sentence. Don’t stop until you write at least 20 sentences for each word! This practice will allow to learn the limited range of grammar rules that are used in English sentences.
3. The third exercise is to learn topics by writing them. This will train your motoric memory and will improve your spelling dramatically. Take some establish correct English topics texts (e.g. from here IELTS Exam Writing Samples). Print the text and then write it by hand by looking at a printed version. Check if you have any mistakes. No mistakes? Then take another piece of blank paper and hide the side of printed text so that you can’t see two letters at the end of each line. Write the whole text again. Check for mistakes. No mistakes? Move the sheet further and repeat. Got a mistake? Start from the beginning. Write the text while looking at it. Then add a sheet of blank paper and write again and re-check for mistakes. Eventually you should be able to write the text by looking at one letter of each line only and then the whole text by memory without any mistakes. Congrats! Do the same for second time next day. Once you complete your second text without any mistakes with printed version fully hidden, re-write first one too. Check for mistakes in both. Got a mistake? Start from text 1! Now you do that for 10 texts and you will be shocked again!
4. Ideally you need to find a native speaker and have a conversation with them for 2 hours about 3 times a week. As an alternative you can visit English speaking club. Each of these will provide you with many opportunities to practise and improve your speaking and listening skills. You will improve your vocabulary, your pronunciation, your understanding of real-life English and also will boost your self-confidence to the great extent.
Sure, you may check English grammar from time to time if you really want to know why something is like that. However, don’t spend too much time learning grammar if you just started to learn the language. You will get bored and overloaded with non-practical information very soon.