For those of you who cannot seem to make progress , it can feel that everyone else is having fun around you learning or being free of their responsibilities. Yet you can feel like you are the only person in the world who has to study. You are just that lone figure sat inside watching everyone else enjoying the summer sunshine. It’s not quite like that, there are students all over the world in your position.
By now, you perhaps have your own routine and techniques for studying, but we would like to offer you a few more so that you can keep your repertoire of study techniques fresh and help you renew your commitment to your goals.
1. Immerse Yourself!
This is why many people take their language exam like FCE or IELTS in the UK, so that they have a few weeks in country studying, socialising and living the language to confirm everything they know and use it in a practical context. During this time, a learner will start to ‘think on their feet’ a lot more and it becomes more natural to just respond in English. This can be a huge confidence boost to you, not to mention an uplifting and fun holiday. Even a week can make a large contribution to your use and understanding of the language.
If you cannot take a study abroad trip due to time or finance then instead make sure English is around you – host ‘English only evenings’ with your friends, watch films and TV in English (and turn the subtitles in your own language OFF!) listen to music, listen to podcasts. Or how about you join a forum or online group where the language spoken is English and get stuck in to topics that interest you. If you have a hobby or interest – there’s a forum for that and you never know, you may make new friends!
2. Swap it Around
How do you think you sound when you speak? It is painful to listen to it, but by recording yourself speaking and practicing on your phone or through your laptop, you can use it as a way to pick up any mistakes that you consistently make when speaking and be more mindful of it when you continue to speak. Perhaps you could try it with a friend and swap recordings so you don’t have to listen to yourself.
3. Carrot or Stick?
People are motivated in one of two ways – reward (carrot) or punishment (stick). It’s much more positive to reward yourself for good behaviour so perhaps if you hit all of the learning targets you want to, you can give yourself a pat on the back – go to the beach with your friends, go see that film you want to (in English if you can – remember, we’re immersing ourselves?!) or anything that makes you feel good.
4. Remember the Bigger Picture
There is a reason why you are studying. The reason is that you are preparing yourself for university or a good job in the future. It’s short-term pain for a long-term gain. When you are struggling with the now, remember everything that the future has to offer.
They say that nothing worth having in this life comes easy and it’s true. You are going to experience stumbles and times when it is hard and times when you are not making the progress that you want to. Scientists and psychologists have said that the way that you view yourself and how you talk to yourself can make the difference between success and failure. Even saying ‘I don’t give up’ instead of ‘I can’t give up’. Find a mantra that works for you.
Have you got any tips that helps you knuckle down when all of the circumstances are against you? Let us know in the comments!