Do you feel like a foreigner when you need to express your thoughts in English? Do you aspire to get a better job, get promoted, go back to school, or date an American? Do you feel like your English skills holding you back from achieving your goals?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above this post is for you. Today i will share with you Three FREE steps you can take today to improve your English:
- Step 1 – Assess your current English level
- Step 2 – Create study plan
- Step 3 – Execute and re-assess your skill periodically
Step 1: Assess your current English skills
There are free ways to figure out your current English level:
- Take a test online or take TOEFL test
- Assess your speaking-listening skills by engaging in conversation with a native speaker (the formal interview is a great test)
- Take a FREE English Assessment test at your nearest Community College (this will give you a number score for each skill)
Once you figure out your strong skills and your weak skills you will know where you are now or what is your current state of affairs. Guesswork is not good, scores and ratings, on the other hand, could be very motivational.
Step 2: Create a Study Plan
Next step, after you clear about where you stand today, is to build a plan to get better. What it Study Plan and why do you need one? Good Study Plan is your guide from your current state to a future state and it will keep you motivated when the going gets tough and it will trust me. There will be days when you will want to give up and quit. Your Study plan will remind you about your commitment and your goals and keep you focused.
The Study Plan will take you less than 5 minutes to create and it will keep you accountable to a bigger goal (for example: job, relationships, college)
Your Study Plan should contain the following components:
- Method: how you will study (ESL class, online course, reviewing materials at home)
- Time commitment: how frequently you will do it? (frequency, # of hours)
- Goal: specific and measurable outcome of your efforts (certain score on a test etc)
- Due Date: what is your due date to complete the study plan (specific date)
- Reason: what is the reason you are working on it? (get a job in U.S.)
Example of a Study Plan:
- Method: I will attend ESL course at the XHC College, twice per week
- Time: I will study 2 hours every day + watch American movies with subtitles daily
- Goal: improving listening and speaking scores from 15 to 70
- Due date: retest my skills by Dec 5th, 2018
- Reason: apply and get hired for Sales Associate job at Macy`s by Jan 2018
At any given point if you continue making an effort but not seeing desired results, ask yourself what can you change and how your new plan will need to address the gap. Test your assumptions and give yourself some time to learn and improve. Remember, improvements will not happen overnight.
Quick note: your study plan should focus on improving a specific aspect of English that will get you closer to your overall goal. Each professional goal has different language requirements, for example retail associate is expected to have fluency in speaking and listening, but a marketing intern would be expected to write well. So, focus on specifics to achieve maximum results in the shortest time.
Step 3: Execute – stick to your study plan.
No amount of planning or procrastination will get you where you need to be in terms of your English skills. Don`t make the most common mistake and assume your English skills are fine. Make studying English your priority # 1.
You are the only person who can make it happen. Remember, your English will define your standard of living and more directly will impact your employment opportunities, so don`t cheat yourself of a dream job, study English. This one thing that will pay off for years to come. I promise.
FREE (or almost free) Ideas to improve your Listening-Speaking English Skills:
- Become a Volunteer to gain job references and drastically improve your English
- Watch TED Talks (any topic you enjoy) and discuss them in a group
- Meet American friends, stop hanging out with Russian-speaking folks
- Find a local club and join Toastmasters Group to practice public speaking
- Connect to a Meetup group of your choice in your city, to expand your vocabulary
- Join a Book Club at your local library
- Watch more American movies with English subtitles
- Get a job that will force you to speak a lot with native speakers (cashier, front desk)
- Log in to a FREE English School at USA Learns
Conclusion: We both know, you want to achieve your goals, secure that job and get that promotion, and poor English holds you back. I urge you to take action: assess your current English skills, create a plan and stick with it. Start studying, today.
The amazing part is- once your English improves you will also FEEL differently. You will gain confidence and will feel like you can take on anything. Isn’t that worth it?
My English was bad. When I relocated to U.S. I was young and ambitious. My goal was to have a family and get a high-salary job. I wanted it and I wanted it all. The only challenge was I hardly spoke any English. Actually, to give you an idea about how bad things were, I will tell you a story.
Two years after immigrating to America I took my first English class. As a part of the class I wrote an essay, and it was two pages long. The essay topic was Workforce in America and I thought I did pretty good job developing the topic. When I got my essay back with my teachers marks I was shocked. Pages were blossoming with my teacher`s marks, outlining every single error i made. Guess how many mistakes i made?!
Yes, you guessed it. I had 86 errors on two pages of my first essay. I remember coming home, crying and planning to withdraw from the class and quit college all together. I did not believe I could get better quick enough to at least pass the class with a “C” grade.
My husband helped me to work through the news and he also supported me to start studying more. He advised me to contact the teacher and ask for advice on how i can get better. I did contact my teacher and the rest is history.
Long story short, I never studied harder than then in my life. I got better. I completed my first English class and got a “A-“, which I think was mostly for the effort I put into it.
Today, 13 years after that class my English is much better, I am able to express almost any thought on a wide variety of topics. It was a long journey and it was well worth it. I had an amazing career, met some of the most incredible people and was able to travel all over the world because of my fluent English. That said, i am still learning, reading, writing and expanding my vocabulary.
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