English study planning
Do you need help with your study planning? Is improving your English one of your resolutions for the New Year? If so, planning is vital to your success. Being well-organised and thinking ahead can make the difference between success and failure so make sure your keep your resolution and improve your English by following these six simple steps.
Step 1: Start with a benchmark
Before you can start setting goals, you need to know how good you are already. The most effective way to do this is with a thorough test such as EF’s – EFSET – or by asking your teacher to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Once you know what stage your skills are at and where you need to improve, you can start your planning.
Step 2: Set long and short term goals
Start by thinking of a large goal that you want to reach by the end of the year. This might be something like passing an English exam or being able to communicate effectively with English-speaking colleagues. Once you have decided on this goal, break it down into smaller goals. These are your short-term goals which you can assign to different months of the year to make sure you stay on track. Having lots of small goals will give you a sense of achievement as you reach them, motivating you to study more. Your large goal will help you make sure your studies are relevant to the main reasons you are learning English.
Step 3: Decide how you will measure success
There are various ways of measuring success. You may want to take regular progress tests or ask your teacher for an evaluation of your skills to identify whether you are reaching your goals. If you don’t have access to a teacher, you could write your goals as statements starting with ‘I can…’ then check them off when you feel comfortable doing each thing. For example ‘I can use the present perfect to talk about actions in the recent past’ or ‘I can use appropriate English vocabulary to chair a business meeting’.
Deciding how you will measure success will help you stay focused and motivated throughout the year. It will also help you find the most effective ways of studying for yourself.
Step 4: Plan your rewards
Rewards are a great way to help you stay motivated for the whole year. Make these part of your plan so that you can look forward to them. Rewards don’t need to be large but they should be in proportion to the difficulty of your goals. If one goal is more challenging than the others, make the reward bigger. Make sure your rewards are linked to clear measures of success and remember to be honest – only take the reward when you actually achieve the goal.
Step 5: Do the quick wins first
It’s a great feeling to reach a goal, so make sure the early goals are things you feel sure of achieving. Starting in a positive way will get you motivated and help you form positive study habits.
Step 6: Adjust short-term goals as you go
Even the best plans aren’t always perfect. If you find that your short-term goals aren’t realistic, adjust them to make them more achievable. This might mean setting slightly lower expectations for your end-of-year goal but it’s better to achieve a slightly lower goal than to quite entirely.
If your studies are interrupted at some point in the year, or you feel the goals are too easy, make them slightly more challenging so that you can catch up on, or even exceed your long term goals.
So, those are our six steps to planning success in English this year. What are your goals? How will you measure them? And, what rewards will you give yourself when you improve your English this year?
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