If English isn’t your first language, you might need to take the IELTS or the TOEFL as part of your application to study abroad. Even though these tests may seem simple, it’s not easy to write and speak in a new language in a sophisticated and eloquent way. You’ll have to work hard at learning a new language every day if you want to do well, but there are some quick fixes that can help you do better on tests right away.
Here are some ways to quickly improve your English language skills if the test is coming up in a few weeks.
English movies to watch
You might not get better at debating or speaking in a formal register by watching Netflix series, but it will help you understand the language better, get used to informal, conversational English, and get a feel for the language. You could also try to find words that sound very casual and look up their more formal versions. You can also find a lot of documentaries online. For a good place to start, look for something by David Attenborough. If you hear a language for the length of a movie, you might start to think in that language.
Read English language news every day.
Try reading a lot of different kinds of English-language newspapers, such as broadsheets, magazines, and tabloids. This variety of news sources will help you keep up with current events and also help you learn new words. You will also become more familiar with how words are spelled and how they are used.
Start a book of useful words to learn.
Start a list of useful words and phrases in a notebook or on your computer. Whenever you hear or read a word you don’t know, write it down. Don’t just think about the word itself. Look for other words and phrases that use it. Even though you may know what words like “precedence” and “tease” mean, do you know how to use them correctly?
Talk to each other in English.
Even though listening and reading tasks can help, you also need to interact with English and practice speaking. If you’re lucky, you’ll know a few native English speakers who can help you out. If not, try to meet up with someone who is also learning English. You could also record yourself or talk to yourself in the mirror. At first, it might be a little strange to hear your own voice, but you will be able to pick up on mistakes you weren’t aware of before.
Let’s face it, academic phrases won’t just drop into your head from above. Even if your English is already pretty good, don’t be too confident and forget how stressful things like being rushed in an exam can be. No matter how long you have until your big day, you still need to practice. Try coming up with a “word of the day” and then using it as much as you can. If you do this, don’t waste your time on words that are too specific and that you’ll never use. Instead, you should focus on conversational English, which is more likely to be tested.
If you want to get better quickly, you should ask and answer a lot of questions. Don’t just read phrases. Ask why they are used in a certain way and if there are other ways to use them. Don’t believe everything you read online. It’s easy to be happy with the first answer that comes up on Google, but you’ll get more out of your search if you keep looking.
If learning English feels like a chore, you won’t be as interested in it, and you won’t do as well. Because of this, it’s important to stay motivated and enjoy learning a new language. Find ways to have fun while you study, like playing word games with your friends that will help you think more critically.
Obviously, learning a new language is a long-term project, and you can’t start from scratch and write an academic paper a week later. But if you start with a good base, you can get great results quickly if you put in a lot of effort. Especially for tests like the IELTS, you should really know what kinds of questions will be asked, how they will be formatted, and how to handle each task. Don’t try to catch up with everything at once. Instead, try to stay focused and improve certain parts.