In this post we’ll look at how you can improve your academic English through self study. There are many resources online and in libraries and book stores so you don’t always need a teacher to help you. Firstly, you need to make a plan of what you want to improve. Here are some suggestions:
1. Increase the amount I understand when listening to lectures
2. Speak more clearly when giving presentations
3. Use more sources in my writing
When you have made your list, look at it closely and try to make each thing you’ve written as specific as possible – like in the examples above. You will not make much progress if you’ve written: Improve my speaking. Why not? Well, mainly because the goal is too wide you won’t be able to measure your progress, and as a result you’re likely to become demotivated.
When you have a list of specific goals, you’ll need to make a plan of when you’re going to study, what resources to use and think about how you will check your progress. What you are doing is becoming your own teacher!
For example, in number 1 above you could listen to some university lectures online and practise taking notes. You could listen to the lecture several times to increase the amount and quality of your notes. If you use lectures which have transcripts, you can check your notes against the written content. You can repeat this as often as you want – the idea is that with listening practice activities and repetition you will be able to notice an improvement in your listening skills.
A self study plan like this is useful because it has a specific goal, some practice activities and a way to check progress. You can make these kinds of self study plans quickly and integrate them into your life easily. Make the self study plan match how you like to study so that it is enjoyable and you will soon see progress.