Make an English learning plan and enjoy studying more! 7 tips on how to do it

We all know that learning a foreign language takes time and can be hard work. What’s more, doing exercises and learning words all the time can get boring.

And boredom leads to demotivation.

One way of making studying a little easier and more fun is to create a learning plan.

A learning plan will organise your studies and give you goals. If you achieve your goals you’ll then have motivation to keep studying.

What to remember when choosing things to include in a learning plan

  • decide on three or four different learning activities
  • choose activities that are short and enjoyable
  • give yourself realistic targets for each activity
  • spread your activities out over the week

So which activities should you choose? Here are some ideas for you. (I’m not saying you should do ALL of these things, but it’s a good idea to vary the type of activities you do.)

1. Set the number of words you learn

What to do
Learn a fixed number of new English words or phrases every day.

How to make it easier for yourself
Learning three or four new words a day is enough. If you really are an extremely busy person, then even one word a day is better than nothing.

Try to also learn words related to your new words (related nouns or opposites, for instance). That way you’ll greatly increase your vocabulary with minimum extra effort.

How often?
Once a day or every second day. Stick to a Monday-to-Friday routine for your ‘daily vocab’ learning; take Saturdays and Sundays off!

2. ‘Unlearn’ your typical mistakes

What to do
Think about mistakes that you often make: maybe your teacher always corrects you on the same mistake, or perhaps you always get the same grammar point wrong in tests. Say to yourself, ‘I’m going to STOP making this mistake; I’m going to UNLEARN this mistake’.

How to make it easier for yourself
On Monday decide which mistake you want to focus on for the week.
Spend a couple of minutes each day repeating the correct version to yourself (even just saying it to yourself in your head will work).
Focus just on this mistake; don’t try to do too much grammar at the same time.

How often?
One ‘unlearn’ per week. Spend one or two minutes on it per day.

This is the type of mental training you can do on the bus to work or school each day. You could even do it while waiting in the most boring place in the world – a queue at the supermarket.

3. Music / songs

What to do
Read the lyric of an English song that you like and try to understand the meaning.

How to make it easier for yourself
Google for the lyric and then try to sing along as you listen to the song.
If the lyric seems too difficult either 1) choose an easier song or 2) just concentrate on part of the song, perhaps the chorus or your favourite bit of the melody.

How often?
One or two songs a month is enough.

If you’re not a music fan, try rewatching your favourite film or TV comedy series in English. You’ll find endless English material on Youtube and similar video sites.

4. Study English together with friends

What to do
Meet up with a friend (or friends) and learn something together. You can revise English vocabulary you’ve learned, do homework together, or just help each other with grammar.

How to make it easier for yourself
Your ‘studying’ with a friend could simply take the form of speaking English together. You could have a fixed length of time once a week (30 minutes, perhaps) when the two of you speak only English – no other language allowed!

Alternatively, if you want a bit more focus, you could choose an item of grammar or certain words and then swap sentences with one another: one person creates a sentence containing the word/grammar, the other person has to continue with a logical follow-on sentence or a sentence with the opposite meaning.

How often?
As often as you want. Friends are always fun to be with, aren’t they?

If you can’t meet up regularly you can use the Internet for friend-based learning. Get a group of friends together on Facebook or Google Plus and challenge each other with English questions or word games.

5. Grammar/vocab 15 minutes at a time

What to do
When doing grammar or vocabulary limit the time you spend learning each day. Don’t go crazy and study for hours!

How to make it easier for yourself
Either keep to a routine and learn at the same time every day, or find free pockets of time (on the bus, while waiting for someone, while sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, etc.).

15 minutes at a time is better than three hours once a week. That way you’ll stay fresh, the time will pass quickly, and you’ll remember more.

How often?
If you have time, do 15 minutes once a day (or twice if you have time).

6. Read a text or article

What to do
Read a short English text each week.

How to make it easier for yourself
Go to a quality news website and choose a section, topic or region that interests you.
Pick a short article in that section.
Don’t focus on understanding the whole article and every single word. Instead, make sure you get the general meaning of the text.
Enjoy reading the text, and approach it as you would an article in your own language, i.e. reading for pleasure and information, NOT for study purposes.
Choose four or five new words from the text and write them down with a translation in your language. Then learn these new words as part of your ‘daily vocab’ learning the following week.

How often?
One article a week is enough.

And the last and best point …

7.  Study English here on Speakspeak.com

What to do
Try doing some of the exercises in our Grammar exercises section.

How to make it easier for yourself
Once again, don’t go crazy and do exercise after exercise, hour after hour.
As part of your learning plan set yourself the target of doing four or five grammar exercises per week.
Choose exercises covering grammar that you have problems with.
If you make mistakes, make a note of the problems then go back and try again a day or two later.
If you have a recurring problem with a particular aspect of grammar, contact me, Stuart, here on Speakspeak and I’ll do my best to answer your question and suggest further study or exercises.

Conclusion

Remember, whatever learning plan you create for yourself, these should be the rules:

  • create realistic and achievable targets
  • learn for short periods at a time
  • vary your study activities
  • stick to your plan.

Good luck!

If you found this article interesting and helpful please use the ‘like’ and ‘plus’ buttons below and share it with friends. Thanks!

Stuart is an English teacher and runs the Speakspeak website. He currently lives in Prague and has been teaching for over 20 years. Follow Stuart and contact him by subscribing to his monthly newsletter.

10 Comments

  1. amuri - May 16, 2012, 4:38 am Reply

    i wanna know how to speak English as Astralian

    • anonimos - February 16, 2014, 12:36 am Reply

      Search in internet and there are a lot of page to peak in english also you can see videos in youtube.
      And one thing more…
      Why yo know how to write in english if you don’t know how to speak it.

  2. liza.smith - May 21, 2012, 9:26 am Reply

    Learning vocabulary is very important to speak English well and this information is very practical for that.

    • Maik - June 12, 2012, 5:42 pm Reply

      I would like to thank the team for improving our English. Could you paesle offer us some exercises with Passivization? A couple of days ago, I had some problems with this type of grammar sentences. It seems that I forgot all the rules, the order of the Direct Object, Indirect Object within the Pasivization issue.Many, many thanks for all your help. You are great teachers!!! Have a nice day!

      • anonimos - February 16, 2014, 12:34 am Reply

        to find the direct object you have see the sentence and see what is doing the subject and to find the indirect object you have to see for who is doing the action.

  3. hsirrk341@gmail.com - March 3, 2013, 10:43 am Reply

    very usefull, thankx

  4. ibra - July 6, 2013, 12:41 pm Reply

    that’s great it very helpful Thank you ^^

  5. Fatima - November 13, 2014, 8:46 am Reply

    VERY useful. Thank you very much.

  6. Hamidullah - March 1, 2016, 4:41 pm Reply

    Thank you it was so good plan

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