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English is a global language. It’s essential for students who plan on studying abroad. This is especially true for those planning on furthering their studies in English-speaking countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, or Ireland.

But what if English isn’t your first language? You may need to take an English proficiency test such as IELTS or TOEFL. These exams are just one part in your journey to English proficiency. The real challenge comes with writing and speaking the language eloquently.

Mastering a language comes with continuous effort and patience. One of the best ways to do it is to incorporate these helpful tips into your daily life:

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1. Take an English foundation programme

This is probably one of the most effective ways to improve your English language skills. Signing up for an English language programme would bring a structured syllabus to your path to learning English. A programme provides progressive learning, based on your skill level and covers the development of listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills, all in one. 

The good news is that you’ll find plenty of English foundation programmes available to you in many international schools and universities, and some are even conducted fully online! All you need to do is sign up for the course that best suits your goals.

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2. Watch movies or TV shows in English

While it may seem unconventional to some, this is a great way to understand the language a little better and get used to its colloquial forms of communication. This should give you an idea of how the language is used and improve your communication skills. 

Start off by watching an English movie or TV show with subtitles in your native language, or choose a show or movie with a familiar storyline. This should help you get a better grasp of the language.

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3. Listen to audiobooks or podcasts in English

Podcasts are a convenient way to squeeze language practice into your busy schedule. In fact, you’ll find plenty of English-language podcasts that provide free basic English lessons on various platforms. The best part? You can listen any time you want, whether it’s in the morning before class, cleaning your room, or working out at the gym. 

Podcasts can help you learn about the various accents and dialects spoken around the globe by immersing you in real conversations and sentence structures. This makes them an excellent tool to enhance your listening skills and the perfect complement to formal language classes.

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4. Immerse yourself in reading all things in English

Reading is a fun way to improve your English (excuse the pun) reading skills. Not only will it help widen your vocabulary, it will expose you to different sentence structures too – in the form of captivating stories. If the thought of reading a long novel overwhelms you, try finding something that interests you. 

For example, a blog or a website that’s related to your interests. Start with short, concise articles on topics you enjoy. If you’re a horror movie fan, try a thrilling short story. If you’re looking for something light and easy, try reading comic books. Once you’ve made reading in English a habit, gradually move on to longer reads.

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5. Practice writing

Studying in a primarily English-speaking country naturally comes with having to write your coursework in English. So it would be a good idea to practice your writing skills before going abroad.

Most English learners tend to pay attention to grammar and lose sight of readability and fluency – two things that are vital when studying in an English-speaking country. One good way to avoid this is to try writing in your own voice. In other words, write how you speak. 

Think about how people would speak using English in a more natural setting. This should help breathe life into your writing and give it an easier flow. It’s also a good idea to incorporate new English words into this exercise, to expand your vocabulary and boost your confidence.

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6. Try a fun English game or language-learning app

Let’s face it – learning a new language can be daunting. So why not inject a bit of fun into your journey? Download a fun English game or language-learning app to spice up your language practice. This offers a more interactive and engaging learning experience with the added bonus of convenience for a more cost-effective price. 

Besides, English learning apps generally use algorithms to tailor learning to your individual needs and interests, helping you focus on the areas where you need the most improvement. There’s also a wide variety of apps to choose from, such as Wordscapes, if you’re looking for a more game-based learning app, or Duolingo, if you prefer a more serious approach.

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7. Practice with English-speaking friends

Nothing beats learning a language from native speakers. So try to make friends with as many English speakers as possible, whether in class or outside of university.

Yes, it’s tempting to only befriend people from your own country or who speak your native language. But if English language fluency is your goal, you’ll have to step out of your comfort zone and practice with native speakers. Besides, it’s a great way for you to meet new people and expand your circle of friends!

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8. Listen to music

If music is your thing, then incorporating it into your English learning process would be a great way to support your progress in a more enjoyable way. All you need to do is pick a few English songs that you like, add them to a playlist, and listen to them on repeat.

Repetition helps us remember the rhythm and lyrics of songs, and it's also a great way to develop your English vocabulary. If you’d like to up the ante, find the lyrics online, and read (or sing) the lyrics out loud while playing the song at the same time. This 2-in-1 exercise will help you improve your vocabulary and listening skills.

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9. Record your reads

When it comes to speaking in English (or any language, for that matter), it's important to have correct pronunciation so that your message is understood by other English speakers. Improved pronunciation also leads to better listening skills.

One great way to improve your pronunciation is by recording yourself while speaking English. Start by preparing a few sentences and read them aloud while recording yourself with your phone. Then, listen to the recording and try to identify things to improve your pronunciation.

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10. Learn one word a day

It’s simple but effective. Start with one simple word, understand its meaning, and try to incorporate it into a sentence. Then, try using it in everyday conversation.

If you’d like a challenge yourself, gradually increase your target to two to five words a day. Just remember to set a realistic goal and stick to it. The most important thing is to make your practice a daily habit, and you’ll be well on your way to speaking English like a native at the university of your dreams.

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UniFastTrack Transition Program Online (TPO) is a fully online pathway program certified by UNSW College and delivered by OpenLearning.

This 4-month programme is your pathway to world-class universities in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Ireland – and a world of possibilities. 

Designed for international high-school leavers, UniFastTrack TPO offers 5 popular streams of study: Actuarial Studies, Commerce, Design and Architecture, Life Science and Physical Science. All streams include the Academic English subject, so you’ll gain the knowledge and skills to improve your English and transition seamlessly into university life, setting you up for success in your chosen field.

So, are you ready to fast-track your entry to your dream university abroad? Contact our Student Advisors today for a free eligibility check!

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