The best podcast to choose according to your level
Here you will find a list of two podcasts you can listen to, according to your level of English:
a – For beginners
This podcast, just like the British Council’s website, is great for beginners. The episodes are based on day to day life conversations and situations. There’s a written support along with each episode so you can read as you hear the audio. There’s also exercises to test what you’ve understood and what you have heard.
This is a great start for beginners!
This is aimed at beginner learners who want to learn American English. The website provides podcasts available to all levels. Beginner level programs are a great start as they focus on basic language features and skills.
b – For intermediate learners
This is a weekly podcast with 3 minutes long episodes. It deals with English idioms and expressions and explains them in detail: how to use them, where they come from… it’s very entertaining but the vocabulary can be a bit too hard sometimes to its more suited for intermediate levels.
Just like the title suggests, the 6-minute English podcast is a short podcast from the BBC. It’s a weekly news podcast, aimed at intermediate learners. Each piece of news comes with a follow up, so you can make sure you understand everything perfectly. Just like many other podcasts, each episode has its own list of vocabulary and transcript.
c – For advanced learners
There are a lot of podcast options for advanced learners and the topics are much more widened, sometimes unusual. This first podcast is about unbelievable stories and adventures from employees (explorers, scientists etc) at National Geographic. The episodes are 20 minutes long and if you love to hear about our planet’s incredible wildlife then this is the perfect podcast.
Speaking of unusual podcasts available at advanced levels, this one is perfect if you love true crime and spooky stories.
The episodes are 50 minutes long which really makes it for advanced learners. Each episodes covers the discussion of a murder: the story, the suspects, the theories… an awesome podcast to listen to in the dark.
Strategies to learn English while listening to podcasts
If you’ve decided to try to learn English via podcasts, then congratulations: it is a very good choice and an amazing way to learn English!
However, there are a few things you should keep in mind while doing so:
- Start with short podcasts that focus on learning. There are a lot of podcasts that are short enough and that deal with a specific aspect of the English language. These podcasts can be about a word, about a concept (adjectives or irregular verbs, for example), about an idiom… you can either look for what you want to learn or look for something you’re struggling with.
- Listen and read at the same time with the transcript. Almost every episode from any given podcast (especially those designed for ESL learners) comes with a transcript. Sometimes there’s even exercises and a vocabulary sheet. So try to listen to the podcast while reading the transcript. This will help you associate the words with its meaning in context as well as associate the oral and written forms.
- Take notes. Write down important things to remember if they’re informational and/or grammar podcasts, keep track of new vocabulary words, idioms, rules etc. You can even write down fun facts you want to remember. But be careful, don’t write everything down as it will keep you from actively listening to the podcast.
- Avoid long podcasts if you’re a beginner or if you’re new to podcasts. Long podcasts can often feel overwhelming if you’re not used to listening to long English audio and it can quickly discourage you from listening to other episodes, as well as bore you out. Pick short episodes at first that will train your ear. The 6 minute English or The English we speak podcasts are great examples of short podcasts.
Plus, you won’t have the “But I don’t have the time!” excuse anymore!
Why you should learn English through podcasts
If you’re still not convinced about listening to podcasts, here are 8 more reasons why it will definitely help you learn English:
Reason#1 : It’s easy and convenient
If you have a long commute to work, if you have to wait for an appointment or even if you’re bored a podcast is always easily accessible. You can listen to an episode anywhere, anytime.
Reason #2: They’re free
The majority of them are free! Learning English can become quite expensive if you invest in books and courses. Podcasts are a great free option you should not opt out of.
Reason #3: They will develop your hearing and comprehension skills
Listening to podcasts or English audio on a regular basis can truly help you develop your hearing skills. You will train your ear to listen to spoken English as well as different accents. Depending on the podcasts you’re listening to, it can help train your comprehension skills as well. There are tons of various subjects and a lot of them come with a comprehension test activity, that ensures you have understood everything perfectly. Listening to various songs, watching different movies and TV Shows are other great options for developing your hearing and comprehension skills!
Reason #4: It will help you learn about specific vocabulary depending on the subject
There are so many subjects available it’s almost impossible to not find something you like or something you want to know more about. For example, listening to National Geographic’s podcast can help you learn vocabulary words related to the ocean, to animals, to certain countries’ wildlife… each episode will come with its set of new words! You can also read books or listen to audio books on top of listening to podcasts to improve your vocabulary.
Reason #5: Improve your pronunciation
Listening to podcasts will not only improve your listening skills but it will also greatly improve your pronunciation. In these podcasts, you hear native speakers talk. Hearing native speakers is the best way to pick an authentic English accent. Make sure you follow these podcasts with the transcript each time it is available so you can associate the written form with the spoken form. This will help you improve your pronunciation and memorizing skills even faster! You can also play various games or even use language learning applications in order to improve your pronunciation!
Reason #6: You hear real everyday english
Just like podcasts are made by native speakers, it also allows you to hear “real” everyday English. The podcasts are often discussions or story tellings that use a more natural English that the one you can see in grammar books and exercises.
Reason #7: You can learn about the culture
There are so many different topics to choose from so it really makes it easy to learn more about English culture. Some podcasts can be about the English language itself, some others about a specific country like Canada or Scotland. Some podcasts can be about the history of the English speaking world, some other podcasts are about current events and news. Learning a new language is always a step further into the language’s culture and listening to podcasts allows you to know even more about it! Don’t forget that reading novels and other English books is also a great way of learning about culture.
Reason #8: You hear words and concepts in context
Learning a new language is filled with new words and new concepts. While listening to a podcast, you not only learn about these new words, but you also get the chance to listen to them in context. And this is a very important part of the learning process!
Each new vocabulary word or grammar concept should always be learnt in context. A word or a concept is always a hundred times easier to memorise if you know what it means and if you know how to use it.
General English Program by GlobalExam: the best way to learn English
If you’re looking for a complement of your learning through podcasts, then GlobalExam has just the right thing for you: our General English program. Learning English is made easy with our General English program, designed for beginner and intermediate levels. Training on General English will allow you to have access to:
- Academic training that’s fun and ludic so you can easily look forward to your next lesson without feeling bored.
- In depth corrections, that ensure you leave nothing to chance in your learnings and that each lesson is perfectly understood.
- Revision sheets that you can access through your account anytime you need.
General English is the solution for English learners that are discouraged but still want to improve in English. What are you waiting for? Let’s learn English together!