If you already have an advanced level in English as a non-native speaker, language learning will be no great mystery to you. However, when we’ve already attained a good level in a skill, it can be difficult to know how to take it to the next step. Afterall, there are a lot more resources and tips out there to help beginners.
Even though your starting point will be very different to when you approached English for the first time, some of the basic advice for embarking on the next chapter in your journey to learn English at a higher level remains the same.
First things first: what purpose will a higher level in English serve? Do you need to use English in new, unfamiliar environments, such as in business meetings or in legal disputes? Where are the holes in your vocabulary? Do you need to develop your written or spoken skills beyond what they are now?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can begin setting yourself targets to structure your learning. If your overall goal is to be comfortable using English in a working environment and to write English reports, for example, you can set yourself smaller targets and deadlines (realistic ones!). A smaller target could be “learn 50 news words related to my field of work” or “write a report in English with a time limit”, for example. Structuring your learning around smaller milestones will keep you motivated and keep you on track to reaching your wider goal.
To improve and learn advanced English, the tried and tested methods of language learning still apply. However, it’s likely that the resources you used last time round (remember that old school textbook?) will no longer be any use to you now that you’ve achieved an advanced level. There’s also something to be said for changing things up: if you arrived at English through books and independent study, why not try a group class? If you found group study limiting the first-time round, why not try going it alone on an online platform?
Learn English with books
Books are familiar friends when it comes to any type of learning. As you start your new business English journey, you’ll discover that there are plenty of advanced level books on the market to take your language skills to the next level. As an advanced speaker, you’ll want to avoid simple grammar guides and steer yourself towards specialized resources. If you’re interested in legal English for example, it might be worth investing in a vocabulary aid for legal English. If you’re faced with a lot of high-level reading in English at work, consider investing in a reading comprehension guide, or simply subscribing to a related magazine or newspaper.
Learn advanced English with private tuition
Most traditional language learning resources are on the market and targeted towards the beginner end of the scale, so as an advanced speaker you’ll need to take more control over the direction and methods you follow. One way to achieve this is through private tuition. One major advantage of private tuition is that your course is designed to suit your level and needs. Private lessons can also fit around your existing schedule, which makes it a more convenient option than signing up for a group class. What’s more, private lessons allow you to move at your own pace and adjust the course content as you go.
Learn English online
Using an online learning method is certainly the most modern method for taking your English to the next level. Nowadays, there is a huge variety of options available for online learners, from websites and blogs offering grammar explanation and training exercises, to sophisticated platforms that provide a structured learning program from A to Z.
One of the main advantages of this method is flexibility. When you learn English online, you can choose when and where you learn, without having to conform to anyone else’s schedule or lesson structure.
If you’re new to the concept of online learning, it’s normal that the idea of putting your faith in this method might feel daunting. As you weigh up the pros and the cons, here are our top key reasons why online learning might be for you:
If you’re already comfortable in a language, it can be difficult to recognize your own weaknesses or see how you can make significant advances. This is why it’s crucial to understand what your end point is, then simply figure out which steps can take you there. Although it never hurts to refresh your grammar, it’ll take more than that to learn advanced English.
Learn advanced English vocabulary
Our number one tip to learn English at advanced level is to expand your vocabulary. If you’re pursuing business English, there’s a strong likelihood that you need English for work-related interactions. Consider your field and the type of specialist vocabulary you rely on in your working language as a starting point and look to onboard those new terms in English.
Learning advanced English vocabulary is an excellent way to improve your passive and active language skills but remember that slowly does the trick. Don’t over face yourself with a long list of words, but rather integrate new terms into your lexicon little by little. If you’re developing your English to work in the field of Law, for example, try compiling a list of legal vocabulary, including the relevant specialties, and giving yourself just a few terms to learn every day.
Communicating at ease in English is already a considerable achievement, but how often are you pushing yourself to try new grammar structures or vary your lexical choices? To develop beyond an advanced level, you need to take a step outside your comfort zone. Make sure to engage with high quality English-language media, and next time you notice a structure, expression, or word that you don’t use regularly, challenge yourself to use it next time you can.
Vocabulary is a great way to push yourself and see quick results. Make an effort to find synonyms for frequently used words and switch up your go-to words in daily conversation. This is an excellent way to learn advanced English vocabulary without feeling like you’re doing any work.
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to languages, but listening comprehension is a weak spot for many people, especially if you haven’t had the experience of living or working in an English-speaking country. You can work on this skill by engaging with English media, such as films, TV, music, and podcasts, but to take it up a notch, we advise becoming familiar with a wider range of accents. This can be a challenge for anyone who has mostly learned English in a non-native environment, but it’s great preparation for working in an international environment.
Surround yourself with English
Even advanced English speakers can get rusty. To make sure you don’t lose the progress you’ve already made, we have some simple strategies to keep your brain familiar with English:
Play an English radio station or podcast in the background as you work or tidy
Read your favourite book in English
Switch your phone and laptop settings to English
Online learning is a relatively new learning method for most language learners, so it’s natural that it takes a little getting used to. One of the challenges that comes with online learning is staying motivated – a difficult task when there are no classmates around or deadlines to adhere to.
Learning independently and at a distance requires discipline, but there are a few strategies you can try to keep yourself on the right track.
Tip 1: take responsibility for your learning
When we learn a skill at school, university, or through a class, we get used to a teacher telling us exactly what to do, when to do it for, and checking that we’ve done it. Independent learning requires the learner to take responsibility for their own schedule, discipline, and progress.
If discipline isn’t your strong suit, this can sound a little daunting, but there are ways to recreate a sense of responsibility when learning online:
Set clear targets for what you want to achieve today, this week, this month, etc.
Set up reminders to nudge yourself into action, even on lazy days
Study with someone (a friend of a coworker) and hold each other accountable
Apply some pressure by establishing an end goal – this could be an exam or an online test
One way you can conquer discipline is by letting an online learning platform do the hard work for you. When you learn English online using a platform like GlobalExam, you can follow a course designed to enhance your existing level and keep you on track to make progress. Our learning materials are divided into scenarios and modules, making language learning manageable and rewarding.
Tip 2: prioritize your English learning
Leaving your online learning journey to chance is the road to failure. To ensure steady progress and that you meet your long-term goal, we recommend building it into your schedule from day one. Figure out how much time you can dedicate to improving your English in the week and treat it as you would any other work commitment.
Tip 3: languages are for speaking
Another challenge that comes with online learning is the feeling of learning in isolation. After all, isn’t language learning supposed to be about interacting with other people? We advise choosing a learning platform where you can combine independent study with virtual conversation and classes. By building in interaction with a teacher and fellow advanced English speakers from time to time, you can touch base on your journey and stay motivated to keep up.
If you decide to learn English (advance level) with GlobalExam, you’ll get access to our especially designed Business English universe. As an advanced speaker, you can progress straight to the “Expert” course and follow various situations that test your grammar and vocabulary across different business-related contexts. Our different learning units are divided into four main categories:
As well as this comprehensive set of learning materials at your disposal, you can also take advantage of our virtual classes platform. If we hadn’t already convinced you enough of the benefits of putting your English into practice, try it for yourself! When you learn with GlobalExam, you’ll have the possibility to enroll in individual or group virtual classes with a teacher. We have two different types of virtual classes available: a half an hour individual lesson; or a one-hour group lesson. Our virtual lessons allow you to learn advanced English with the help and guidance of certified native English teachers and interact with other learners if you wish to. Our English teachers are TESOL qualified with the necessary experience in administering business English courses to help you reach your goals.