Like most people, you probably had your first encounters with English at school. Your school, your teachers, and even the country you come from all have a significant impact on the amount of English you absorb during your childhood and teenage years, but the likelihood is you already have an intermediate level of English.
Developing your English skills from intermediate level is a good place to start – you’ve got the basics and now it’s a case of shaping what you know into a more polished form. To get started on the next step in your language learning journey, we recommend following these steps:
Identify the level of English you need to achieve
Figure out your timeline: do you need to make progress in three months or one year?
Choose specific topics and skills that will best serve you going forward
Break down your learning goals into a manageable schedule
Getting started is a lot easier if you have a clear plan in place, shaped around well-defined goals.
Every language learner prefers a different method for improving or learning a new language. Have you figured out what your preferred method to learn English is yet? If you’ve been asking yourself this question, we’ve got some ideas to help you figure it out:
Go traditional with a trusty textbook, paper and colored pens
Go bespoke with a private tutor (and a budget to match!)
Go laidback with an app and movies
Go modern with an online learning platform
Of course, the most effective learning method will probably combine different styles, and the best method is the one that works for you. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of some of these methods.
Learn English (intermediate) with private lessons
Private tuition is a tried and tested way of seeing quick and almost guaranteed success. There are some serious advantages:
Bespoke lessons designed to suit your needs and goals
Control over what you study and the pace you progress at
A schedule that fits around you
But private tuition has one serious drawback: you’ll need a considerable budget to pay for an adequate number of lessons. If it’s not feasible for you to commit to a course of private lessons, we suggest pursuing other methods.
Learn English online
As technology evolves and distance learning and working become more and more the norm, online language learning platforms are becoming increasingly sophisticated. On the advantage side:
Control when and where you study with total flexibility
Pick and choose the topics that interest you
Combine grammar, vocabulary and context-based learning in one
Online learning is flexible, highly comprehensive, and is available on a budget, so its advantages far outstrip its disadvantages. That being said, there is one main drawback to distance learning:
Self-discipline and motivation are key
If you’re not a self-starter, online learning may not be the method for you, but keep reading for our tips on how to stay motivated when you learn English online.
Learn English on apps
Gone are the days when learning means hours of reciting conjugations and copying tables. Now you can incorporate language learning into every aspect of your life, including your mobile phone! This means that there’s no excuse for idle moments scrolling on your phone – you could be learning new vocabulary instead!
While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend using an app exclusively to learn English at intermediate level, it’s an excellent complement to one or more other methods. Their learning tools are usually fun and broken down into quick game-like units, meaning you can squeeze in some language learning in any spare moment.
Maybe you’ve always stuck to your tried and tested methods of learning without a second thought for how online learning could improve your learning outcomes. The truth is, there are many successful learning methods to choose from, and the best method is the one that works for you, but there’s something to be said for stepping out of your comfort zone.
Here’s what we love about the ability to learn English online:
Subscribe to a service when you need it with no commitment
You decide what you want to learn to suit your needs
If you’ve already managed to learn English to intermediate level, then you’re most of the way there to achieving full fluency. Congratulations! However, moving beyond the basics and everyday communication to a more advanced stage can be difficult and requires a different set of techniques than for beginners. As an intermediate speaker, it can be difficult to know where you make mistakes or how to polish your speaking and writing style when you already have a functional level in English. To learn English at intermediate level, it’s the small changes that make all the difference.
Little and often
In the beginning stages of your journey to learn English, it may have served you well to dedicate long blocks of time to tackling tricky grammar concepts or writing a practice test. Long study sessions are an essential part of learning a language as a beginner, but the golden rule for intermediate to advanced learning is “little and often”. This means dedicating a short amount of time (as little as ten minutes!) to learn English as often as you can.
The best way to ensure you keep up with short, regular study sessions is to block out the same period of time every day (or every other day) so that English becomes part of your daily routine. It’s also important to set a realistic goal: you’re not aiming to learn 100 new words in a half-an-hour session, so set yourself an achievable goal of ten new words, reading a short article, or writing a short text.
Familiarize yourself with native accents
When we learn English, we’re often doing it in the company of other non-native speakers, in our home country, maybe even with a non-native speaker, and our exposure to real English speakers might be quite rare. This is to be expected, but it’s something we recommend addressing if you want to progress to intermediate and advanced level.
Seek out opportunities to listen to and interact with native English speakers, whether that’s simply engaging with English media (podcasts, videos, TV and movies), or actually meeting native speakers (language exchange events, travelling, or working abroad). As you begin to interact more with native speakers, you may notice your level of comprehension dip. This is natural, because native speakers come with a range of different accents, as well as slang and expressions. If you manage to make the transition, your level of English will benefit in the long run.
Recognize your mistakes and eliminate them
A large part of progressing to and beyond intermediate level is identifying and removing mistakes from your English expression. As we become more comfortable in a language, we can develop lazy habits by using an incorrect grammar structure or reusing the same word for many things. In order to push forward, it’s essential to take yourself out of your comfort zone by correcting these errors.
If you have native English speakers for friends, or know someone with a higher level than you, ask them to tell you when you make a mistake or say something a little clumsy. Once you’ve identified some weak points, make sure not to repeat them. You can do this by understanding the mistake (this might require reviewing a verb form or digging out your old notes on a grammar concept) and writing yourself a reminder on how to avoid it in future. If you eliminate small errors one by one, you’ll really start getting somewhere.
If the idea of taking your learning online is new to you, one thing you might be concerned about is how you’ll keep up your motivation levels without guidance and support. Any method of learning is a skill that takes practice, and online learning is no different. Here are our top tips for making sure that you stay on the path to English success.
Tip 1: take charge of your learning
One of the main differences between learning online as opposed to more traditional methods is that there’s only one boss, and that’s you. When you’re going it alone, you have to play teacher and student in equal measure to ensure that your efforts aren’t wasted. Setting targets and sticking to a schedule are key elements of online learning success, and meeting your goals will keep you motivated to keep going.
Tip 2: make English a priority
Did you ever hear that success breeds success? It’s true: the more you succeed in your study goals, the more you will be motivated to keep going. By setting aside time to learn English at intermediate level, you’re investing in your own success, and this will only lead to a sense of greater fulfillment.
Tip 3: practice makes perfect
Online learning can start to drag when we feel disconnected from our original purpose: to communicate in English. When all we do is grammar exercises and reading, it can be difficult to feel excited about your learning journey. This is why a fun, interactive learning platform is key, as well as opportunities to apply your skills and knowledge to real-life contexts. Whether this is interactive exercises, virtual classes, or chatting with a friend, actively using your English will inspire you to keep improving.
If you think a platform dedicated to helping you learn English online sounds good, then we have good news: that is exactly what GlobalExam offers! When you sign up with us, you’ll get access to our Business English platform, which includes a huge range of grammar and vocabulary exercises divided into modules depending on your learning goals:
Within each module, you will be guided through a set of units that deal with different contexts and situations, targeting different difficulty levels. If you’re looking to improve and learn English more generally, then head to:
Boost my level: follow a “Learn English Intermediate” course to level up
All of the learning materials on our Business English platform are divided into units based around a theme and subdivided into situations. As you complete situations and units, you can track your progress and identify your strengths and weaknesses.
How virtual learning works with us
If a comprehensive set of learning materials wasn’t enough, a GlobalExam account also gives you access to our virtual learning platform.
When you learn virtually with GlobalExam, you’ll have the possibility to enrich your learning in individual or group virtual classes. We have two different types of virtual classes available:
Individual lessons of thirty minutes
Group lessons (six people maximum) of one hour
Our virtual classes are designed to complement our e-learning materials and give you the opportunity to put your hard-earned skills and knowledge into practice. As a virtual student, you’ll have the benefit of a teacher’s close guidance and advice. GlobalExam’s English teachers are native speakers and TESOL qualified, with the necessary experience in administering business English courses to help you reach your goals.
So, are you ready to learn English online with us?