When you’re just starting to learn English, it’s easy to see real signs of progress. Every thing that you learn is new. Each day you can do more and more in English.
But how do you see progress in English at upper levels? Often you reach a “plateau” – a higher level, but then it seems that you stop. How do you know that you are still improving your English when you’re at an intermediate level and above? Here are four signs for you that you are still making progress.
Speed AND Accuracy
You can do things faster in English – without making more mistakes. For example, you can write emails or texts quicker than before, but still be accurate. If you’re preparing for an exam, you can do the exam tasks faster (such as reading comprehension, gap fill, etc) and still get a high score.
When you become more familiar with tasks or work in English, you will get faster. Repeated practice means you can maintain accuracy as well.
Both your passive vocabulary and your active vocabulary will increase at higher levels. This means that
– you can read articles faster, without stopping to look up words
– you can use more words when you speak or write (without needing to check)
– you are more flexible with words, able to use noun / verb / adjective forms in sentences
At higher levels, you’re more fluent because you know more English, and you’ve practised it more. You don’t have to stop to search for the word, and you don’t translate so much.
Because you’ve spoken the word or phrase before, you’re more confident about your pronunciation and you don’t have to think about how to say it.
At intermediate levels and above, you’re more confident about your English. When mistakes happen, you’re better able to deal with them positively. In fact, at this level, you can focus on the smaller areas of English that are personal to you, rather than big areas of grammar which are no longer new to you.
Growing confidence is also important to take you to the higher levels of English, where English is part of your daily life – and your future goals. The 4 Stages Of Learning shows you this in more detail. At this stage you are mastering skills, rather than developing them. Your increased confidence allows you to accept these challenges, take more risks – and continue to improve.
Confidence is one of the most important things for learning English. When you’re confident you hesitate and translate less, and you take opportunities to speak. Each opportunity helps you to become more fluent – which makes you feel even more confident! Get regular speaking practice when you join the English Fluency Club and get confident in English!
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