Updated: Apr 8
Many people are studying English since it is the international language. However, many people do not know how to study/learn languages! Maybe you have been studying English for years now but you are not happy with your progress. Do you feel stuck, where you cannot speak English even though you are good at grammar? If your answer to this is yes, then you are likely making these mistakes that are hurting your English studies.
1) You think tests are king!
Instead of focusing on really learning the language, you simply focus on passing English tests. Depending on the type of test this can be good or bad. Tests that do not assess output skills (speaking & writing) very well will make you focus on only the input skills of a language. A great example of this is EIKEN, a language proficiency test in Japan. Many people pass the higher grade levels of this exam, but they cannot speak at the grade level that they passed because the test focuses more on input and not so much output.
Also remember learning a language is a journey! Just because you pass a test does not mean your journey finishes.
2) You focus too much on grammar.
This is a big problem where I teach in Japan. From an early age, Japanese students are mostly taught English through the grammar- translation method. Here again output skills are not practiced. You can know all the grammar in the world but it does not mean you can use that grammar in conversations. The evidence is clear on this from research in ESL/EFL. You need to practice your grammar in context. Take the grammar and use it in real life situations where you practice the grammar while speaking! Use the grammar, do not just read about it!
3) You study grammar and vocabulary only once.
Review review review! You are not a robot. You cannot simply input data once and then you are done. One proven technique supported by research in psychology is called "Spaced Repetition". Vocabulary you do not know well is often reviewed, while vocabulary you know very well is rarely reviewed. I use this technique myself when I study Japanese vocabulary/kanji using a paid web service called WaniKani.
One free spaced repetition software you can use is called Anki. You can make your own flashcard decks or choose from pre-made vocabulary decks. Click the link below to go to Anki's website.
If you want to learn more about what is spaced repetition an