Sometimes students write to me and say “I need to learn English FAST.”
Maybe they have a deadline, like “I’m starting a new job or taking a test two months from now, so I need to be fluent by then” or maybe they just don’t want to waste time, they just want to reach their goal of fluency as quickly as possible.
Is it possible to reach fluency fast?
And how can you do it?
I’m going to explain my opinion and give you some tips in today’s video.
Learning fluent English takes TIME!
The first point is very important to understand: becoming fluent in a language simply takes a lot of time. So you need to be careful when setting goals, and avoid setting goals that are just not realistic.
It’s like if you want to go from New York in the United States to Sao Paulo in Brazil. It’s a long distance and you can’t transport there instantly. There’s no way to get from New York to Sao Paulo in, let’s say, 1 hour. It’s just not possible with our current technology.
In the same way, fluency in English, reaching an advanced level – it just takes time.
The exact amount of time is different from person to person, but what I want you to understand is that if you’re hoping for some magic formula or secret strategy that can make you fluent in a month or two… forget about it, that simply doesn’t exist.
Learning English for a short-term goal
What I recommend if you have a specific short-term goal, like getting a good score on an exam or going to a job interview in English – is to focus ALL your study on materials that are specific to your goal.
So don’t just study vocabulary in general; instead do vocabulary practice tests that are in the same format as the questions you’re going to see on the exam.
Or don’t just practice speaking in general, instead practice speaking and answering typical job interview questions.
This type of focused study will prepare you more specifically for that exam, that presentation, or whatever it is you need to do soon. Does that make sense?
How to become fluent in English faster
OK, now let’s look at the longer-term goal of being fluent in English.
If we go back to our example of traveling from New York to Sao Paulo, you can’t get there instantly, but you could fly, or you could drive. If you drove a car all the way down the U.S. through Mexico and Central America and through Brazil until reaching Sao Paulo, it would take you quite a long time, probably weeks. But if you fly, you can reach your destination in about 9 hours.
In the same way, there are ways you can reach fluency faster and more efficiently, and there are ways that will slow you down.
Today I’ll give you 5 tips for reaching fluency faster. These things will accelerate your English learning.
Fast fluency tip #1 – Immerse yourself in English.
To immerse means to completely surround yourself with English. Get as much exposure and as much practice as possible.
When most people think of immersion, they think you need to go live in an English-speaking country… but there are plenty of other ways to do it, you just need to get creative. Think about integrating English into your day as much as possible.
- So maybe listen to English podcasts while you’re traveling to work, or exercising, or doing housework.
- Instead of reading the news in your native language, go online and try reading it in English.
- When you have some time to think, practice thinking in English.
- Join English-speaking groups on Facebook and social media, so you’ll naturally see more posts in English when you’re browsing social media.
- Watch movies or TV shows in English.
All of these are things you can do in addition to your official “study time” – you’re filling your day with as much English as possible. Most students don’t do this, but if you do, it will definitely help you learn faster.
Fast fluency tip #2 – Focus on learning phrases and “chunks” of language, not just individual words in isolation.
If you just try to learn English word by word, then you’ll have to face the problem of putting those words together into correct sentences and natural-sounding expressions.
But when you focus more on learning whole phrases, or when you take one word – let’s say, “family,” and you learn a whole bunch of collocations – extended family, adoptive family, close-knit family, working-class family, family member, family history, start a family, run in the family) – you will quickly expand your knowledge and ability to express yourself.
Fast fluency tip #3 – Practice ACTIVELY.
This means you can’t only do “passive” activities like listening and reading – you ALSO need to do ACTIVE activities like speaking and writing.
All of these are important, but most students (especially when you’re studying by yourself) focus too much on taking in English by reading and listening, and not enough on producing English, using it yourself, by speaking and writing.
But when you practice actively, not only will you develop those skills of speaking and writing, but you’ll also remember English better. It reinforces the English in your mind. And this will accelerate your progress towards fluency.
Fast fluency tip #4 – Keep challenging yourself.
If you want to become fluent, then you constantly need to look for material that will be more and more challenging.
So you might start out reading simplified news articles… but then when you reach the point that you understand 90-95% of those, you need to move on to something more difficult.
Your study material should always feel just a little bit uncomfortable. Because if you completely understand everything, then you’ve already mastered it and you’re not learning or growing anymore. So make sure to keep challenging yourself in order to reach higher and higher levels of English.
Fast fluency tip #5 – Follow a program of study.
It’s certainly possible to put together your own study program, but it can be difficult – you always need to look for good material around the internet, and also you’re never sure if you’re actually making progress.
But when you follow an organized and established course, you can be confident that you’re learning more and more and it’s easy to see how you’re progressing. That’s exactly why I create courses at Espresso English, to help you learn faster and in an efficient way.
More than 10,000 students have benefited from my courses and I hope you will, too!
Review: Tips for learning fluent English fast
The first important point is that fluency always takes time and there’s no “magic solution” to become fluent instantly. If you have a short-term goal, then focus all your study on things that will help you specifically with that goal.
Then, the 5 ways you can learn English faster are:
- Immerse yourself in English throughout your day
- Focus on learning phrases and “chunks” of language
- Practice actively (speak and write using your own English)
- Keep challenging yourself with harder and harder material
- Follow an organized program of study, which you can do inside my courses at Espresso English
Thanks for watching today – now go put these tips into practice!
I’d love to hear if you try some of these things and they help you, so please let me know how it goes.