English can be a complicated subject to study. Whether you're referring to the English language or an English class which encompasses topics from grammar and syntax to literature written in English, there are a lot of subjects to cover. Whether you're studying how to say good night in Indian languages, or just how to say good night in different words, there are several study habits you should try to master.
Studying for an English Exam
It sounds like a cliche, but the best studying you can do comes in the form of being prepared every day and keeping up with your work long before the exam time comes. It can be difficult to stay on top of all your work each day in all of your classes, but doing so will pay off. If you are constantly engaged with what you're learning, it won't be difficult to know what to expect come exam time.
Studying for an English exam is a lot harder when you haven't been paying attention on a daily basis. When that's the case, there is probably a lot that you don't know, and you may find that you're spending all of your study time trying to learn the stuff you should have already known in the first place. This means that if you have questions or need something explained to you, it may be too late. It also means that the information won't have the opportunity to really sink in because you'll be trying to learn too much too fast.
Studying works best when you're reviewing the information you've already learned. That helps to jog your memory, so you recall what you already know. On the other hand, learning takes longer, so when you try to learn everything in one night, you have a difficult time remembering it the next day. By working a little bit each day, you can make sure that you set yourself up for success.
Studying Habits for the English Language
When you're trying to learn English, particularly as a new language learner, studying for an English exam can be very challenging. Building your vocabulary, getting familiar with parts of speeches, grammar rules, syntax and other phonics can help you to learn to both speak and write the English language. English has a lot of confusing rules in terms of sentence structure, idioms and homonyms. Beyond studying from an English language workbook or reading a process essay about how to study for an exam, there are a number of other strategies.
Reading periodicals like magazines and newspapers in English can help to familiarize you with the English language as it is used in conversation between native English speakers. While books have varying uses of the language, newspapers and magazines can help you to see how the language is used conversationally. By the same token, listening to music and watching movies and television in English can help you to see how native English speakers use the language. This can help you when you're studying for an English exam.
Studying Habits for English Grammar
If you need to learn grammar and syntax, the best way is to practice by diagramming sentences and making sure that you know exactly what the different parts of speech are. This kind of studying is best done cumulatively and not left until the last minute. Reading a process essay about how to study for an exam is not as helpful as a short amount of daily studying.
Doing worksheets about English grammar and syntax are a great way to learn the rules of grammar. Also, reading books is another excellent way to learn what each bit of punctuation does and why it is important. The more you read, the better you'll know English.
Studying Literature in English
Reading books in English and then writing about what you are reading is one of the best ways to prepare or begin studying for an English exam. If you're reading a challenging book and know you'll be tested on themes, plot points and other concepts related to the book, it's a good idea to write about what you've understood so far.
Look back at notes you took during class discussions about the book. What are the major themes? What is the author's writing style? Your teacher can have many things to test you on when it comes to writing and reading books, so it's a good idea to be as focused as possible when you are studying for an English exam.
Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience writing about education for a variety of organizations and educational institutions as well as online media sites. She has written for Pearson Education, The University of Miami, The New York City Teaching Fellows, New Visions for Public Schools, and a number of independent secondary schools. She lives in Los Angeles.