The Complete Guide to Creating an English Study Plan

A good English study plan will turn your dream of fluency into real action. It will help you stay on track and achieve your goals. 

In this article, we’ll show you four steps to build the perfect English study plan for your own needs, with sample plans and tips.

You’ll learn how to create a personalized English study plan that you can adapt as you become more and more advanced.


Why You Should Have an English Study Plan

There’s so much in the English language to learn. It can feel like a task that’s too big to ever complete. Here’s how an English study plan can help you tackle the challenge: 

  • A study plan makes learning English more manageable. It makes you break down the big task of learning English into smaller steps. When you focus on these smaller steps, learning the language doesn’t look so difficult.
  • A study plan helps to measure your progress. Comparing your learning over several weeks will show you how you’re improving and what you need to change. This makes learning more effective.
  • Your study plan will force you to set goals. Goals give you clear ideas on where to start and how to move forward.
  • Building your own study plan means you can learn at a speed that suits you. Your plan will turn learning English into an easy routine. You can learn when you want to and fit your study around your life, no matter how busy it gets!
  • Study plans are motivating. Working towards your goals gives you the boost you need to keep learning, even when studying gets tough!

4 Steps to Creating an English Study Plan

1. Ask yourself these questions first

So how do you start building an English study plan? First, you need to ask yourself some questions. Your honest answers will help you build a study plan that will bring you greater success!

Why do I want to learn English? What are my goals and reasons?

Is it for work? Is it for study? Do you wish to travel the world or speak with friends easily? Or to speak confidently with your teacher at school?

Write a list of the positive things you want to happen if you improve your English. Order them from most to least important. Those at the top of your list are the main reasons you want to learn English.

This process helps you see your goals clearly. Your goals will determine how you organize your study plan. They’ll determine what you learn and how you’ll learn it.

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How do I learn best? What’s my learning style?

Do you enjoy learning by having conversations? Do you learn better when you write things down or look at pictures? Are you a morning person or do you learn better in the evenings?

The answers to these questions will help you build your study plan around the method and schedule that helps you learn fastest.

How much time do I have?

Setting too much time in your week to study can make you feel like you’ll never complete it. Not setting time to study at all will prevent you from making real progress.

Be realistic. Look at your week and count how much time you’re likely to have for study. If you’re unsure, spend a week living life normally and write down times you could be studying as they happen.

You may find you have an hour before dinner each night, half an hour on the bus ride to work or half a day on the weekends. Add all these up and come to a weekly total.

What learning resources do I have or could I get?

Do you have a computer, smartphone or English textbook? Do you live or work near a library? Do you have any computer programs or apps that’ll help you learn English?

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If not, do you know where to get them from? How much money are you willing to pay for learning resources?

This is a great way to find learning tools you may have forgotten about. Think about how you’d like to use these resources in your study plan.

Do I need others to help me? Who? How will I get their help?

Do you learn better by yourself, or would you prefer to learn with other English students? Are there any friends or teachers you could ask for help?

People are amazing resources! Think about contacting other learners for study ideas, sharing achievements with friends or seeking guidance from teachers.

Having a network of people will help you stick to your English study plan and progress your learning.

2. Build the outline for your study plan

Use the answers to your questions to create the outline for your English Study plan. Simply follow these steps:

Select your primary learning goal.

Write down your main goal in a clear sentence. Make it positive and something you can accomplish. For example:

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My goal is to give English presentations at work with confidence.

Break your goal into smaller steps.

Write down the smaller steps you’ll have to complete to reach your goal. These steps could involve many areas of English communication including speaking, listening, vocabulary, writing, reading, comprehension or social skills.

Set a timeline and draw your study plan outline.

A week is a good length for a study plan because most people have a weekly routine.

Draw a visual study plan for your week. This is as simple as folding a piece of paper to create eight columns. Write the name of each day across the tops of seven columns. Leave one column blank for writing notes.

Write the hours of the day down the side of each column. At the top, start with the time you wake up. At the bottom, finish with the time you go to bed. Include all the hours in between so you have a vertical timeline.

Start filling in your study plan.

First, add your normal weekly activities to your study plan. If you go to work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday to Friday, write this into those five columns next to the hours on the timeline. Do this for any set activities you complete across the week.

Now think about the number of hours you calculated for study. Begin adding time for study into the spare spaces on your timeline.

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Take the time to move activities around. If you focus better in the morning, move your morning walk to the evening and do an hour of study instead. Move activities to make study sessions longer or shorter. Use a pencil to erase and re-write your plan until you have a weekly routine that you’re happy with. Remember to include breaks!

For example:

7 a.m.: Breakfast
8 a.m.: Study English at home
9 a.m.: Study English on the bus ride to work
9:30 a.m. Begin work
5 p.m.: Finish work, leave office
5:30 p.m.: Evening walk
6 p.m.: Study English on bus ride home
6:15 p.m.: Take a break for rest of bus ride
6:30 p.m.: Dinner
7:30 p.m.: Relax
9:30 p.m. Bedtime

Set a checkpoint to measure your success.

Decide on a checkpoint. This is a point in time when you’ll check your learning by using a test of your choice. Testing your learning every two weeks is recommended.

This is important. The results from these tests will help you organize your future weekly study plans.

Write the date of the next checkpoint in the notes column on your study plan. For example: Test after two weeks: Nov. 17.

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3. Organize the content in your study plan

If you followed the steps above, you now have an outline for a spectacular study plan! Make copies of this outline. This will save you time when creating your English study sessions every week.

Now you can fill in the study plan with the content you’ll learn.

Look back at the list of English skills you need to learn. This will help you decide what to study throughout the week. Here’s our example again:

  • Memorize vocabulary words related to my work
  • Develop formal writing skills
  • Become confident speaking in front of large groups

Prioritize your learning steps.

Remember the small steps you chose earlier that’ll get you to your main goal? Decide which ones you need to work on the most. Also, think about which skills will help improve other skills.

Write your ordered list in the notes column on your study plan. This list may change week to week so re-write the list in order of importance for the week you’re about to begin. For example:

  1. Become confident speaking in front of large groups
  2. Memorize vocabulary words related to my work
  3. Develop formal writing skills

Now use this list to plan out your study time for each one.

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Step 1 should take up 50% of your weekly study time.

Step 2 should take 25% of your weekly study time.

Step 3 should also take 25% of your weekly study time.

This is a general rule. If you feel your second step needs more study time throughout the week, you can adjust your English study plan to suit your needs.

Pick the strategies and resources that’ll get you to your goal.

This is where you choose the learning methods and styles you’ll use throughout your study plan.

In our example above, the morning bus ride could be a time to listen to formal English on a podcastThe afternoon walk could be done with a group of colleagues, which would be a great opportunity to build your English-speaking skills with large groups.

A weekly lunch every Saturday could be arranged with friends who are also learning English. This would be an opportunity to compare notes, practice vocabulary and share helpful books.

Learning apps and immersion software can also help here. One lets you study wherever you are, while the other ensures that you’re learning the practical application of your studies.

You can also download an app (and web program) that’s both: FluentU.

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Take your time to see how you can use your resources wisely. On your study plan, add the specific skill you’ll focus on each study session and the resources you’ll use. Write down the task clearly so you know exactly what to do. For example:

7 a.m.: Breakfast
8 a.m.: Study English at home (vocabulary)
     – Read work-related book and make a list of unknown words
     – Research word meanings
     – Write five sentences using new words to test at work today
9 a.m.: Study English on the bus ride to work (formal speaking)
9:30 a.m. Begin work
5 p.m.: Finish work, leave office
5:30 p.m.: Evening walk (public speaking)
     – Talk in English with colleagues
6 p.m.: Study English on bus ride home (vocabulary)
     – Drill vocabulary flashcards
6:15 p.m.: Take a break for rest of bus ride
6:30 p.m.: Dinner
7:30 p.m.: Relax
9:30 p.m. Bedtime

Decide how you’ll test your learning

Now that we’ve added our learning resources to our study plan, it’s time to finish the checkpoint preparation. This step should not be skipped or pushed back to a later time. Organizing it before you begin studying will help you stay on track with your English learning from the very beginning.

Test your skills by using formal tests or informal feedback. Formal assessments can be online programs and mini-exams. Informal feedback can be discussions with teachers, your boss, colleagues and friends.

For formal assessments, these sites offer online tests to assess your English skills and comprehension:

International House  
Language Level
English Grammar Online
EF Set
Kaplan International
ABA English

Informal testing can be done by simply asking someone to talk about your English skills. You could ask your boss or colleagues to review a work email every two weeks. You and a friend could record your conversations and discuss the language used. You could read part of an English book to a teacher who could suggest other books suited to your skill level.

By setting up checkpoints now, you’re more likely to continue assessing your learning. The results will help you every time you plan your weekly study routine because you’ll have a great understanding of what skills you need to be focusing on.

4. Make learning easy!

Now that your English study plan is ready, try using these techniques to make English studying something you actually want to do.

Make your English study plan look good

A visual study plan is motivating because it catches your eye and encourages you to look at it. Write your goal in big letters and decorate it any way you want to boost your mood every time you check what study you’ll be doing each day. You can also find attractive digital and printable planners on sites like Etsy.

As well as making it look good, make it easy to use. Decide if your study plan should be physical or digital. It should be easy to create each week, easy to check during the day and easy to adjust when you need to. An easy plan makes for easy learning!

Set up your study environment

Make a space at your home or work that feels good to be in. If you’re comfortable, you’ll enjoy learning a lot more! Put time and effort into keeping it clean. Add plants, pictures, cushions and relaxing music. Make it so nice you’ll want to stay in the study zone forever!

Set reminders

Distractions will happen, so be prepared. Set up a system of reminders for those weeks when your brain starts to lose focus. Reminders can be a calendar alert on your phone or a sticky note stuck to your bathroom mirror.

Keep it simple and positive, such as “Get excited for your brain-boosting lesson at 8 a.m.!”

Be flexible with your English study plan

If you start to feel overwhelmed, remove your to-do list. Focus only on the next step. Seeing only one thing on your list will lessen the stress of getting things done. You’ll be able to stay happy and focus on your next lesson.

If you’re avoiding studying then there may be bigger problems. If you’re always bored or feel studying is too hard, you’ll give up your study plan forever. If this is happening week after week, change your study plan! Change your routine to include more of your interests and think positively about all the exciting learning ahead.

Lastly, make sure you celebrate!

Celebrate reaching your goals. Celebrate making it halfway. Even celebrate all the times you failed! Why? Because we all learn from mistakes. Mistakes show that we’re learning more and more each day.

Yes, English can be difficult to learn but celebrating each small step makes it easier and a lot more fun!

Whether it be a small personal gift, a celebratory meal or an outing with friends, do something to feel happy about your learning journey. More happiness brings more motivation. This will keep you excited to continue studying until you’re speaking English like a pro!

Extra study tricks to incorporate

Sometimes, even with the best study plans, learning English can be tricky and confusing! So here are a few tips you can include in your study routine to help you. You can plan these ahead of time or add them to your study plan as you go, depending on your English weaknesses.

Make up a rhyme or a saying to remember

Rhymes and sayings are fun ways to turn something forgettable into something memorable.

Rhyming is putting words together that use the same sounds, such as “the fox throwing rocks from the box is wearing socks.” There are many nursery rhymes that use repetition to help you learn and remember English vocabulary.

Sayings are common groups of words that don’t rhyme, such as “better safe than sorry.” You can search for common English sayings and nursery rhymes but it’s also fun to make up your own!

Sing English songs in the shower

Ever get frustrated when a song gets stuck in your head? Well, it’s time to get excited about it!

Listening to English songs will help you remember English words and phrases. Set some time in your study plan for listening to songs. The best part is that you can do this while you’re doing something else like cleaning the house, having a shower or walking the dog.

Display weekly grammar rules and exceptions

There are many language rules that can help learners understand English quickly and easily. This is especially true for English spelling and grammar.

Choose a rule for each week, such as Add an -er to the end of one-syllable words to form comparative adjectives. Write it on a card and place it somewhere you’ll see it every day. The fridge, door and computer screen are good options.

Each time you see the note, say it in your head or out loud. The more you say it throughout the week the more you’ll remember it.

Create a vocabulary door with sticky notes

Trying to learn how to say or spell a new word? Put it on a sticky note and stick it to the frame of your door.

Choose a door that’s usually open and one that you walk through many times a day. Each time you go through the door, slap a sticky note. As you do, say or spell the word that’s written on it.

This is a great way to get all the people in your workplace or class involved! Continue adding more words until your vocabulary door is a source of learning for everyone!

Practice challenging concepts daily

If there’s a mistake you keep making, don’t get frustrated. Instead, give your mistake greater attention and focus.

For example, you keep using the word conversation wrong. Instead of avoiding the word, ask an English-speaking friend to give you seven sentences that use the word correctly. Write these down and use one every day that week. This technique will stop your worrying about mistakes and make you feel successful.


You now have all the knowledge you need to build an English study plan!

Take the time to make your plan the best it can be. If you do it right, it will bring you amazing results.

Keep it fun, easy to use and motivating. Then get ready for some spectacular learning!

And One More Thing...

If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:


If you want to watch it, the FluentU app has probably got it.

The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.


FluentU lets you learn engaging content with world famous celebrities.

For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:


FluentU lets you tap to look up any word.

Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.


FluentU helps you learn fast with useful questions and multiple examples. Learn more.

The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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