english-study-plan

The Complete Guide to Creating an English Study Plan You’ll Actually Want to Follow

What do a delicious cake and a Beyoncé concert have in common?

They both start with a good plan.

Planning makes things go right—from simple cake recipes to complicated dance routines. Plans help us prepare for problems and stay on track towards our goals.

So you should definitely have a strong study plan if you’re learning English!

An English study plan will turn your dream of fluency into real action. It’ll make you achieve your goal.

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

By the end of this article, you’ll know how to create a personalized English study plan that you can adapt as you become more and more advanced.
 


 
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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.

  • 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 English 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!
  • And the best part? Study plans are motivating! Working towards your goals gives you the boost you need to keep learning, even when study gets tough!

How to Build the Perfect Personalized English Study Plan (Step-by-step Guide with Examples)

1. Ask Yourself These Questions to Prepare Your English Study Plan

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’ll 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? Is your goal to share funny jokes in English? Or is it 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 important 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.

  • 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 can also make you feel this way.

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?

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 would 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:

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 into your study plan.

If you go to work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, write this into the Monday column next to the hours on the timeline. If you also do this on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, write it into those columns as well. 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.

Take the time to move activities around. If you feel better learning 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 in your study plan too!

For example:

  • Monday
    • 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 check-point to measure your success:

Decide on a check-point. 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 check-point in the notes column on your study plan. For example:

  • Notes
    • Test after two weeks: Nov. 17.

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.

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 confident 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.

english-study-plan

FluentU is another unique, fun tool you can fit anywhere in your study plan. FluentU provides real-world English videos, like movie trailers, music videos, inspiring speeches and more, that have been transformed into personalized language lessons.

Every video comes with subtitles you can click to learn new words while you watch, plus flashcards and fun quizzes. And with the FluentU Android or iOS apps you can practice anytime, anywhere.

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:

  • Monday
    • 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

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 into your study plan as you go, depending on your English weaknesses.

  • Make up a rhyme or a saying. 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 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. Cleaning the house, having a shower, walking the dog and shopping are all activities you can do while singing along to your favorite English music.

  • Display weekly 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 “i before e, except after c.” 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.

  • Set up a vocabulary door. 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!

  • Make mistakes a daily practice. 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 7 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.

Decide how you’ll test your learning:

english-study-plan

Now that we’ve added our learning resources to our study plan, it’s time to finish the check point 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.

english-study-plan

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, ESL, Englishtag and International House offer online tests to test your general English skills. Language Level and english-study-planEnglish Grammar Online can test your grammar and vocabulary knowledge. EF Set, Kaplan International and ABA English help you test your comprehension skills for both reading and listening.

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. english-study-planYou 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 check-points 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. Doing this will boost your mood every time you check what study you’ll be doing each day.

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 in time and effort to 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 where 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 focussed on your next lesson.

If you’re avoiding your study then there may be bigger problems. If you’re always bored or feel your study 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!

 

You now have all the knowledge you need to build an English study plan! Your plan will bring you amazing results if you do it right. Take the time to make your plan the best it can be. Keep it fun, easy to use and motivating.

Your unique English study plan is the tool that’ll make you the English speaker you want to be. No more wishing, no more hoping. Get ready for some spectacular learning!

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