10 Tools and Tips to Self Study English Effectively

How confident are you?

Your answer should be: totally confident.

Then you know you can definitely learn English by yourself, right?

If you’re confident enough, you can skip all of the expensive English courses and huge textbooks and try to do things your own way

Why Try Self-studying English?

Many English learners feel hesitant (nervous) about studying alone.

But you soon realize that all the resources you need can be found at home.

The truth is, the internet is not only your best source for learning English, but also the easiest way to study at home any time you want.

And you don’t even need to stay home all the time just to study. Once you have the resources you need, you can bring them along with you and study wherever you want.

The best part is, you also get to study at your own pace without having to follow the instructor’s lessons or the accomplishments (progress) of your classmates. You get to study at a comfortable pace, which makes it a more effective learning experience for you.

Most important of all, you become less dependent on others to learn English. Since you are studying alone, there is more motivation for you to prove that you can learn English by yourself. If there is consistent motivation, success won’t be hard to reach.

10 Ways to Get Motivated with English Self Study

So, how can you start your self-study journey? First, you should find a way that you are most comfortable with, and something that you enjoy at the same time.

This should build your motivation, until you are ready to use other approaches of self-studying English.

Here are 10 ways to start today:

1. Listen to music and learn all the lyrics

Everyone likes music. However, in order to learn English, you must stick to English songs.

What are your favorite songs at the moment? Do you like Ed Sheeran or Maroon 5?

Practicing with popular songs is always better because you always hear them playing even if you’re in the car, the grocery store or the mall. You can also hear them on English radio stations online. As for the music genre, you may want to avoid rock and rap because the lyrics are often a blur (too fast or difficult to hear). It won’t be good practice for your diction and pronunciation.

For starters, go to YouTube and search for a music video or audio file that you like. Listen to it over and over again until you know the song very well.

After that, search for a lyric version of the song. For example, you can listen to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” music video or song first and then sing along with the lyric version of the song.

Once you’re ready to do the entire song alone, maybe it’s time to do an acapella (no music) by yourself or a karaoke version (music only) of the song.

2. Watch English videos about your interests

While you’re already on YouTube, you can also watch YouTube videos.

This is good training for your English comprehension and communication. Watching interviews and reviews will help you become familiar with conversational English—how you should communicate with other people.

It doesn’t have to be a formal interview or review. Perhaps you like technology and want to know more about a specific model. Why not listen to a review? For example, you can watch Apple’s iPhone 11 Review by The Verge.

If you like movies, you can watch interviews of your favorite actors and actresses. What about watching Robert Downey Jr.’s interview for “The Avengers: Age of Ultron? It really doesn’t matter if the interview or review is recent, what’s important is that you are listening to and learning from real English content.

Speaking of real English content, how great would it be if your English lessons were filled with it?

You can find out for yourself. Right now.

Use our free trial to check out the FluentU app.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Click here to check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

  FluentU Ad

With FluentU’s videos, you can choose anything you’d like to watch and use the clickable subtitles to improve vocabulary, listening, pronunciation and fluency.


Use the “loop” feature to repeat parts of videos that you couldn’t catch. Make your self-study more “active” with shadowing practice, interactive flashcards and vocabulary lists.

3. Watch English movies and TV shows

Watching English movies and TV shows also helps improve how you speak and understand the language.

You’ll be able to hear a lot of people talking to each other using the most current forms of English. This will help you learn commonly used slang terms, English idioms and phrases and help you broaden your English vocabulary.

If you are having problems understanding what the actors are saying, you might try using subtitles at first. Once you are more familiar with the words, try removing the subtitles and test out your English comprehension.

Also, you can try to practice the lines as much as you can. If you don’t understand the lines, you can always search for the transcript of the movie online. The Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDb) has a good list of movie scripts that you can choose from. Simply search for any movie there and read along with the words as you watch the movies.

4. Learn how to get the most out of English media

English songs, videos, TV shows and movies can help you speak more like a native. But sometimes, they’re hard to understand.

People on the radio, on TV or in the movies might speak quickly.  They sometimes interrupt each other. Often, they use expressions you may not know.

A character in a movie isn’t going to stop to explain the slang used in a dialogue.

Because of this, it can be intimidating to jump directly into English media. If you want to avoid getting lost, you can have a dictionary and notebook around. Make notes of what words you know and don’t know, and look up any unfamiliar vocabulary. You could even jot down key phrases and try using them in conversation as soon as you can. 

Whenever you watch English media, you can hear, see and read (with subtitles) English. This can make whatever you learn more easy to remember.

That’s why the FluentU English channel on YouTube is here to help. It comes from the same team that brings you the FluentU app.

FluentU English shows you lots of tips and techniques for learning English using classic movies, silly songs or podcasts.

Subscribe and click on the notification bell, so you’ll never miss out on a new learning tip!

5. Test your grammar with online English quizzes

When you self-study, one possible problem is that you might miss the mistakes and errors you’re making.

On the other hand, this is why English self study is so great—you always get to double check if you’re right or wrong. For self-study learners, there is always the question “Am I right?”

One easy way to test yourself is to do free online English quizzes. These quizzes will test your grammar, sentence construction, comprehension and a whole lot more.

Do these quizzes weekly or monthly to make sure you are on the right track.

6. Chat with friends online

Chatting with friends online is a fun way to self-study English without even realizing it. It’s different from talking to a teacher, or studying in class, or even using English at work because it’s relaxed, and the language is easy.

You can chat on Facebook Messenger, through Twitter tweets or even through Skype voice calls.

Chatting is an amazing way to learn English because you’re putting into practice what you’ve learned in a casual, stress-free way.

Through keyboard chatting, you get to check for grammar errors before you hit that “enter” button. With online voice calls, you’re practicing your conversational English.

Additionally, getting your friends to speak in English with you makes it a more motivating task for you. Not only can you prove to them that your English is getting better, but you also feel more fulfilled knowing that you can speak English freely with your friends anytime.

7. Read e-books, articles and online magazines

Reading is as important as listening when learning English. Reading and listening both sharpen the mind and train you to think in English too.

Non-native English speakers always have to translate English in their minds, which causes the delay in their response. However, if the mind is trained to think in English, it will be easier to understand and speak the language. The more you read, the more exposure to English sentence structure, new vocabulary, and formal and casual speech patterns you get. This means you have a whole lot of sentences to choose from when you start to speak English.

The internet is a treasure trove of English e-books, articles and magazines. Find a resource with a topic that you’re really interested in.

Do you like cooking, gardening or reading about relationships?

You can read anything you want because every new word learned or old word re-learned is added knowledge and practice for you.

8. Write about something you’re thinking about

Eventually, you will have to put into practice what you have learned through self-study.

A great way to start is to write something of your own.

It doesn’t have to be a published article online, you can simply start with a personal journal. Writing your own piece puts all your learning together—how much you know about English grammar, vocabulary and overall understanding.

After writing, feel free to check your own work for any errors. To do this, it’s best to put your composition in a file so you can use grammar checker programs to locate mistakes and errors in your work.

9. Join language exchange websites online

English learners want to talk to fellow English learners, and the good news is that there are numerous websites that specifically focus on language exchanges.

Join the language exchange community so you can communicate with other self-study students like you.

One of the websites you can try is Speaky, where you can meet native English speakers who are glad to talk with you and help you out.

10. Speak English wherever you go

Practicing and learning English shouldn’t stop at home or with people you know.

If you’re in an English-speaking country and you’re going to the mall to find a specific item, talk to a saleslady in English, and don’t be nervous! To prepare, before you leave your house, look up all the vocabulary you need to ask questions and buy your item. This helps you explain what you want, and also helps you understand the answers that you’ll hear.

And if you’re inquiring about a service or product over the phone, speak in English.

As much as possible, try and speak English wherever you are and wherever you go, even if the person you’re talking to isn’t really fluent. It’s all about communication!

Getting by with English Self-study

Don’t get me wrong, self-studying English is not easy—but it is definitely possible to do.

With hard work and determination, this is a challenge you can overcome. You must always keep yourself motivated and encouraged. Always support yourself and remind yourself why you want to learn English.

Further, setting a goal in mind will keep you going. You can set a weekly goal for yourself like learning 20 new words in a week or talking in pure English in one conversation with a friend. This should help you stay motivated.

If you want a little more help with your self-study, try some of these options.

Of course, getting your friends to join you in your English learning journey and finding fun ways to learn English will also help you. But at the end of the day, the passion should always come from you.

You can do it! Believe it!

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