How Much Should I Study?
Whether you are starting a new goal to learn English or you have been studying for some time and feel like you’re not making progress, this is a question that crosses everyone’s mind.
How much is the right amount to study? Every day? And how long will it take to see improvement?
I often answer this question with a vague answer. Something like “It depends on the person”. This is true. But there is more we can talk about.
Step 1: Make it Regular
The most important thing to do when deciding on how much to study is to create a study routine.
I recommend setting aside time to study every day.
Even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Having that time dedicated to your studies is crucial. However, studying for only 10 minutes each day you are unlikely to see fast improvement. It might just be enough to maintain your English ability but not increase it. I would recommend 30 minutes minimum, but 1 hour if possible.
If you study for 1 hour each day, that’s 15 days of non-stop studying after 1 year.
Decide whether you are a morning or evening person and create a realistic length of time to study that you will stick to.
Step 2: What to Study?
Creating the study routine is the first step, but it will be hard to follow if you don’t have a plan of what to study!
It’s a good idea to cover all the key skills in a language – speaking, listening, reading, writing (vocabulary and grammar can be studied along with each skill)
Here’s a good example of a study routine that covers the key skills:
- 15 minutes of reading – note down new vocabulary and grammar
- 15 minutes of listening and focusing on the language
- 15 minutes make some example sentences with the new words/grammar
- 15 minutes flashcards studying those words
- Also, 1 or 2 days a week of speaking practice with an online teacher
Of course, you can adapt this to fit your needs, or change it completely! For example, if you think writing is a useless skill for you, perhaps you will decide not to practice writing.
It’s also good to be flexible. Maybe you’re not in the mood to do reading one day and that’s fine! You could try longer listening practice instead. Learning shouldn’t be a chore – it should be fun!
Step 3: Integrate English Into Your Life
Now that you have created your study time and routine, you can take it one step further.
Try integrating English into your daily life by immersing yourself in the language.
This can be achieved in many ways. You could:
- listen to English podcasts while driving to work.
- write all your ‘To Do’ lists in English, instead of your native language
- listen to English music more often
- change your phone or social media language settings to English
Get creative and see how much English you can add to your life!
Problem: I feel like I'm not improving
Don’t worry – this is normal.
Everyone will reach their fluency goals at different speeds. You shouldn’t compare yourself to other people. Instead, try comparing your English to how you spoke 1 year before!
Review your old English notes or audio and I’m sure you’ll see how far you’ve improved.
Learning any language is a rollercoaster of ups and downs.
Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re making great progress! Other times you will feel like you’re getting worse.
The graph below is a great example of how your confidence changes as you learn a language.
The best advice I can give is that you find a time to study that you will stick to each day; in the morning or evening is probably best when you are least busy. There’s no point in aiming to study for 1 hour a day if you know you are unlikely to keep up with that goal.
Even though it might feel like you’re not improving, keep going! Language learning is a series of ups and downs – the next ‘up’ is just around the corner.