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Tips to Better Listening

ListeningListening is necessary in life and this does not only pertain to personal encounters but also in everyday circumstances in general. Take an oral exam, a seminar, a presentation or an interview perhaps. You’d have to pay careful attention and listen intently to the speaker/s in order to gain full insight of what they are saying or trying to convey so that you in turn could respond accordingly. But how does on listen better? We asked the experts over at the English Academy for some advice and listed below are what they had to say.

1st Tip: Calm those nerves. – In cases such as exams or interviews, one of the main reasons why your mind drifts into space or your hearing seems to be at a loss is all because of excess nerves and unnecessary anxiety. We can’t help but get nervous in certain situations but that shouldn’t hinder you from the things that you are supposed to do. Shake it off or at least fake it until you make it. Don’t allow it to get the better of you.

2nd Tip: Keep your focus. – When someone else is talking avoid thinking about other things. Consciously put your mind at the task at hand and listen. Remember about the saying that goes “mind over matter”? That is what you should do. If you feel like you are drifting away pull yourself back.

3rd Tip: Make eye contact. – This is a good way to keep yourself from thinking about other unrelated stuff. Avoid looking at your surroundings or noticing other details of the room or place that you are in. Look at the person speaking but don’t glare or stare them down either.

4th Tip: Keep yourself hands free. – Another thing that can hinder you from listening better is if your hands are busy with something. Perhaps a pen or a smart phone? Sometimes it is indeed necessary to have them with you as when you are listening to a board meeting presentation and taking down notes. Just see to it that you don’t distract yourself with them. The same holds true for cellular phones.

5th Tip: Practice makes perfect. – If you are well aware about your poor listening skills, the English Academy suggests that you better practice to improve. One way to do so is by listening to speeches or songs and then later on transcribing what was said or at least sharing the idea or concept behind them.

Succeeding in Oral and Listening Exams: Tips from the English Academy

When it comes to oral and listening exams, the game differs. Unlike written ones that ask you for essays or let you choose between options A to E, these require a whole new level of wit and critical thinking. Add to that excellent communication skills and grammar proficiency. So when you are about to take one, better pack up on the following tips from the English Academy.

listen to audioWiden your vocabulary. – You cannot speak well if your vocabulary is very limited. To fix this you have to consciously make an effort to do simple daily practices. Pick up any reading material or even a dictionary spot on. A few new words a day will go a long way!

Read more than to your heart’s desire. – If you adore books then good but if you don’t then you should start learning to love reading. Novels are a good way to expose you to sentence structures and common expressions. Even simply doing so with newspapers and magazines will benefit you.

Get to writing. – Knowledge if not applied will be put to waste. After reviewing your grammar lessons it would be nice to start practicing with a pen and paper or even with your computer and keyboard.

Try listening to recordings. – To learn diction and pronunciation try listening to recordings, songs or even audio books. It’s like observing but only with your ears.

Practice transcribing. – To hone your listening skill, try transcribing a speech or even a song that you haven’t heard of yet. This should help train your listening aptitude and perk up your skills.

Keep talking and conversing. – Talk and converse in English as much as you can. Finding a partner to do this with or even asking family and friends to support you in this endeavor will help a lot. After all, practice makes perfect.

Clear your head. – During the exam itself or minutes before it, see to it that you clear your head off of any negative feelings and doubt. Take away anything that could bother you and keep you out of focus. Stay relaxed because nerves are an ugly beast. They can cripple your verbal and listening skills. So remember to breathe and smile.

Oral and listening exams are nothing to be afraid of says the English Academy. If you prepared for it right then there is nothing to be scared of or to hinder your path to success. Good luck!

How Not to Fail the B1 Citizenship Test

If you are planning to apply for a stay in the United Kingdom as a resident and citizen for purposes of employment, education or other personal reasons, you should first pass the required B1 Citizenship Test. This is a two part examination composed of both speaking and listening to test one’s proficiency and command of the English language. The test runs for duration of ten minutes with each part having equal time.

Now just like any other exam ample preparation is needed so as not to fail. No one goes off to take an exam expecting and hoping to fail it in the first place. So what preparations should you do before the scheduled date? Here are our tips for you.

study b1 citizenshipSNOOZE RIGHT AND DOZE OFF ENOUGH – You have to get at least eight hours of sleep days before the test most especially on the night before it. Sure the nerves can add up to the adrenaline and keep you awake but try as much to push the anxiety away. If you stay awake for about twenty one hours straight your mental capacity is akin to that of someone who got terribly wastes at a bar. Remember that drunken people don’t get to listen right and talk straight!

STUDY AND PRACTICE FOR IT – Observe the actors in a movie, listen to music, read books and similar publications, get a dictionary, read out loud in front of a mirror, think in English, practice with a friend and so on and so forth. No one gets to ace an exam for just sleeping the night before. You have to study for it days or weeks before. No cramming please.

EAT HEALTHY AND DITCH CAFFEINE – Eat a good and healthy meal. Don’t starve yourself and think that you might puke things out. Unless you want to faint in front of the examiner then go on and skip your meal. Make sure that it is packed with the right kind of foods. Also, skip your regular morning coffee, soda, juices and anything with caffeine. If you must sip some coffee make sure that it’s decaf. Caffeine is never good for the nerves and can increase anxiety. Thirsty? Chug on some water!

THINK OF WHAT YOU KNOW, NOT WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW – Sure you probably will miss out some stuff but it is okay. A few mistakes won’t really hurt. If you keep focusing on the things that you might get wrong you’ll end up getting them in the end. Focus on what you can deliver and think positive.

BREATHE IN BREATHE OUT – When taking the B1 Citizenship Test remember to keep calm, breathe in and breathe out. If you’ve prepared well, slept enough and ate right then there’s no stopping you from acing that exam.

How to Effectively Improve Written and Verbal English

With English dubbed as the universal language it is but important that one invest time and effort at learning the language and trying your bets to say and put it on paper right. Nothing makes travel harder than not being able to converse with someone at a common understandable knowledge. Your head tilts and hand gestures won’t cut it. Besides, miscommunication can lead you to a terrible fate if not something completely embarrassing. Furthermore, many countries require basic command and proficiency in the language to successfully apply for a visa whether as a tourist, resident or citizen. So how does one effectively improve one’s written and verbal English skills? Here are some tips from The English Academy:

# 1: BE A KEEN OBSERVER – With the internet, movie and television industry going on constant boom, it is easy to find videos of people who can speak well in English. Be keen at observing the way their lips protrude and the way they say words. Try to imitate them and where possible record your voice. Try to compare. This will slowly allow you to learn proper diction plus common sentence structures and expressions.

# 2: learn english onlineTRY ON SOME HEADPHONES – Another option for you to learn correct intonation and pronunciation is by listening to music. Just make sure that you do listen to songs with good lyrics.

# 3: READ WELL AND READ MORE – Grab a book, a magazine or a newspaper and start reading. This will allow you to have clear and visual contact with words, sentence structures, grammar techniques and the like.

# 4: GO FOR AUDIO – Now what if you’re not the bookworm type? What if you are not one who likes to read? That’s easy. Audiobooks are all abound in the market. If you don’t like to read them then you can listen to them.

# 5: DO BOXES – When you are eating your breakfast try reading the English portion of the information at the back of your cereal box and milk carton. Do the same when you are doing your grocery. It’s a small baby step but it will help you for sure.

# 6: OPEN UP THE DICTIONARY – If you come across a new word, open up your dictionary and look it up. Adding items to your vocabulary can do wonders.

# 7: PRACTICE AND READ ALOUD – For at least fifteen minutes daily be sure to find a good material and read aloud. Try doing it in front of a mirror so you get to see your lip movements and facial expressions. Also don’t forget to record.

If you do all that you’ll surely get to effectively improve your written and verbal English!