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English Study Tips

education gateway english study tips

English Study Tips

education gateway english study tipsIntroduction

Students often ask us what they can do to improve their English quickly. Try these English Study Tips in this article. You will be surprised just how quickly your English improves. First some hints, tips and tricks on pronunciation, spelling and vocabulary.



  • Learn the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) and the sounds of English by using the chart in your progress form. It will help you with pronunciation when you don’t have a teacher to ask.
  • Put your hand on your throat to feel the difference between a voiced sound, such as /b/, and an unvoiced sound, /p/.
  • Record yourself on your smartphone or tablet to hear what you sound like, so you know what areas of pronunciation and intonation you need to work on.



  • Make a list of any words that your teacher has corrected on your written work or that you were not sure of and checked in a dictionary or spell checker. Remember to look at this list regularly.
  • Download a word game like Scrabble or Boggle to your mobile phone or tablet (or play an online game on your computer).



  • Choose 5 words you want to memorise, and put them into a context by creating a story. This is particularly useful for words which are unconnected.
  • Label objects with stickers and write the name of the object. You can start by adding a label to all your stationary.
  • Play word games such as Scrabble and Boggle. Online crosswords and riddles can also help you learn new vocabulary.


English Study Tips

  • Study regularly – it’s better to spend 30 minutes every day than 2 hours once a week!
  • Listen to the radio and watch some English TV every day (ask your teacher to recommend useful English programmes).
  • Read newspapers and magazines – The result is that you will learn lots of new vocabulary and common expressions.
  • Speak English outside the classroom as much as possible. If you live with friends who speak the same language as you, try and make ‘an arrangement’ to speak English only (for example, every day between 5pm and 7pm). Every little bit of practicing speaking will help.
  • Buy a good dictionary (ask your teacher for advice).
  • Keep a diary so you can write a little English every day. This will help you practice all the tenses in writing – you can do this slowly and use your grammar books and dictionaries to help.
  • Start a vocabulary notebook and write down all the new words you learn each day. If you see an interesting word or expression, show it to your teacher who will be happy to explain and your classmates will enjoy learning something new too.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand something or need help with English pronunciation.
  • Find English language exercises and games online. (Education Gateway)
  • Book a course at Education Gateway. Learn English in a structured way and practice speaking with other English language students.
  • Read our weekly blog, which includes study tips and interesting aspects of the English language. Plus a ‘fun with English’ section every week!
  • Read our weekly newsletter, which includes a useful English study tip from a teacher every month.


About Education Gateway

Education Gateway is located next to Chiang Mai University in Thailand’s north; our modern school specialises in corporate English training for the service-provider industry, preparation programs for students to study abroad.

At Education Gateway, we focus on helping you attain proficiency in any English-language environment. Our new, well-equipped classrooms are designed for up to eight students per room. The small size of the groups in spacious classrooms allows teachers and trainers to provide individualised instruction and ensure that students progress satisfactorily. We also offer in-house training in the meeting rooms at your hotel. Our teachers and trainers are flexible, so we can arrange a specific training for your staff outside the office hours.

We offer customised English training for various industries including hospitality, travel, airlines, medical, automotive and manufacturing. Our program is equally suitable for company employees working in general management, secretarial/clerical, customer service, human resources or sales capacities. Both in-house training at your own facilities as well as private training in our classrooms is available.

English Study Tips

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TOEFL Reading Tips

TOEFL Reading Tips

TOEFL Reading Tips

TOEFL Reading TipsThe TOEFL Reading Tips Section of the TOEFL iBT tests your ability to read and comprehend a series of academic texts written in English, and is the first of four sections you will encounter on test day. You will be given from 60-80 minutes to complete between 36-56 questions, based on 3-4 separate reading passages. It’s important to note that not all questions included on your test will count towards your score, as one of the four passages may be included for experimental purposes. Since you won’t know which one, it’s best to treat each section with equal importance, and do your best to answer all the questions. TOEFL Reading Tips.

The reading section may seem daunting at first, but if you follow the four simple tips listed below, you’re sure to increase your score. TOEFL Reading Tips.

1. Improve your Vocabulary TOEFL Reading Tips.

Your first task begins long before test day has arrived. Improving your vocabulary is the number one way to improve your reading comprehension. How to do this you ask? Read! Use textbooks, news articles, or any other source of academic literature to help you build your vocabulary in a variety of subjects. When you come across a word you don’t know, write it down and look it up later in an English to English dictionary. Practice your vocabulary daily by making flashcards or a word list. The more often you use your new vocabulary, the more likely you are to remember it. TOEFL Reading Tips.

2. Read the Questions First TOEFL Reading Tips.

When you begin the test, take a minute or two to briefly read over the questions before you begin reading the first passage. Knowing the questions beforehand will help you decide which material to focus on, and will allow you to read with purpose. Additionally, it’s important to note that the questions are usually in the same order as they appear in the passage. When you find the answer to the first question, the information for the second question will appear next, and so on and so forth. TOEFL Reading Tips.

3. Use Context Clues TOEFL Reading Tips.

No matter how many words you learn or how much you work to improve your vocabulary, let’s face it, you’re going to encounter some words on the test that you are unfamiliar with. When presented with this situation, the best solution is to try to infer, or guess, the meaning of the word in question based on the vocabulary surrounding it, as well as the overall meaning of the sentence. Use prefixes and suffixes to help you grasp the meaning of the words you’re unsure about, and ask yourself if they have any relation to other, similar words you might know. TOEFL Reading Tips.

4. Learn to Skim TOEFL Reading Tips.

Come exam day, you will not have time to read the entire passage, which makes skimming a vital skill. Skimming is the art of reading quickly through a passage to get the general information, without reading every word. Look for key words and understand that the main ideas usually come at the beginning or end of a paragraph, while examples and details are usually found in the middle, or body, of a paragraph or passage. Practice this skill by reading academic material on your own, leading up to the test. Skim first and take notes on your understanding, then go back and read again in detail. Did you understand correctly the first time? Where was the important information located? TOEFL Reading Tips.

While there are many more strategies for the TOEFL exam, following the basic ones listed here will put you well on your way to achieving the TOEFL score you desire. If you’d like more detailed tips and information for each section, read our series of in depth articles below: TOEFL Reading Tips.

TOEFL Reading Tips

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TOEFL Writing Tips

TOEFL Writing Tips

TOEFL Writing Tips

TOEFL Writing TipsThe TOEFL Writing Tips Section of the TOEFL iBT tests your ability to communicate effectively in an academic environment through written English, and is the fourth and final section you will encounter on test day. The Writing Section is divided into two different tasks: the integrated task and the independent task. The first task in this section, the integrated task, is similar to some of the tasks in the listening section in that you must first read a passage, then listen to a portion of a lecture. This writing assignment requires you to relate the information in the reading and the lecture and respond to the given prompt. You should spend 20 minutes on this task and write between 150 to 225 words. TOEFL Writing Tips.

The second task, the independent task, will ask you to respond to a given prompt by giving your opinion. You should spend about 30 minutes on this task and write a minimum of 300 words for an effective answer. TOEFL Writing Tips.

Although writing in any language can be challenging, you will be sure to increase your score if you follow the simple tips listed below: TOEFL Writing Tips.

1. Focus on Structure TOEFL Writing Tips.

When typing your response for the written section of the TOEFL iBT, it’s very important to ensure you have all the correct elements of a well-constructed essay. This means that each response should include an introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion. For the second task, your introduction should clearly state your opinion and outline the topics you will cover in your essay. Your body paragraphs should cover three distinct topics, with examples and details to support each topic. Finally, your conclusion should restate your opinion and summarize the main points of your essay, solidifying your response. TOEFL Writing Tips.

2. Create an Outline TOEFL Writing Tips.

Sometimes the hardest part of writing is just getting started. It can be difficult to know where to begin and how to organize our thoughts unless we plan the essay before we begin. An outline is a tool to help us keep our ideas in order and make sure we have included all the necessary parts. Start by writing a one-sentence representation of your introduction. Then write your three main topics for the body, with short bullet point details to support each one. Doing so will save you time once you begin writing, as you will essentially be connecting the dots of your outline. Memorize and use transitions to make your writing flow smoothly. TOEFL Writing Tips.

3. Choose the Side Easiest to Support TOEFL Writing Tips.

This tip applies specifically to the independent writing task. Task two will often give you a statement and ask you to what extent you agree or disagree with that statement. Regardless of what your personal feelings are about the subject, it is always better to choose to agree or disagree based on which side you can quickly come up with the most reasons and examples to support. Once you read the prompt, quickly choose a side and list the reasons you will use to support it. If you can’t easily think of three good ones, try the other side. Do not waste time trying to come up with examples to support an opinion that is difficult to explain. TOEFL Writing Tips.

While there are many more strategies for the TOEFL exam, following the basic ones listed here will put you well on your way to achieving the TOEFL score you desire. If you’d like more detailed tips and information for each section, read our series of in depth articles below:  TOEFL Writing Tips.

TOEFL Writing Tips

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TOEFL Listening Tips

TOEFL Listening Tips

TOEFL Listening Tips

TOEFL Listening TipsThe TOEFL Listening Tips Section of the TOEFL iBT tests your ability to listen and comprehend a series of academic talks, lectures, classroom discussions and conversations. This is the second section you will encounter on test day. You will be given 60-90 minutes to answer between 36-51 questions. The difference in time and number of questions depends on whether you are randomly selected to complete the extended version or the normal version of the test.  TOEFL Listening Tips.

The listening section contains three different types of passages. Academic lectures, office hours conversations and service conversations, with each passage containing five to six questions.  TOEFL Listening Tips.

The listening section may seem difficult, however, you’re sure to increase your score if you follow the simple tips listed below. TOEFL Listening Tips.

1. Take Notes TOEFL Listening Tips.

During the listening portion of the TOEFL iBT test you will hear each listening passage only once. Therefore, it is extremely important to learn how to take good notes. Use the blank paper in order to write down crucial information from the passage. You will not be able to see the questions before you listen. It is necessary to write down anything you think. Use your notes to help you answer detail questions such as names, dates, places, etc. TOEFL Listening Tips.

2. Familiarize Yourself with Question Types TOEFL Listening Tips.

Although you will not be able to see the questions before you listen to each passage, you can guess what will be asked if you know the types of questions on the listening section. These questions include: main idea, detail, purpose of passage, inference, speaker’s opinion, and organisation of the lecture.

Now you know what types of questions you will be asked can help you focus on what information to write down and will make it easier to separate essential and non-essential information. TOEFL Listening Tips.

3. Listen for Signposts TOEFL Listening Tips.

Signposts are words or phrases that signal what the speaker will talk about next. Now you know the types of questions that will be asked, you can identify the signposts used to introduce those topics. Doing so will once again help you focus on key information in the passage and prepare you to take notes.

In addition, listen for words or phrases that are repeated more than once in a short time period. It is likely you will be asked to answer questions based this information. Repeated words may also indicate a main idea or the definition of a specialty term. TOEFL Listening Tips.
There are many more strategies for the TOEFL exam, following the basic ones listed here will put you well on your way to achieving the TOEFL score you desire.

Do you like more detailed tips and information for each section? Then read our series of in depth articles below: TOEFL Listening Tips.

TOEFL Listening Tips

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TOEFL Speaking Tips

TOEFL Speaking Tips

TOEFL Speaking Tips

TOEFL Speaking TipsThe TOEFL Speaking Tips Section of the TOEFL iBT tests your ability to communicate effectively through spoken English, and is the third section you will encounter on test day. You will have 20 minutes to complete a total of six tasks: two independent and four integrated. The two independent tasks will ask you to speak for 45 seconds about familiar topics, give an opinion, or talk about past experiences. For the integrated tasks, you will be given 60 seconds and asked to read, listen and then speak, either summarizing the information in the passages or giving an opinion about how to solve a particular problem presented in the reading and/or listening.  TOEFL Speaking Tips.

It is important to note that you will not be talking to a live person, but speaking your answers into a microphone, where they will be recorded and sent to ETS for grading.  TOEFL Speaking Tips.

If you’re feeling nervous about speaking, just follow the simple tips listed below for a sure way to improve your score. TOEFL Speaking Tips.

1. Exercise Time Management TOEFL Speaking Tips.

On the test, you will be given 45 seconds to respond to each of the independent tasks, with 15 seconds to prepare your answer. Before each of the integrated tasks, you will be given 30 seconds to prepare your response, after which you have 60 seconds to speak. Use the preparation time to write down a few quick notes and organize your thoughts, or review your notes from the listening section.

A countdown timer will appear on the screen indicating the time you have left to answer the question. Be sure to check this clock often to keep track of your time. Ideally, you should fill as much time as possible without going over the limit. Therefore, if you have time left at the end of your response, it might be a good idea to say a short conclusion. It’s necessary to note, however, that anything you say after the time is up will not be recorded. TOEFL Speaking Tips.

2. Keep it Simple TOEFL Speaking Tips.

Part of your score for the speaking section will depend on how clearly you can convey your ideas. In order to communicate clearly, it’s important to stick to vocabulary and phrases you are already familiar with. The TOEFL test is not the place to try out new words you read this morning, or some slang you heard in a movie. Be sure to use words you know how to pronounce correctly and use accurately within a sentence. This applies to tense and grammar structures as well, since a well-spoken simple response will always get higher marks than an unclear or incorrect response with complex language. TOEFL Speaking Tips.

3. Practice Speaking Before the Test TOEFL Speaking Tips.

As with any activity, the key to success is practice. Ideally, practicing your English with a native speaker would be the best way to prepare for the test. However, if you don’t know or can’t find any native English speakers to talk with, a good solution is to record yourself answering some sample questions from the test. Not only will this give you practice with the question types and time management, but it will help you feel more comfortable speaking into a microphone.

If possible, play back the recordings to your friends and ask them if they notice any mistakes or have any suggestions for how to improve your speech or pronunciation. TOEFL Speaking Tips.

While there are many more strategies for the TOEFL exam, following the basic ones listed here will put you well on your way to achieving the TOEFL score you desire. If you’d like more detailed tips and information for each section, read our series of in depth articles below: TOEFL Speaking Tips.

TOEFL Speaking Tips