10 ways to improve your English

Photo of a woman and a man talking - conversation with a native speaker is a great way to improve your English

If you have been accepted to a UK university it means that you have passed an IELT or similar English language exam. However, you may still wish to improve your English.

Perhaps you are worried about whether you will be able to do well at an English-language university. Or perhaps you feel nervous about having conversations with native speakers, especially when it comes to regional accents and slang words.

There are lots of ways to improve your English and we’ve rounded up 10 tips to help you get more comfortable with the language.

1. Use your university resources

Your university will have lots of resources that can help you with course work, such as an academic writing centre that can help you write British-style essays. Your university may also run buddy programmes or language swaps.

A buddy programme pairs you with a home student who can help you adjust to your new university. A language swap helps you find a native speaker who will practice English with you, usually in exchange for learning your language.

2. Watch British TV shows to help adjust to accents

There are lots and lots of British accents, some of them very heavy, and you may find it difficult to understand the locals. You can practice listening to the different accents by watching popular British TV shows. Programmes like EastEnders and Coronation Street, which have characters who speak in regional accents.

3. Join a society

Your university will have lots of student societies and there’s sure to be something that interests you. Joining a society is a great way to improve your English whilst doing what you love.

4. Change the language on your devices

Your phone, computer, and social media should all have language options, so go into the settings and switch them to English. That way you can squeeze in a little practice just by opening an app.

5. Listen to music or podcasts in English

You can turn your daily chores into fun English practice time by listening to English music or podcasts while you take the bus to class or wash the dishes. Of course, we recommend classic British artists like The Beatles and David Bowie!

6. Visit your local library

British libraries don’t just have books – they also have lots of community programmes. Your local library may run free English classes or conversation groups that you can join for a bit of practice in a relaxed and supportive environment.

7. Record your lectures

You may find your lecturers speak quickly, which can be overwhelming. Ask their permission to record their lectures on your phone so that you can listen to it as many times as you need to.

8. Make your own slang dictionary

English has lots of slang words and nonsense sayings that you may not have learned in school. Keep track of the new things you’re learning by writing them down in a notebook.

9. Watch English films with English subtitles

Many films and TV shows have a lot of whispering and mumbling. It can be difficult to understand what the actors are saying. Try turning on the subtitles in English – that way, you can see how words are spelt and hear how they’re pronounced at the same time.

10. Speak English whenever you can

If you are not confident about speaking English the best way to overcome this to practice, practice, practice. Even using a little bit of English will help boost your confidence and improve your skills. Try thanking your bus driver or asking a shop assistant where something is.