By Dr Norman
Many people want to find the best advanced English course available. But what is the best advanced English course for you? The best course is the one that will give you the English you need as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here are some useful steps for working this out. First, decide whether you need to reach an intermediate, upper-intermediate or advanced level of English.
People at an intermediate level can usually understand everyday conversations in English and can read about common topics in English. They get the general meaning. They have some understanding of grammar, but as they try to make complex sentences, more and more errors appear in their grammar and vocabulary.
People at an upper-intermediate level can usually write, speak and understand most general topics quite well, but they have difficulty with academic and professional language. Mistakes occur regularly in their writing and speech.
People at an advanced level can usually can take part in in-depth conversations and discussions, write and understand academic and professional language well, and make only occasional errors in their grammar and vocabulary.
Once you know what level of English you want to achieve, work out your current level of English. This will give you an idea of how long it might take to reach your goal. If you study hard and select the right course for you, it will probably take you about 6 months to move from intermediate to upper intermediate, and another 6 months to move from upper intermediate to advanced depending on the amount of study you do. If you study English fulltime, you may get there faster.
To learn quickly and efficiently, it is important to select a course that is at just the right level for you to learn. Aim for a course that is the next level above your current level of English. If the course is too easy, then there is not much for you to learn, and you will be wasting your time. However, if it is too hard then it will be difficult to learn. This too will waste your time. Selecting a course that is at just the right level will help your English grow as quickly and efficiently as possible.
How can you check if the course is at the right level for you? One excellent way is to listen to and read some of the course materials. They should be a bit difficult for you. Now read or listen to them 2 or 3 more times. If your understanding improves just by re-reading or listening again, then the materials are probably at just the right level for you to learn well.
Once you know that the level is right, look at the course more closely. Think about what you do well in English, and what aspects of your English are the weakest and need to improve. Do you find it easier to read than to understand what people are saying? Do you speak better than you write, or is it the other way round? Choose a course which builds on what you do well and helps you to improve on your areas of weakness.
Also look at how the course is structured. The best courses build your English in a step by step way. They give you an opportunity to understand, analyse and practise real English before you try it on your own. They separate out parts of English such as the grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation for you to learn. Then they bring these parts back together in different ways that allow you to hear and see how they are used in real life. The best courses are cleverly designed to continually revise what you have learnt while teaching you something new.
Finally, consider the approach that the course takes. Does it suit your style of learning? Does it give you the amount of control you like to have over your learning? Does it provide you with the amount of guidance you need? Are the explanations easy to follow? Does it make learning English straightforward? Make sure that the course you choose makes you more competent, and gives you more control over your English.
Don’t waste your time in a course that is not at the right level, that doesn’t address your needs and does not suit your style of learning. Choose a course that helps you to learn English as quickly and efficiently as you can. The right course for you will be the best advanced English course for you!
Also see my blog on how to choose the best English teacher for you.
9th February 2016