Master English like Xie Na: a 6-Week Guide of Self-Studies for English 101 Class

Writing guide
Posted on October 18, 2018

Master English like Xie Na

Still terrified to attend the first class of English 101? We are here to help you master English and beat that class without efforts!

Just like Xie Na did, when in July 2013 she attended Boston University’s Center for English Language & Orientation Programs (CELOP) for a 6-week program to improve her English skills. We assume a 6-week approach worked for her because already in March 2017 she became #1 trending topic on Weibo, when she announced she would go to Italy as an overseas student to study design.

If Xie Na did it, you can do it too. Below is a structured 6-week training program that will help you rock at English 101. Let’s start!

Week 1. Train Your Tongue

At first, focus on phonetics. Most Chinese students have problems with their English pronunciation. It’s important to sound correct, because if you speak bad and wrong pronunciation, you’ll have great troubles in memorizing the words. This is the feature of the English language – its spelling is highly related to its pronunciation. Therefore, to conquer phonetics is the 1st step.

There are some good resources for that, for example The Sounds of American English: this program is made on the basis of the English program of the University of Iowa in the United States in order to help the majority of English learners in China. It is very specific and helpful, giving you demonstration with animation and step by step guide on the movement of mouth and tongue. On the right side there’s a video demonstration. All the syllables in American English are included in this program.

Spend about 2 hours a day on the phonetics practice. Be sure to record your voice and compare it with the standard pronunciation. Just a mobile phone could do as your partner in improving your pronunciation. This method aims at letting you know how different your pronunciation is to the original standard pronunciation. No matter how much you can hate this stage, but it’s necessary and essential. Xie Na would approve.

Week 2. Feel Yourself a Shakespeare

At the 2nd week, we’ll review the phonetics and try to improve it more. Meanwhile, it’s better to start the reciting. In order to have good performance in writing, you need to recite as many articles as you can to increase your vocabulary and expression. It’s not hard to choose the reference. Pick up some model English essay on our website and recite it as much as you can. It could take a lot of time, so if you’re not so free, you can just choose to recite a few paragraphs.

But be sure to do self-dictation after reciting the essay or paragraphs. This is a must. Because English 101 is a writing test after all. And in order to be proficient in writing long essays, you must dictate and write as many as you can. This week, we’ll still just do the dictation part. After you finish the dictation, check where you write it wrongly and practise your wrong parts more. It’s better to prepare a notebook to write down the phrases, words and sentences you’re not familiar with. Read them regularly in your spare time to improve the memory.

Week 3. It’s Reading Time

On the 3rd week, we will focus on reading and writing. You can pick up an English novel which is suitable for your level, like Harry Potter for instance. You may also read some English articles every single day, it shouldn’t be too easy or too hard. Here are a few useful resources:

  • The New York Times Learning Blog
  • Entrepreneur Online Magazine
  • The New Yorker
  • CNN Student News

In order to have enough output amount, you must have enough input amount. That’s why reading English books or articles becomes a must. Also, through this way, you may have more interest in English.

As for writing, pick up the topics that are trending for English 101 at your university over the last years. Ask your peers – they should know. After finishing writing each article, you can choose to post it on Lang-8 or Grammarly. Lang-8 is a Japanese language learning website, where language learners post journals in the language they’re learning, and native speakers will correct their mistakes for free. Grammarly is a free app that offers accurate, context-specific suggestions to make your work shine. With them, you can know where you need to improve and how good your writing is.

Week 4. Add Grammar Practice

On the 4th week, you are still advised to focus on reading and writing. At the same time, check grammar book for necessary knowledge in English writing. Grammar is extra-important in essay writing, and it should never be neglected.

Week 5. Write, Review. Repeat.

On the 5th week, spend more time on writing than reading. Also, review the mistakes you’ve made in your past writing, and dictate the correct expression to strengthen your memory on them. Still, don’t forget to review grammar.

Week 6. Mix It All

The last week will be mainly a review a week. Along with proper exercise, you should have a good life habit as well. Don’t stay up late or drink wine. Prepare yourself in good spirit to take the test. With a few writing practices and enough review, you’ll surely improve your English level and do better in English 101.

Last but not least, confidence is more important than effort. Always be confident and prepare in advance, this will assure you good performance in English 101. And if something fails, order a custom sample for your English 101 from us and get equally good results.

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