3. Improve your... Listening Skills

Don’t watch things on TV to learn the language; things like TV shows, films, YouTube videos… These things contain a lot of colloquial use of language (things that sometimes don’t make sense or are very hard to use) and they also contain a lot of mistakes. Yes, native speakers make mistakes! Sometimes, these are accidental, but other times they are intentional. In everyday life, native speakers make mistakes all the time. So film and TV often reflect this, which means that you don't know if what you are learning is right or wrong.


Watching should not be done for learning grammar and vocabulary. Watching should be done to improve listening skills.  Watch something (film, TV series, documentaries, YouTube videos - but not videos about learning English!) WITHOUT subtitles (because when you read, you are not listening), or listen to podcasts or audio books.  Find documentaries (but good documentaries where presenters speak properly, not the Netflix ones!), podcasts or audiobooks which are about things which interest you. That way you are more likely to keep listening.


The best way is to do this passively - while you are doing other things, like housework, homework, sports… it doesn't matter how much you understand; it's about training your ear to hear different sounds. 


Non-natives who move to an English-speaking country improve this skill a lot, because they hear English around them all the time, even when they are not paying attention or people are not speaking to them directly; it’s always there. And their ear becomes used to it.


When your ear becomes used to hearing different sounds, different accents, different ways that you can stress words, then your listening skills improve and listening to natives becomes much easier.


Do some listening exercises for 15-20 minutes every day (you can increase the time as you get better, if you want, but start small).  Remember, a little bit every day is much better than a big amount once per week.