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Tips to Do Well in English – Working on Foundations

To many students, English is a huge obstacle – more so if they come from a non-English-speaking background. The inability to master it not only affects the English results in school, it has ripple effect on other subjects as well, since English is used as the language of instruction for virtually all subjects in school.

To be honest, one does need time to improve in English. However, with a targeted approach and discipline, improvements can and will be made. To begin with, the foundations of English, vocabulary and grammar, can be strengthened if you READ MORE, WRITE MORE, LISTEN MORE and SPEAK MORE.


Start simple and pick something you're interested in. For example,

  • genres that you like,
  • books recommended by friends,
  • bite-size articles in magazines, etc

are all good place to start, and expand from there. Reading from varied sources exposes you to different ways of expressions and improves your general knowledge.

Whenever you find writings or expressions that you like or are new to you, save them in a notebook and review them every now and then. Understand their meanings and how they can be applied. Slowly but surely, your vocabulary will be much richer.


Some students find themselves unable to express the ideas and opinions well even though they have a lot of ideas but it's just difficult to put them to paper.

Practice with some topics. What to write about? Anything! Start a weekly journal of your recent activities, book reports, or pen your thoughts about recent news, etc. Practice writing outlines to organise your thoughts first, before actually writing the paragraphs. It's ok to start with shorter paragraphs and develop from there. Apply what you've read and add in the expressive words and phrases you've collected in your notebook.


Surrounding yourself in an English-speaking environment can do more benefits that you realise. You can hone your listening skills, listen to the pronunciation of certain words that you have come across in written form, learn new words in the process, etc.

There are numerous ways to get English content: Podcasts, radio, news on TV, Youtube, are all possibilities. But make sure your screen time is well-managed, and don't go overboard.


By actively speaking English more often, you practice how to express your thoughts in an organised manner while speaking, and pick appropriate words and expressions to best convey your ideas.

Many students will feel embarrassed or awkward to take the first step but this is necessary. In the beginning, you will probably make some mistakes, but constant practice over time will surely help in building self-confidence when talking to others. Persevere on and you will soon be able to reap the benefits through better oral grades, presentation assignments and interview performances.

With these tips in mind, you can prepare yourself better for English and strengthen your foundations. Check out our tips on how to improve your comprehension.

Related to: English  Exam Tips  For Parents  N Level  O Level  Primary  PSLE  Secondary  Study Tips