Study Tips for International Students

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It takes time and practice to learn English, so don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ll improve speaking skills as you spend time conversing and living around native English speakers. Most native English speakers are patient with international students and willing to help. Don’t get offended if you’re asked to repeat something since this is part of the process.


  • When reading, break sections up and attempt to understand the general concepts in each one. Continue reading even if a word or sentence confuses you since concepts will be less confusing as you continue reading. Use a dictionary if a paragraph remains unclear after reading it
  • Refrain from word-for-word translations since you’ll lose focus of the concepts
  • While reading, pause after completing a section. Review the main concepts and underline new vocabulary words to study later. You’ll have a better understanding of new words if learned within the context of paragraphs
  • Review section outlines prior to reading textbooks
  • Analyze charts and diagrams until they’re understood
  • Use flashcards to learn new vocabulary words

Lectures & Listening

  • Review classroom lecture notes immediately after class
  • Make a personal note if you miss key concepts during lectures and acquire the information from a peer
  • Watch close captioned English news broadcasts to improve English comprehension
  • Record lectures if you struggle understanding professors. Listen to the recordings multiple times. After some time, you’ll better understand the professor

Speaking English

  • Organize daily English speaking sessions with peers
  • Do not be self-conscious. It will take time and practice to sound like a native English speaker
  • Identify and make note of words that you’ve been asked to repeat. Obtain recordings of native English speakers pronouncing these words
  • Make an effort to talk with native English speakers. Don’t hesitate talking to people you encounter in a bus, a store, and other public locations. In addition to improving your vocabulary, try to pick up on idioms and other conversational English phrases

Studying for Exams

  • Focus on understanding concepts instead of verbatim memorization. Students are typically tested on topic comprehension at American colleges and universities
  • Ask professors after class questions about the lecture
  • Request sample questions if essay questions will appear on forthcoming tests. Practice writing simple essays during study sessions. Create outlines with 3-5 main concepts before writing them
  • Organize peer study groups. Share insights together and review the main concepts that will show up on the test
  • Don’t over study. Lack of sleep, poor eating, and excessive stress can lead to lower test scores

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