How I learned English, and what came of it

How I learned English, and what came of it.

TL / DR: it's better, but there is room to grow. The rest of the notes are solid captaincy, and even with errors. There is no simple way with one magic tablet.

The third day, I read the IELTS and TOEFL exams: why are they needed and how are they passed?

Tellingly, the article of the company, which, it would seem, should know something about the English language, is full of factual errors, with errors, inaccuracies and inadequacies coming from the first words. For example, Cambridge IELTS exam - International English Language Testing System

This is a nonstandard or a mistake - for exams at a foreign university, they pass not just IELTS (General Training), but IELTS Academic. IELTS Academic is very different from IELTS General Training, and they are both from TOEFL. The only common place - all three tests check the level of knowledge of English

Or here:

On the other hand, TOEFL mixes different aspects in one part. As you can see from the exam description, integrated format tasks force you to react to the information you have read or listened to.

Nothing like this. The task integrated consists in the following - opinion-1 is a written text on a given topic (reading), and opinion-2 (someone's, oral - listening) on ​​the same topic. An oral opinion can be either “for” or “against” opinion-1, and the task is to select key points and write them. And in any case, not your valuable opinion.

Having a little extinguished the fire in my chest, I will return to my experience.

Start. I began to learn (little by little, something and something) English when I was still in school. At least, the heirs of the Soviet (that is, the best) school could inculcate a sincere disgust for the subject. London from e-capital of Great Britain, fish 'n chips, cap of ty, bad food, Vorst luck - London .

Learning to walk added ... very, very little, I would say. If I could still read the text on IT or some forum, then I already had problems with a foreign film, even with subtitles. Not that there are problems and trouble at all ... but I would rate the level of understanding of the text at 20-25 percent without subtitles.

Of course, in any Turkey I could confidently say about two teas in 222 rooms, but not much more.

Testing before school

Before the start of any training course, a mini-test is given - reading, grammar, interview.
Testing showed that this level roughly corresponds to the level between Intermediate and Pre-intermediate, so I went to the second (Pre-intermediate), in fact, the initial - although, in fact, Pre-intermediate is far from the initial level.

Levels of study and exams

For the level of knowledge of the English language, the following division is most common:

Beginner . Corresponds to the level of an ordinary school, it used to be called “I read with a dictionary,” now “I can stuff it into Google translator.
Elementary . Theoretically, this level should give a regional technical university. In practice, does not.
Pre - intermediate.
Upper intermediate.

But these are the levels of textbooks, and knowledge of the language (as they say in vacancies - not lower than Upper / Intermediate) is approximately the same as actual knowledge of a PC to the requirement of “Experienced PC user”.
What matters is not the textbook read and the course completed, but the percentage of its mastery, which is checked only by an exam (IELTS (General Training) / IELTS Academic / TOEFL / FCE).


There are several ways for several areas of learning English. The main problem here is the same as in sports - it takes 1-2 months not to study the subject, as 2/3 of the studied is forgotten. In general, learning is easy. For any task there is a rule of 10.000 hours . But not everyone has 10,000 hours, so you have to learn a lot to read (reading), listen (listen), write essays on a free topic (writing, including integrated), and talk (speaking). There is no simple way with one magic tablet.

How much time is needed for the transition from level to level

The standard language course (textbook per level) is designed for approximately 40 classes (September-May once a week) for 4 academic hours each lesson, a total of 160 hours. In addition, there are compulsory homework (dada, they do homework there and even have it checked) - for about 2 academic hours each time, that is +80 hours. It is very desirable to engage in self-preparation, repetition of tasks and analysis of lessons and lessons - this is another 4 hours per week.

Total 160 + 80 + 160 = 400 hours. Or 10 hours a week.

Conclusion - every day you have to spend at least an hour on independent work, and 3-4 hours on weekends.

Watching Movies and TheaterHD Performances

After about 50 first hours (if starting from Pre-intermediate) the level becomes sufficient to start watching movies and TV shows in English.

Important BUT - viewing can not be counted either in self-study or in study. But you need to watch a movie, you can repeatedly recommended series (Friends, how I met your mother, the big bang theory, Mr Robot, etc.), you can movie. First, of course with subtitles.

Two problems

1. After the next level increase it becomes difficult to watch Russian dubbing. Sometimes in the dubbing "get" in the voice (intonation) and the conversation (about what it is). More often not.

2. Even in Moscow, not every cinema is constantly something in English. In regions with such films, everything is worse. With TheaterHD in the regions quite a disaster, but still show.

But, as we all know, sometimes it’s enough to go to a tavern, to search there for a person on one leg with a matershinnik parrot, however, I completely and completely blame and condemn such methods. With a rogue, for example, it is necessary to fight (C).

Where to strive for and how to pass FCE / TOEFL / IELTS

To strive, of course, it is necessary to surrender something from the above. For any score - this is not an institution, you can take it more than once every six months, you will not be expelled. Nevertheless, to pass on the points set to oneself as a guideline, without general preparation and preparation for the intended exam, is rather problematic.

There will be everything against the visitor - an unusual situation, a time limit, general stress.
From what level does it make sense to take? With Intermediate, if the rate is above 80%. Different tests can be searched online, you can honestly pass yourself and determine whether this level has been reached.

Should I take a short (3 months) or a long (9 months) FCE / TOEFL / IELTS (G / A) preparation course? I believe that the short course is quite suitable if the Upper-intermediate level is successfully mastered, but if not, then a long course will do. Is it possible to pass without a training course, instead of looking for a book and reading how the process looks? Can. Many rent, although you still need to prepare, at least on their own.

About IELTS Academic

It differs from the general, and significantly - both in length and in tasks. In my opinion, it is necessary to prepare for it specifically. In particular, one of the tests in IELTS Academic is a verbal description of the schedule. How many words do you know in English for graphics behavior? up / down / rise? In addition, IELTS Academic is beginning to look closely at the applicability of formal speech and Idioms / Phrase verbs / regular statements - when it is possible, when it is not. Again, remind about the difference center / center, fall / autumn, apartment / flat and so on.

My mistakes

1. Little and wrong studied. For the first year, I thought that homework for an IT person was not necessary — it was not. In Russian IT, very little is written “in general,” and even more so in English. In English, for a good score at the exam, correct written language is important - adherence to the times, correct use of articles, the very structure of the text.
Moreover, you need not just the observance of time, but the conscious use of complex forms of time, conditional, and so on.

2. Regularity. Practice shows that it is necessary to engage in every day, for a half to two hours. This is the time of classes, and not of passing movies, music, and so on.

3. Excessive trust in different software. There are some good, really good programs (polyglot 16, lingualo, learn and play english, I myself wrote a program for android with a dictionary on topics and irregular verbs). There are records like Pimsleur English for Russian Speakers and similar ones, they are very helpful in the early stages when you have to remove the fear of conversation. There is a beloved cartoon by many about the watch eater.

You can take any book or subtitles and do it like this:

grep -vP "^\d|^\s*$"|sed 's|[\,\.\(\)\?\"\:\!\r]||g'|awk '{print tolower($0)}'|sed 's|<\/*[bi]>||g'|sed 's| |\n|g'|sort -u >Alice.eng.words.txt 

But they do not replace the writing of mini-compositions every day, and conversational practice.

Work schedule and motivation

In the day 24 hours. An average working day is 8 working hours plus lunch. From an hour to one and a half (from someone two) takes the road in one direction. Total -3. You should sleep at least 8 hours. Total - 9 + 3 + 8, already 20.

You also need to get to the training center, learn, get home, housework and homework, and when to live? There is a risk to fall into the noulayf, so it is very important to correctly assess your work schedule and free time before starting the process.

Motivation. Again, before starting a serious study, you need to understand why it is needed, what time frame, what price it will cost, is it not easier to go out and buy bitcoins (here, of course, the appearance in the comments of the main expert on crypt, learning and so on, a recent visitor to the pizza club).

The opinion of the team during the preliminary discussion


YouTube video in English on topics of interest. You can turn on subtitles, they are almost everywhere there are automatically generated. You can slow down the video through shift- <, to have time to make out the words.

I agree. At first, and at the second stage (when it becomes easier) there is a great exercise - let's take a video, say from Channel9 -
Case of the unexplained: Windows troubleshooting with Mark Russinovich and trying to record subtitles. Then we verify with automatically generated, correct.

There is another option - discs are attached to textbooks, on video discs like
British stereotypes
The Old Operating Theater with Mark Pilkington

There and language is simpler, and the pronunciation of RP (Received Pronunciation)

As for slowing down listening, there is BBC Slow Radio , which also helps a lot.

Personally, I helped:

- Reading hockey analytics on Anglo sites about the NHL. The vocabulary is not the richest, but every day there are new polybukas.
- I sometimes hack at one small biathlon forum. The most multi-books there are written by me and another Russian, so, I suspect, I'm not the only one so clever.
- 100,500 artists, mostly fantasy, of course, to be honest, borrowed from a one-legged parrot. It is read fairly easily (in this regard, some Maugham is too heavy, with the incommensurable quality of the language, of course) - and due to the quantity it turns into quality.
- Well, I have a cheat in the form of a head office in a state where everything is big, and they need to write reports, convince, hack and all that. But here is the principle of chicken and eggs - as long as you do not plow in the Anglo-Saxons, English is not so critical for you, but as you begin to plow, you have daily training.

Also completely agree.

Reading news or something modern like Baa Baa Black Sheep (Gregory Pappy Boyington) or MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL (Larry Correia) is much easier than The Fringes of the Fleet (Rudyard Kipling).


1. You can learn English, at any age and from any starting level.
2. Silver bullet and no universal pill
3. Time will leave uuuuuu.
4. Short-term (shock, forced) courses are useless in the absence of a base.

Oh yes.

What came of it

Nothing yet - now I have gone to prepare for one of the exams, the deadline for the courses is March. Then the exam. If not banned, as recently banned on the Habré - I will write psto. Or not.


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