Session 1

Are you working towards an important exam? We're here to help with a series of videos that pick out some top tips for studying and taking exams.

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Exam skills: 6 tips for building confidence

Our confidence affects our ability to learn

How much and how effectively we learn can depend on how confident we feel about our abilities. Language learning is a journey and losing self-confidence along the way can happen to many students.  Watch this video to see our six top tips to help you build your self-confidence when learning to use English - then afterwards test your understanding in our quiz.

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How much and how effectively we learn can depend on how confident we feel about our abilities. Language learning is a journey and losing your self-confidence along the way can happen to many students.  Just listen to this…

When I had to learn English as an adult for my job, I didn't think I would ever be able to remember all the vocabulary, spellings, tenses – let alone have a conversation. I didn't look forward to those classes at all.

Hopefully our top tips for building your confidence will help you enjoy and improve learning English. To begin with, remember that it takes time to learn a new language. Speak to your teacher to make sure that any goals you set yourself are realistic. Don't be put off by other students who appear to be self-confident.

Remember that everyone finds learning difficult at one time or another; it's just that they may be better at hiding it than you! Also, don’t forget that some people don’t mind making mistakes and because of this they don't allow mistakes to affect their confidence.

Don't worry about getting things wrong or failing in public. Just give it a go! Be supportive of others and they will do the same for you. Making mistakes can actually help you learn. In fact, some people actually ask others to point out their language mistakes so that they can learn more.

If you're making slow progress in your learning, think about what's causing it. Are other things not related to studying distracting you? – sort these out and you might find it easier to learn.

Of course, if you're lacking confidence in your studies, it's a good idea to share your concerns with someone else – so talk to a friend or your teacher – they may have some good advice.

And finally, look back on what you have achieved so far. You might be surprised at what you already know – and that will boost your confidence. Believe in yourself and don't give up! Good luck!


Did you like that? Why not try these?

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Here's a summary of our tips about building your confidence:

1. Set yourself realistic goals

2. Don't compare your self-confidence with others

3. Give it a go – failing is ok!

4. Get rid of other distractions

5. Talk about it

6. Reflect on your achievements

To do

So what did you discover? Find out by taking our test…

Building your confidence – how can you help yourself?

4 Questions

Answer these 4 questions.

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You can get more tips about generally building your self-confidence here.

Listen to this BBC Learning English programme about how quickly you can learn English.

Have you got any tips about learning strategies and exam preparation that you can share with us? Please email them to us at including the words 'exam skills' in the subject line of the email. We will post our favourites here and on our Facebook page. Please note that we can’t reply to individual emails but we do read all of them.

End of Session 1

Join us in Session 2 for News Review, where Neil and Catherine discuss messaging apps and show you how to use language from the latest news stories in your everyday English. Should governments be able to read what people write in their private messages?

Session Vocabulary

  • realistic
    accepting what can be achieved

    giving encouragement

    making someone stop giving their full attention to something

    help improve or become more successful