August 11, 2021 , by Dr Julian Northbrook

When you’re a beginner you’ll see real progress fast.

And this is simply because you know nothing at the beginning.

Let’s say you only know two English words and then you managed to learn two more English words. That’s already double your original English knowledge! And that’s huge.

But learning English (as in any other language) is exponential.

And by this, I mean we can compare it with earthquakes. You see, the difference between a magnitude 1 and a magnitude 2 is a little bit big… but the difference between magnitudes 5 and 6 is much, much bigger. And the difference between a 7 and 8 is insanely big. And similar to this analogy, the difference in the amount of work you have to do to improve gets bigger and bigger the further you progress, so while the difference between absolute-beginner and low-beginner isn’t very big… the difference between intermediate and advanced is enormous.

Naturally, you’re going to actively stop noticing progress as you go along the way. But it doesn’t mean you’re not progressing at all. Kind of like when you were younger, you never noticed how tall you’ve gotten… but it doesn’t mean you didn’t grow any taller.

So don’t worry too much about this.

A much better approach is to track actions taken, not proficiency gained.

This is one of the things I teach my clients (go here if you’re interested in this).

Hope that helps.

Dr Julian Northbrook

July 12, 2021 , by Dr Julian Northbrook

If you’re trying to improve your level and you’re only listening to podcasts, of course, it’s not going to do much to improve your English at all.

And the reason why is because listening to podcasts is just passive exposure. And passive exposure is not going to improve your English much, especially if your English is already at a higher level.

Here’s an extract:

What you need to do is:

  1. Put intensive study into your English every day
  2. and in addition, use English extensively (i.e. passive exposure).

You see, when you study, you’re actually opening the door for passive exposure (i.e., podcasts in this case) to let it do its job. Once you’ve studied something, passive exposure can make it fluent.

But ONLY passive exposure will not help you grow your English.

It’s extremely ineffective, especially if your English is already at a higher level.

Let’s put it this way:

Think of passive exposure as droplets of water. If you put droplets of water in a tiny puddle, it gets bigger quickly. So you learn more if you don’t have much knowledge of English yet. But if you put droplets of water into the ocean, it’s not going to add anything much since the ocean is already big. This goes the same as when you already have a lot of knowledge of English. The better you get, the less any word or chunk has an impact on your English because your knowledge of English is just bigger.

For most people, the fastest way to improve in English is this balance of study and exposure, or what I call the “Two Track Approach”.

If you want to learn more about this method and how to do it, go here and study the free training.

Hope that helps.

Dr Julian Northbrook