A lot of high schoolers struggle with English as their Home and First Additional language. Whether it’s the language, grammar and comprehension, the creative writing, or literature part that you’re having trouble with — there are ways you can improve. Here are just a few.

Have a positive attitude

The truth is, you’re going to need comprehension, grammar and writing skills for the rest of your life. You’re going to have to complete tests and assignments in English at university, create cover letters and fill in job applications after that, and then write emails to your colleagues and superiors once you’re working. You can’t exactly afford to dismiss grammar as unimportant or allow yourself to get bad grades. So, you first need to tell yourself that you’re capable of getting great English marks and be willing to do the work.

Read more

Reading doesn’t just help you expand your vocabulary, it’s also an effective tool for learning grammar and getting better at those tricky comprehension tasks. Reading allows you to develop a more nuanced understanding of written and spoken language as well as the ability to pick up linguistic devices like tone, register and figures of speech. The more you read, the more natural it feels to see and use certain words and phrases and the more comfortable you’ll become with reading, writing and breaking down more complex sentences. You want to be able to produce writing that’s interesting and easy to read, without being too simple or unclear because of a limited vocabulary or poor command of the English language.

Make use of online resources

There are tons of reliable websites that you can use to help you with all the different parts of your English curriculum. Here are some examples:

English Literature

Shmoop and Sparknotes

These websites provide literary analyses for a variety of popular English texts — from Shakespeare to George Orwell. They also explain the different devices used to analyse literature such as tone, voice and register. These are great to use together with your prescribed study guide to give you a better understanding of these devices and help you analyse your set-works more effectively.

Language and writing

English Club and Purdue Online Writing Lab

While English Club focuses a lot on people who are learning English as a second language, it does have useful tools, tips and quizzes to help you with your parts of speech, vocab and general grammar. Purdue Online Writing Lab, on the other hand, offers writing tools as well as articles and short tasks that give you a better understanding of English grammar. Used together with your study guide and textbooks, these tools can come in very handy.

Don’t be afraid to ask teachers for help

If you’re having trouble with a particular part of your English curriculum, it’s always a good idea to talk to your teacher and see if you can work through this section together. You can also talk to any of your peers who are doing well at the subject and ask them to edit parts of your essays and give you feedback.

There you have it — all the help you need to get you started on your goal to improve your English marks. Got any questions for us on this topic? You can always ask CellCgirl!

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