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How to master academic English!
Posted On : May 28, 2017

How to master academic English!

YES! Achieving an appropriate level of academic English is crucial if you want to study an advanced degree in an English speaking country.

You probably have a good level already but remember that you need a command of academic English, not street English.

How do you know if your academic English is good enough?

It depends on your field of study. As I explain in more detail in the book, people from the social sciences need a very high level of English; while people from engineering fields and basic sciences can do it with less.

However, you need to be able to understand and communicate well with the jargon of your field. Find technical papers or research papers published in peer reviewed journals in your field; read them and see if you understand IN DETAIL. A simple test that you can give yourself consists of reading a technical paper or research article and later summarize or explain in English what you just read. Next, you can work on increasing your English vocabulary by learning roots of words and words associated with the same root such as, com, which means together, with, or joint. Words associated with this root include community, communal, commemorate, composition, and commune. Another way to put your academic English to the test is by determining how much you can write in a limited amount of time, such as 30 minutes. Can you take any topic and write at least a page in 30 minutes? The 30 minute allotment allows for you to organize your thoughts and get them written. Let me give you two topics to test your proficiency:

  • By 2030 it is estimated that 40% of jobs will be taken by robots. Whose job is safe, that of a car mechanic or a lawyer?
  • Youtube is transforming the world of learning. There are dozens of excellent videos about any topic you want to learn about. Therefore, are universities at risk of extinction?

Write as much as you can in 30 minutes. When you are able to write at least a page (or more), find a tutor, native English speaker or translator, and get your essay checked for content and grammar proficiency. If you cannot find somebody nearby, an alternative is fiverr.com or upwork.com. If you post a job on either of these websites, state that you want a native English speaker. The following is an example of a post, feel free to copy and paste:

I need to proof read my one-two pages, double-spaced, English essay. Looking for a native English speaker. I’ll pay you US$ X. I expect feed back in the form of change tracking in Microsoft Word.

X would vary according to your budget; but I would not pay more than $5-10. Take in consideration that you would do this only each time you want feed back. That is, at the very beginning when you want to know where you are, and after you have studied/practiced for say six months and want to measure your progress. Another alternative includes using online services such as the following:

PS: Are you aware of how many professionals with PHD are needed in your country? One easy way to figure this out is by considering that all  university professors should have a PhD. Is that the case in your school or university? Please write us at roberto@ingear.org.

Special thanks to Dr. Sharon de Marin.

Team Ingear truly believes that improving access to the best graduate education is key for achieving development. If you share this goal, help us!

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