“I don’t have enough time.”
This is one of the most common problems students face. It’s interesting, though, that almost everyone says this. We have met students who do 3 jobs, have young children, and have to study for a test. We have also met students who may have finished their Masters and now simply have to achieve a score in IELTS, TOEFL, PTE or OET. Both of these types of students say they don’t have enough time. It’s clear who has more time. My point is that ‘having time’ is often a matter of perception and priorities.
We all have 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Assuming you sleep for 8 hours (many of us only need 6) a day that leaves 16 hours. That is a long time every day to work, study and be an active member of a family. So, we should first ask ourselves how long do I need to ‘study’ every day? My suggestion would be 2 at the most, which might not seem like much. Actually, it depends what you are doing in those hours. Whenever I go into the local library, I am always amazed at the people studying as many of them have their heads on the table. What a waste of time! Yesterday I sat next to a Chinese boy with earphones in staring at a vocabulary book with a translated list of words – total waste of time. Quality over quantity, every time.
Make the time
You need to find the time; you need to schedule the time you DO have so that you can sit down and study. Personally, I work better early in the morning, so if I needed to study something as life changing as an English Proficiency test, I would get up at 5 am and do it. Some people like their bed too much. They don’t understand the cost of staying in bed until 7 or 8 am. Let’s say you have to get up at 5am for 3 months to find the time to study. Is it worth it? What are you willing to do to reach your goals? These are the questions you need to ask yourself. If you are not willing to challenge, and transform, yourself then why did you leave your country (if you have done that)? Why not stay at home and keep the same life? How much time could you find to study in a day, if you tried?
Learning not studying
You can learn almost anywhere. When you are making breakfast in the kitchen, you can be listening to a podcast to improve your listening skills. It’s the same in the car – listen to a high quality radio station – ABC National in Australia, for example. When you go for a walk to exercise, listen to your podcasts again. For your reading, notice and read everything you see. Read when you’re sitting on the throne (toilet). Be curious. Learning is an attitude and a habit, not a library and a teacher. In other words, you can learn all day long, if you make that choice. Ask yourself now, “How can I integrate learning into my day?” Remember the goal is to improve your language level.