What are your plans for today?
Think about the answer to the above question in English. Are you facing difficulty expressing your ideas in English? Are you taking a lot of pauses and facing hesitations while answering this question?
If you’re not a native English speaker, chances are you will think about the answer in your mother tongue, whether consciously or subconsciously. All of us do so when we learn the English language as non-native English speakers. But if you’re preparing for the IELTS test, either for the ‘Academic Test’ or the ‘General Training Test’, you must follow one rule – ‘Train Yourself to Think in English’.
IELTS candidates preparing for their exam often say – “It’s too difficult for them to think in English and speak naturally. They don’t know enough English words! However, the problem arises when you think in your native language and then speak in English. The sentences often come out incorrect or unnatural when you translate from your native language to English. Here is why you should start thinking in English:
- When your mind thinks in your native language and you try to speak in English, your speech might be slower than you would like.
- English, like every other language, has its own sentence structure and grammar rules. Translating from another language results in sentences that are not correct in English.
- Thinking in a different language and then translating it into English affects your ability to speak fast and fluently.
- Thinking in English is an excellent way to build your vocabulary. You need strong vocabulary in your IELTS Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing tests.
How to Train Yourself to Think in English
1. Start with single words, then learn phrases
When you wake up in the morning, look around yourself. Think about different objects and say their names in English. During the day, continue to think of the individual English words for everything you see, hear, and do.
2. Start thinking in sentences
Once you have practiced learning single words and phrases, start making small English sentences in your mind. Start using the words and phrases you learned as soon as possible. Don’t wait until your language is perfect, you will be waiting forever! If you’re sitting in a park and see boys playing sports, think it in your mind – “Boys are playing sports in the park.” When thinking about simple sentences becomes easy, move on to more difficult sentences.
3. Talk to yourself in English
When you’re done with all your work, start a conversation with yourself. Stand in front of a mirror and start talking about how was your day, what you did, and what you plan to do the next day. Don’t cheat or think in your native language before speaking. Just think about everything in English and say it aloud. If you’re not comfortable talking to yourself, then write about all the details that happened with you in a day in a diary or journal.
4. Practice functional and narrative English
Think of any real-life situation like buying a train ticket, booking a movie ticket, etc. Think of how you would say that in English to a receptionist or any person. This will help you develop the ability to use English in any everyday situation. Now, to build your narrative English, think of a memory or a story that you would like to tell an English-speaking person. Whenever you get time, think of the story in English. Then you can talk to yourself or write down the story in a diary at the end of the day just like you would have a conversation with a real person.
5. Always use an English to English dictionary
Every time you need to find the meaning of an English word, use an English to English dictionary. The less you translate, the easier it will become to just think in English. Make sure to do this in your daily life whenever possible.
Thinking in English would not only enable you to learn much faster than you can imagine, but it helps you build a strong vocabulary, clear pronunciation, and listening skills. The key is to follow the aforementioned tips and think positively and stay motivated!
Once you’re ready to take your IELTS test, you can book your test date at the IELTS AOLCC website. You can book any available test dates for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests at IELTS Test Centres in London, Brampton, Kingston, and Mississauga. IELTS AOLCC provides test takers with wireless headphones at all the test venues. IELTS on Paper is available at selected centres only. Don’t forget to book your test day in advance.