Exam skills: 6 tips about learning from mistakes

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BBC Learning English
Published at : 12 Dec 2020
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Making mistakes is normal. When you're learning anything new, you're bound to make mistakes – and this is true when learning English. But there are different types of mistakes and how you deal with them depends on the type of error you've made.

Watch this video to find out six top tips to help you learn from your mistakes. Then visit our website and test your understanding in our quiz: http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/course/english-you-need/unit-22/session-1

[Images: Getty Images]

Transcript
Rob
When you're learning anything new, you're bound to make mistakes – and this is true when learning English. But there are different types of mistakes and how you deal with them depends on the type of error you've made. Listen to our top tips to help you out…

Some mistakes are just slips. In speaking, these might not matter so much, you can self-correct or just continue speaking in most situations. In writing, you should proofread your work and look out for the typical slips and mistakes you make and correct them.

However some slips might be more serious because they seem so normal to you that you forget that you've made them. You need to be careful with these. To start with you need to recognise when you’ve made this type of mistake. If you’re unsure, get a teacher or a friend to listen or read your work and identify where you've gone wrong.

Other types of mistake are those that you make when you are trying out the new language you have learned. It's normal to get a few things wrong. In fact, the only way you can improve your language level overall is to make these mistakes again and again! Just get help if you need it and don't let making mistakes stop you from learning English. This student agrees…

Student
I think the best way to learn English is doing it without any fear for making mistakes!

Rob
Next, keep a record of your mistakes – either by writing them in a book or making a recording of you speaking. You then have a list of errors to concentrate on. And later on, it's good to look back at this and see how you've improved.

If you're making lots of mistakes, don't panic - it means you are learning lots of new language! Try to deal with correcting errors in a manageable way – bit by bit. Set yourself achievable goals to improve your English step by step.

A final type of mistake is one you might make when you are trying to say or write something, but you haven’t learned the language to do so yet. Don’t worry - these are great mistakes! They help you identify language you need to learn. You can then use these gaps to plan your studies or to make questions to ask your teacher.

Just remember we all make mistakes - it's normal. But as long you learn from your mistakes or use them to improve your learning, you'll be fine. Good luck!
howtospeak

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