Lesson Transcript

Hey everyone, welcome to The Monthly Review, the monthly show on language learning, where you discover new learning strategies, motivational tips, study tools, and resources.
By the way, all the lessons and bonuses you're about to see can be downloaded for free on our website.
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Okay, today's topic is testing and assessment, a brutally honest way to improve your language.
Are you learning a language on your own and not making any meaningful progress? Well, you may not like hearing this, but there's a good chance that you're taking it too easy with how you're learning.
Now, taking it easy is not bad, but when you're looking to boost your progress and actually master a language and you're no longer satisfied, something needs to change.
And an outside motivator, like a test, can and will fire you up to get better.
How? Come around today and you'll discover why tests are crucial for language progress, even if you hate them, four ways you can put yourself and your language to the test, and much more.
But first, if you're looking for new free language resources and downloads, here are this month's new lessons and resources.
Be sure to download these now before we take them down in a few days.
First, the 50 Most Common Verbs PDF Worksheet.
Do you know all of these verbs? If not, this PDF writing worksheet will help you master the 50 most common verbs fast.
And second, the Sports and Exercise Conversation cheatsheet.
You'll learn to talk about your favorite sports and all about making gains in the gym with this PDF conversation cheatsheet.
To get your free resources, click the link in the description below right now.
They're yours to keep forever. Now to today's topic.
Learning an assessment, a brutally honest way to improve your language.
If you're learning a language on your own, do you ever feel like you're just coasting through without making real progress? Maybe you're playing vocabulary games with an app and keeping your streak.
Or you're watching videos by your favorite language YouTubers.
But when it comes down to it, you can't speak or keep up with conversations in your target language.
Well, then it's very possible that you're taking it a bit too easy.
So what should you do? Why tests are crucial for language progress.
Every year, millions of people sign up for language proficiency tests.
You might have heard of these tests as well.
There's the JLPT for Japanese, the TOPIK for Korean, DELF for French, HSK for Chinese, and the TOEFL for English.
They're not doing this for school.
They don't have to do this.
They can just easily stay at home, sleep in, avoid discomfort, and continue playing vocabulary games.
But millions sign up on their own anyway, every year.
They prepare for months.
They wake up early on the day of the test and go through the pain of taking a test.
Now of course, there are some benefits to passing.
For example, some jobs will require proof of proficiency, which makes these tests so important.
But aside from that, tests are also important learning tools for two reasons.
First, tests give you an honest assessment of your language skills.
And second, for motivation.
But let's break these down in full.
So if you've ever enrolled in a language school or taken a language class, you have to take a placement test.
Based on your results, the teachers see where you stand and place you into an appropriate class so you can learn what's appropriate for your level.
Plus there's ongoing assessment, like weekly quizzes and tests every month.
So what's the big deal about tests and quizzes? Even if you don't like tests, tests give you an honest assessment of your language skills in specific ways.
If you failed the listening part, you know your weakness is there.
If you forgot a grammar pattern, now you know you need to practice it more.
But if you never put your language to the test, you never know.
You may not even know the mistakes you're making right now.
You don't know what pieces you might be missing.
But tests give you an opportunity to check your actual language skills, and they give you a brutal reality check.
Now the second benefit of tests is motivation.
Think about it. As a self-learner, no one else is going to push you to do your best.
You're not in school. Practice is your own goal.
And if you're like most people, you're going to take it easy on yourself.
So when you're wondering why you're not fluent yet, but you've been coasting along, learning words here and there, without actually testing your limits, well, that's the thing.
You haven't been actually testing yourself and pushing yourself at all.
And that's what tests do.
They give you that challenge, that urgency to improve, that motivation.
There's a specific date and time of the test.
You have to be ready by that deadline.
Just think back to a night before a test.
When you felt the urgency back then, you were motivated to pass.
So this is exactly why a lot of self-learners take a proficiency test.
It gives them something to aim for, something to be motivated about, something to achieve.
Now tests are not the complete answer to language learning, but they do give you a way to assess yourself and give you a challenge.
So what can you do as a self-learner? Part two, how you can put yourself to the test.
But first, before you worry about failing, it's not about passing or failing.
This is about getting an honest assessment of your progress.
Now the first and most obvious thing you can do is sign up for a language proficiency test.
There are many kinds of proficiency tests available, so you can pick the right one for you.
By signing up, you now have the added pressure and motivation to improve, something that's hard to do on your own.
The second way is, if you're following the learning pathway inside our program, you automatically get tested after every few lessons with multiple choice and teacher-graded assessments.
The third way is, learn with a teacher, whether it's our premium plus program, our live group classes, or your own teacher, because the ultimate test of your language is when you actually have to speak to a native speaker.
And with a native speaking teacher, they can easily assess your language, tell you what you got wrong, and how to improve.
The fourth way is to test yourself with a harder lesson inside our program.
Think of it as trying to lift a heavier weight at the gym to see if you can do it.
You can do this for reading, speaking, and listening.
Simply go to a higher level, like intermediate or advanced, and try a lesson.
With reading, you can also try our higher level, extensive reading books.
Again, remember, with all of this, the goal here is not a pass or fail result.
The goal is to get an honest assessment of your language skills, what you know and what you don't know.
If you realize that you're mispronouncing a certain word, now you know how to correct it.
If you can only understand 50% of a lesson, well, that means you should review it until you get to 100%.
If you don't understand a lesson dialogue at all, which is where most people get intimidated, make it a goal to master the dialogue.
Give yourself a goal to aim for.
And if you can't read as smoothly as you had hoped, all it means is that you should give it a few more tries until you're better.
Thank you for watching this episode of Monthly Review.
Next time, we'll talk about new topics and talking points, the easiest way to increase your speaking time.
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See you next time. Bye!