Skip to content
RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

While you study


International students were asked how they developed their English while they were studying.


  • Read the recommended texts before your lecture or tutorial.
  • Re-read your notes after your lecture or tutorial.
  • Resources:

When I started at RMIT I couldn’t understand anything so it was really hard for me. So, I thought I’d better try and do something so I started preparing before a lecture or tutorial... things like I would read the textbook and look up new words ..and in this way I could understand and even be able to speak or ask a question. Usually I prepare for my lecture or tutorial by actually doing the readings and making up a couple of questions to ask so i know I always have something to say and I always make sure that I ask at least one question each time.


  • Write down unfamiliar words and their meanings to develop your vocabulary.
  • Take notes when you are studying and write summaries of the information.
  • Add to the blogs on Blackboard.
  • Resources:

Well, at first I would try and read the text book and I couldn’t understand anything there was so much new words new words ... it was terrible... so I started writing down new words but there were just too many .. but after a while I started to find that some words were used more than others and I realised that they were the more important words for that topic...and they were the ones I needed to remember.


  • Discuss your studies with others in English.
  • Contribute to class discussions.
  • Know what is going on in the world so you have something to say.
  • Resources:

Another thing I found really useful is to study with others so you can discuss the course content and it helps you to understand the topic better and improve your English at the same time. I think one thing is very useful in building up my confidence was to sit in the front row of the class. In that way, not only could I hear and understand better but when I spoke I didn’t feel so embarrassed because I didn’t have everyone look at me.


  • Ask your tutor to repeat something if you don't understand.

When I began my Uni I was so lost, and so… just so bad. As a first year student I didn’t understand anything, in the lecture, in the tutorial I don’t understand what the lecturer what the tutor was talking about and teaching about. It was a really hard time for me but I really wanted to get a good marks in this Uni because of as a first year student you know. But however when I receive the mark it was really bad and really low mark and I really unhappy and I asked the tutor what’s going on because I think I put a lot of effort and I studied really hard to get on with the order assignment but the tutor explained to me that um the essay or the assignment, it was great, it was creative, but however my English was….really turned the marks down, turned the assignment down so it was a really hard time. Then he, then the tutor suggest me to go to the Language Support class in my free time. When I went there, the staff was really nice, really kind, and I, they provide me a lot of comment on my essay, on my assignment. They understand what problem of like International Student.