The Art of Self-Examination

‘Examination’ can be a scary word – especially when you associate it with ‘exam time’ in high school or college. But when you’re testing yourself, it doesn’t have to feel so overwhelming. In fact, you probably do some form of self-examination every day without even knowing it.


There are many benefits to periodically taking the time to self-evaluate. It will help you to improve your English skills by mapping out how far you’ve come, what you’ve accomplished and where you still need to go. Here are a few more reasons why you should pick up the art of self-examination:

1. Self-Improvement

In order to improve, you need to look at your studies at face value. Are your current study methods working? Have you seen improvements? Maybe you notice there is something that needs improvement. View your studies as a symphony – there are many different components and instruments that result in a beautiful sound. If you notice something is sounding flat, or if something could sound better, examine each section of an orchestra, or your studies, and see what needs to be added or taken away.


2. Flexibility

Okay, so you figured out that there’s something that needs adjustment. Now is your time to really prove whether you can be flexible enough to adjust your study techniques. Maybe you are convinced that the traditional textbook is the best way to learn English, but you notice your pronunciation is lacking. Are you going to incorporate other methods into your study routine?


3. Ability to Focus

When you take a look at your work, you begin to focus on the outcome. Think about what you would like to see as an outcome. Is it to be completely fluent in English? Or, to move to an English speaking country? When you examine your studies, you’ll be focused on your final outcome, and therefore do whatever is necessary to reach that outcome.

4. Accepting Criticism & Giving Criticism

It can be difficult to accept criticism from other people, but all too often, we can be our own worst critic. So how can you counsel yourself, without being too harsh? First of all, don’t compare yourself to others. As Franklin Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy“. When you compare yourself to others, you’re insulting yourself. You have made many personal achievements that you should be proud of. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, and you cannot compare the learning journey of two completely different people. You also need to stop talking or even thinking negatively. If you wouldn’t say it to your friend, don’t say it to yourself. There are probably many things you could work on (as we all do), but that doesn’t allow negativity into your studies. Instead of saying, “I’m no good at this… I should just give up…” try saying, “I didn’t do very well. That’s alright! I wonder what I can do to improve.” If you continue to examine yourself and view setbacks as an opportunity for growth, you will always see improvements in your English studies.


5. Understanding

When we take the time to examine ourselves, we ultimately get to know ourselves better. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? How can you improve upon your weaknesses? When you know yourself, you’re able to help yourself. You will know, specifically, what can help with your studies.

Personal evaluation is just that: personal. Find a way to examine yourself in a positive light that leaves you feeling motivated to keep growing. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But I’m sure along the way, they stopped to examine themselves to see if there was a better way to get things done. Similarly, learning a language takes time.  Stopping to examine yourself every once in awhile doesn’t mean you’re a failure. In fact, you’ll become even more successful and see greater improvements  if you continue to evaluate yourself.



3 thoughts on “The Art of Self-Examination

  1. I think it’s great to get students to self-evaluate. I normally do at the start of a course, then after exams, but I’d like time to do it some more. I’d also like to do it with my own learning of Spanish, maybe then I’ll realise how little I’m improving! Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

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