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Language and study skills

Academic English

How to improve your academic English skills.

To develop your language skills for your academic tasks visit our advice pages for improving reading, writing, listening, speaking, vocabulary and grammar.

How to develop your academic English

Remember, your tutors are here to guide you, but you'll need to do the work steadily every week.

Most of your study time is not in lectures and tutorials. It’s private study, alone. You need to make a study plan for this private time.

You need to work every week if you want to pass your assignments, not just for a few days.

You’re learning how to do new things, so you might need help. This is normal. You will do better if you ask for help. Our job is to help you. 

Preparing for lectures

There is usually a new reading and discussion topic every week. The lecture is an introduction to the new topic. 

To benefit the most from your lectures, try to do the following:

  • Find and read a very short, basic introduction to the topic. Use it to learn key ideas and vocabulary.
  • Print the Powerpoint before the lecture. Write your notes, translations and questions on it.
  • Take the Powerpoint to the lecture or online lesson. Write more notes and your questions on it.
  • Use the reading list, plus tutorials and seminars, to understand more about the topic.
  • Do all this before you try to do the assignment. 

Preparing for assignments and essays

Use the following guide to help you prepare for assignments and essays.

 Task
Week 1

Understand the question and how your assignment must be submitted.

Plan your work for the assignment.

Find sources about the assignment topic.

Weeks 2 to 3

Make notes about things which will help for this assignment.

Think about what extra sources you need. Get them as soon as possible.

Weeks 4 to 5 Read and make notes from the extra sources you have found.
Weeks 6 to 8

Plan your answer using notes from your reading and classes. Do more reading if necessary.

Write a draft answer and get feedback on it. Make sure you understand the feedback.

Week 9 Use the feedback you've received to write a new, better draft.
Week 10

Check and edit draft two.

Submit your assignment to your tutor.

If you have computer or IT problems you can ask for help and learn how to use our systems and software on our Digital resources and support pages

Useful resources

The resources below can help you with your academic skills:

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