Study skills

Academic Community of Excellence (ACE)

QA has a team dedicated to supporting and guiding you through your studies. This short video explains the ways in which the ACE team can help you, such as delivering one to one academic tutorials on subjects including how to write in an academic style, how to use sources in your assignments and think, read and write critically.

Check out and sign up for ACE workshops which cover topics such as Academic Vocabulary and Grammar, Writing Introductions, the Main Body and Conclusions, Reading Strategies, Digital Literacy and more.

In addition, you can find a wealth of guides and videos on the ACE page on your VLE.


Using English for Academic Purposes (UEfAP)

  • Blog for students in Higher Education.

  • Articles on the Harvard system of referencing, as well as on academic writing books, such as the 'Little Quick Fix' series.


  • English language and culture blog.

  • Articles on English learning resources and tips, as well as on English vocabulary and grammar.


Go The Distance: Academic Writing

  • Academic writing course provided by the BBC.

  • Topics include academic vocabulary, language of argument, written assignments, essay structure, criticism and evaluation, project presentations and writing for exams.

  • Activities and downloadable course content, along with videos from students and tutors on all aspects of writing in an academic context.

Academic Writing in English (AWE)

  • Interactive course on academic writing skills (working with sources, arguments, essay structure, writing style) provided by University College London (UCL).

  • Pop-up tasks and exercises.

  • Contains a glossary of key grammatical terms.

A Beginner's Guide to Writing in English for University Study

  • Free five-week online course provided by the University of Reading through FutureLearn.

  • Learn how to use English for study and develop your writing skills, vocabulary and grammar.

English for Academic Study

  • Free two-week online course provided by Coventry University through FutureLearn.

  • Increase your knowledge of English for academic study and learn key vocabulary in an academic context.


English Vocabulary Exercises

  • Exercises on the Academic Word List.

Exam English

  • Practice tests on the Academic Word List.

Oxford Academic Vocabulary Practice

  • Exercises on academic vocabulary by Oxford University Press, depending on your level (Lower-Intermediate or Upper-Intermediate).

  • The sections include vocabulary skills, analysis and evaluation, and functions in academic writing.

Prepare for success

  • Learning activities to prepare you for study in the UK compiled by the University of Southampton.

  • An interactive web learning tool containing learning resources which are activity-based.

  • Includes the subjects of academic writing at University, understanding course assignments and using what you read in your academic writing.


International Student Experience Journal

  • Online publication that links the everyday concerns of University staff and students with insights from related academic disciplines.

  • Contains student articles, such as 'Reflections on being a student: A home and international perspective', 'A foundation for writing the first academic essay' and 'Language learning and cultural integration over a cup of coffee'.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

  • Search for journals and articles on your subject.


The Learning Network (The New York Times)

  • Learn with the newspaper by reading articles in the 'Student Opinion' section.

  • Use the 'Picture Prompts' section as an inspiration to student writing, in order to 'build literacy skills, promote critical thinking'.

  • Activities for students.


English for Academic Study (EAS)

  • Series of student resources on writing, reading, listening, speaking, grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary.

  • Large number of links to the subjects above, including exercises.



Academic Phrasebank

  • Bank of academic phrases provided by the University of Manchester.

  • Provides examples of academic writing according to the main sections of a research paper.

  • Contains phrases that are useful in classifying and listing, comparing and contrasting, defining terms, describing trends and quantities, as well as referring to sources, describing methods, reporting results, discussing findings and writing conclusions.


Academic writing

  • Information on grammar (words, sentences, paragraphs) from the University of Reading.

  • Use the 'Thinking about grammar' section.

Grammar guides

  • Resources on grammar provided by the University of Leicester.

Grammar and punctuation

  • The University of Bristol's advice on grammar and punctuation, including exercises.

  • Sections on writing style, confusions in spellings and meanings, and the use of quoted material.


  • Application that checks grammar and vocabulary.


Oxford Dictionary

Cambridge Dictionary


  • Synonyms and antonyms


Cite this for me

  • Software that creates references in various citation styles and for different source types.



  • Free online proofreader offering grammar, spelling and plagiarism check, along with writing suggestions.


Go The Distance: Study Skills

  • Video series by the BBC on topics, such as reading difficult texts, preparing for assignments, using sources and thinking critically.

Academic Writing: The Basics

  • YouTube video: introduction to academic writing by Simon Fraser University.

An Introduction to Academic Writing

  • YouTube video: features of academic writing by AWUC (Academic Writing University Center).

Critical writing

  • YouTube video: how to demonstrate that you are reading and thinking critically in your writing by the University of Hull.


Using English for Academic Purposes (UEfAP)

  • Website from Andy Gillett, the author of 'Successful academic writing'.

  • Academic writing is described in easy-to-use sections, such as plagiarism, reporting, references, citation, grammar and vocabulary.

  • Exercises on writing academically.

Academic English UK (AEUK)

  • Website on academic English (writing, reading, speaking, grammar, vocabulary).

  • Free downloadable articles on academic writing, critical thinking, reading and research skills.

  • Includes the Academic Word List (AWL), a list of 570 word families, which appear frequently in academic texts. It is divided into 10 sublists, with the most frequent words in the first sublist.

  • The AEUK blog provides articles on paragraph analysis, noun phrases, collocation, cohesion and parallelism.

Academic writing

  • Definition and characteristics of academic writing provided by the University of Leeds.

  • Tutorials on interpreting your assignment and synthesising.

  • Also find advice on essay, reflective and scientific writing.

  • The 'Academic skills' topic comprises sections on critical thinking, digital skills, planning your assignment and searching for information.


  • Website on EAP (English for Academic Purposes).

  • Consists of sections on academic writing, reading, speaking, listening, vocabulary and study skills.

  • Contains videos and podcasts.

Academic Skills Advice

  • In the 'Writing' section, under the 'Understanding Academic Terms' topic, look for the Glossary of Academic Terms. It is a list of academic terms and their definitions provided by the University of Hertfordshire.

  • ''It will help you decipher 'academic speak' so that you know exactly what you are being asked to do in your assignments'', according to the website.

  • In the 'Improving your writing' topic of the same section, find PDFs, e-journals and e-learning resources on writing skills, such as video tutorials on academic writing, critical analysis and reflection.

Strategies for Essay Writing

  • Information on the aspects of writing an academic essay by Harvard University.

How to Write an Essay