Students often tell us they struggle with finding useful resources for self-study – and fair enough, there’s a lot of stuff out there – some of it great, some of it not so much. To help solve this problem, we’ve put together a list of eight of the best English for Academic Purposes self-study courses and practice resources. Some of these cover all four key skills (i.e., reading, writing, listening, and speaking) as well as things like study skills. Others focus more exclusively on writing – these have been included as it’s the skill we get asked about the most. We hope you find this useful!
UEFAP is one of the best known online EAP resource platforms worldwide. Seriously – our teachers have seen this referenced when teaching in countries all over the world. UEFAP covers all the core language skills but the best part about it is its price – it’s free. Now, as good as the price of the website is, having been around since 1999 it’s almost definitely the oldest EAP resource website out there. Happily though, there’s a lot of stuff out there now that’s much better designed and user-friendly– not least this awesome website.
A lot newer than UEFAP, Academic English UK offers a range of different resources for both students and teachers. Unlike UEFAP it’s not free (charging $15 USD for a one-month ‘listening skills’ membership) but one thing they do well is they give sample lessons and activities to give students an idea of what they offer – as such, it’s a blend between reference resource and online course. With nearly 5000 followers on social media, they must be doing something right.
This free course mostly focuses on Academic English Writing but also touches on speaking, reading, even planning your studies. The course is ideal if you’re an English learner who is planning to go to university/college soon – or even if you’re already there and just need some support. Lastly, the community looks strong – with over 5000 students involved in the course, there’ll be plenty of opportunity to meet other English language students.
We couldn’t not mention the Open University. With over 10,000 students living outside the UK studying with them, they have an interesting teaching and study model. A combination of independent and tutor-led study, it aims to develop your academic reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Two problems – price and availability. Regarding price, previous versions of this course have charged over $1800 USD so that’s a potential factor. The second potential issue is that enrolments are closed until the course next starts in October 2019. That said, some universities accept OU credits as counting towards your degree so it could well be an option worth considering.
Developed by teachers at the University of California, Irvine as a three month, six hours per week “specialisation” – this bundle of five courses will reportedly help you write a fantastic research paper for a university college course. You can access all five courses for $310 or pay $68 per course – financial assistance is also apparently available.
The Purdue OWL is a pretty thorough (and free) guide to academic writing. They do cover a lot of different stuff and there are some practice activities so that’s good (although it’s not interactive, so…). That said, the biggest issue students tell us they have with the materials there is the language they use can be quite difficult to follow – written more for a native speaker (or very, very strong student).
Academic Writing at the University of Edinburgh (Advanced – i.e., PhD level)
This free, open-access course is all about writing an advanced research paper. Intended for students with a higher level of English, it’s potentially a useful resource if you’re planning on writing (or preparing to write) a thesis in English. Some of our staff have worked at Edinburgh University and we happen to think they’re generally pretty good – with a ranking of 18th in the world in 2018, we’re not the only ones.
Obviously we’re biased but we like to think we left the best for last. Our staff are world-class with decades of teaching and curriculum writing experience at some of the best universities in the world. That experience has led to understand the importance of engaging, interactive lessons with clear explanations, examples, and models – something we include in all of our lessons. Our Academic Skills and Language Package has 30+ lessons (over five hours) of unique instruction and we’re continually developing new lessons – if there’s something that you think we’ve missed or you want us to develop – just let us know. And best of all – we’re going to be running a series of ‘back to class’ discounts over the next couple of weeks so watch this space!
We hope this has been useful for you! As always though, we’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments – write us a post below. Or follow us on Facebook. Or if you have a question or a topic that you’d like us to write a blog post (or even better – a full lesson) about – email us!