The 101 Best Websites For ESL Students in 2016

by Brendan Brown | June 28, 2023, 2:17 pm

The Internet is full of resources for English language learners at the university level.

However, the problem lies in which material is valuable and which isn’t. Like with any topic, the internet’s a mix bag. There’s amazing materials for ESL students and also material that could prove detrimental to your learning.

If you’re heading off to university or already studying, you don’t have time to surf the net in the hope of finding valuable websites.

This is why we’ve created this helpful list of the 101 best websites for ESL students.

The list is divided into logical sections, including:

  • Grammar and Usage
  • Grammar Check
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Speaking
  • Pronunciation
  • Vocabulary
  • Listening
  • Academic Skills
  • Dictionaries
  • General Academic Research

This compilation of websites will blow your mind, and of course improve your English at the same time.

Table of Contents

Grammar and Usage

Learning grammar is probably one of the most frustrating things for any language learner. It doesn’t matter whether you’re learning English or learning German – there always seems to be a million rules and exceptions to get your head around.

From tenses to propositions, here are some of the best ESL grammar sites to improve your grammar.

(1) a4esl

If you’ve already learned the English grammar basics and just want to review grammar, this website is perfect with easy to moderate self-access grammar activities. There are numerous interactive quizzes to choose from, such as articles and word choice. With this site, you won’t run out of ESL grammar materials any time soon.

(2) English Club

English Club’s grammar pages for ESL learners are some of the best on the web. They are broken down into easy manageable topics that cover all aspects of English grammar and usage.

And if you’re really stuck, you can always get your own personal English grammar help for free from their grammar help desk. How awesome is that?

(3) Using English

Imagine falling upon what seems like an endless list of specific grammar points to help you understand and practice the areas of English grammar you don’t understand. That’s exactly what you’ll find at Using English. Practice the activities online or print them off, the choice is yours.

But one thing is guaranteed, you’ll soon know the difference between an adjective and an adverb and the difference between the past simple and the past perfect!

(4) Grammar Quizzes

Grammar Quizzes is not your average ESL grammar site. If you’re looking to practice real English with a realistic meaningful context, this grammar website will give you a range of realistic everyday scenarios using a specific grammar point. This will make the learning experience that much more enjoyable and valuable.

(5) 5-Minute English

Do you need a quick answer without spending too much time trawling the hundreds of grammar websites out there? 5-Minute English breaks everything down into easy-to-understand bite size pieces. See the English grammar in use with carefully colour-coded examples, and then practice what you’ve learnt with a quick English grammar quiz at the end.

(6) Edu Find

Test your English grammar. How good are you? And then brush up on your grammar skills by studying specific English grammar guides. Broken down into themes, you’ll never make an English grammar mistake again.

(7) English Grammar Secrets

This grammar site’s number one advice about grammar is don’t get obsessed with it. It’s so easy to become engrossed in English grammar and usage you forget all the other aspects of learning a language. This is why this site has broken down the grammar into realistic learning sections.

Make your life easier by learning a little bit at a time with a few explanations and plenty of interactive grammar activities.

(8) English Grammar

As the name suggests this website covers the ins and outs of English grammar from basic prepositions to the complexities of English grammar needed in business writing.

(9) A Guide to Grammar and Writing

Hold your horses; this grammar site for university students is a real gem. With hundreds of grammar explanations, this website, specifically designed for academic students, is the ultimate A to Z grammar point of reference. You’ll be guided through every point from the adverb to the zero article.

(10) The Brief Penguin Handbook

If you’re looking for a quick go-to grammar reference, the Brief Penguin Handbook lives up to its name. This focuses on typical grammar errors of ESL students, and it even goes beyond that and offers some (brief) advice on how to improve your grammar in everyday situations.

(11) Grammar Girl

Get some quick and dirty grammar tips from a self-professed grammar queen. Not your average grammar site with lists of grammar terms and rules, the grammar girl has divided different grammar points into some funny and sometimes controversial topics.

For instance, find tips how to email your university professor to the downright confusing theme of apostrophe use.

(12) Common Errors in English Usage

There are a number of common errors that ESL learners make. If you can’t figure out why your tutor or professor has marked something as wrong, visit this thorough site and find the answer you’ve been looking for. You’ll never make the same mistake again.

Grammar Check

When you hand in your paper or research assignment at university, it needs to be free of simple language mistakes. So, before handing them in, remember to proofread your work and check for any grammar errors. The following websites will help you do that.

(13) Grammarly

Grammar 2

Have you written an essay or research assignment and want some help checking whether the grammar is correct? Microsoft Word is great when you make the obvious mistakes, but it inevitably misses a few. Ensure your grammar is perfect with this easy-to-use online grammar check that’s 100% free – it doesn’t get much better than that.

(14) Reverso

As well as being a translator and dictionary, Reverso is also a spell and grammar checker. Simply copy and paste your text into this fee online tool, and it will correct the sore of mistakes that Microsoft Word isn’t designed to.

And that’s not all. If you want an explanation of your grammar mistake in your thesis, say, this intelligent online grammar checker will give one. Thesis proofreading has never been easier.


Writing in English is one of the most difficult skills to master. If you’ve never had to write an academic piece before, this is a particular challenge. Refer to these writing sites and get the most authoritative writing tips available.

(15) Harvard College Writing Center

Grammar 3

You’ll be pleasantly surprised with what this comprehensive site offers you in terms of university and college writing. This covers everything from reading and comprehending the essay question correctly right from the start to the nitty-gritty writing and editing at the end.

The fact that the site’s associated with one of the world’s most prestigious universities is just an extra-added bonus.

(16) Daily Writing Tips

Are you a keen writer or do you want to perfect your academic English writing skills? Have no fear this fun site will help you get there. Forget about the mundane online writing lessons and read these helpful writing tips to take your writing to the next level…

(17) OWL Purdue

This is perhaps one of the most comprehensive academic writing sites available today. Here you’ll be able to brush up on your grammar skills, learn how to paraphrase properly, but most importantly learn about what plagiarism is and how it would affect you…the consequences are harsh, so it’s not worth it.

(18) About Education – Writing in English

It doesn’t matter what kind of writing you need to write, this thorough guide will show you how to write anything from a CV to a personal statement or an admissions essay to a detailed scientific report.

(19) LEO – Literacy Education Online

Of course you want your work to be logical and well presented. Of course you want to understand the essay question and answer it correctly. And of course you want to ensure that your university paper is plagiarism free. You can guarantee that your work will follow all the academic English rules when you follow this comprehensive writing guide for university students.

(20) Suffolk University Boston

APA, MLA, Chicago Manual Style…these are all terms you’re going to have to become familiar with when you want to cite your reference materials correctly and avoid plagiarism. On this site, you’ll find an abundance of resources that will take you through the motions when it comes to citing your work correctly.

Don’t forget to refer to your course manual or ask your tutor what citation style they require, because every subject’s different.

(21) Learn Higher

If you’re studying in the UK, you’ll need to abide by UK academic rules, which are of course slightly different to American expectations. Learn Higher has a plethora of valuable information, which will help you become a proficient writer and avoid all those rewrites. We love the easy layout and the interactive activities and MP3s that come with this site, and it’s all FREE!

(22) Edinburgh Napier

Do you have a report to write for university, but you’ve got no idea how to go about it? This easy to understand site explains everything in detail from what is a report to tips on how to edit and proofread it. This is one site that will help boost the credibility of your report and get you those greatly desired marks.

(23) RMIT University

Don’t let the fact that this is an Australian university put you off. Australians speak and use British English, and this is one site that’s not to be missed when it comes to invaluable writing tips for ESL university students.

Learn how to get started with simple brainstorming techniques and master the ins and outs of academic writing. The site also links you to a Careers Toolkit, which you’ll need as you near closer to finishing your degree. Learn how to write application letters in English and win over prospective employers in interviews.

(24) Re-Writing Basics

Become an incredibly talented writer by completing these writing exercises that increase in difficulty. Tick the boxes while you write by following the site’s comprehensive writing checklist, and if that’s not enough follow the step-by-step tutorial on how to avoid plagiarism and make your writing uniquely yours.


Reading is a big part of your studies, and it’s an important English you’ll use every day regardless of whether you’re at university or not. Improve your reading skills and speed by taking on board these great reading tips for ESL and academic learners.

(25) UNSW – Reading Effectively

Grammar 4

Do you have a million and one things you need to read? Do you lack confidence and speed when reading? You’re not alone and most new university students find themselves overwhelmed with all the reading materials regardless of whether they’re a native English speaker or not. This site teaches you to be an effective reader. Follow the tips and you’ll be on the road to success.

(26) Coursera

Do you lack confidence in reading or writing? Coursera is a massive online learning platform that has a number of academic courses dedicated to reading and writing. For a comprehensive overview of Coursera, check out my Coursera review.

(27) Project Gutenberg

Are you looking for a new book to read and can’t be bothered heading out to the local public library? Look no further Project Gutenberg has an impressive selection of FREE ebooks you can read. There’s no need to worry about breaking any piracy laws here, because this is a reading project that’s been going for some time. And if you’re really stuck, check out the site’s recommended top 100 books, and get your reading game on.

(28) University of Victoria Study Zone

Choose your level, choose your text, and work your way through a series of reading activities and exercises from pre-reading activities to post-reading comprehension activities. There are so many texts to choose from which includes modern classics such as Pulp Fiction; there’s basically something for every taste.

(29) Garnet Education

This carefully planned academic reading site allows you to work your way through different leveled reading activities. Mix and match and test your understanding of the academic reading content and specific vocabulary. This is the perfect site to prepare you for those dreaded IELTS and English proficiency exams.

(30) Breaking News English

Keep up to date with the latest that’s going on in the world and improve your English at the same time. Choose your level and the news story that interests you and read up on the latest. You’ll also get a chance to build your vocabulary and improve your listening skills with all the related interactive activities.

(31) Rong Chang

Are you interested in advancing your reading skills while learning about different cultures in other English speaking countries? Choose your level and read some of the many interesting English articles specifically written for ESL learners like you!

(32) The UNC Writing Centre

Forget the misleading name. This site offers you all the necessary hot reading tips to really become proficient in your academic reading. You’ll no longer have to worry about falling behind with those endless reading lists your tutor gives you, because here you’ll find all the info you need to help you skim, scan, and even read between the lines.

(33) University of Washington | Bothell

Anyone can become a good reader in English. It doesn’t matter what your current level is. With these invaluable tips and academic reading strategies, you’ll soon know how to read quickly and find that all-important information you need without worrying about unknown words and terms.


You may think you don’t need to improve your English speaking skills as much for university, but you’re misguided. Speaking English is a necessary skill to have. It will help you survive in the real world, integrate into university life, communicate with your professors, and help you with your presentations.

(34) Talk English

Grammar 5

One thing you need to perfect is your speaking. You might be able to hide the fact you’re a non-native English speaker through your reading, writing and listening skills, but you’ll give the game away as soon as you open your mouth if you haven’t mastered those endless colloquialisms and idioms.

Talk English is the answer you’ve been looking for with over 9,000 audio files that covers topics from general English to more specific business related scenarios. You’ll be speaking like a native English speaker in no time.

(35) Open English World

When you move to another country to study, you’ll need more than just academic English. You’ll also need a decent amount of conversational English to help you get by and integrate into society. Study and practise your conversation skills by listening to samples, mimicking and practising everyday English through vocabulary exercises.

Speaking and communicating well in English will open up so many new doors for you, and of course make your life that little bit easier.

(36) Iteslj

Never run out of things to talk about again. Small talk and talking about everyday subjects is a big part of your English language skills, and perfecting your speaking skills by practicing answering these questions and answers at home will take your English to the next level. There are countless topics from ‘Accidents in the home’ to ‘Wishes’.

(37) ESL Conversation Questions

Have you ever been stuck when it comes to thinking of questions in English? If yes, this great site will help you out immensely. You’ll never be lost for words again in any situation whether it’s making small talk or speaking for a longer period of time.

(38) Heads Up English

Speak freely about any topic in English with the help of this comprehensive English language site for speaking. Wow your friends, family and colleagues and chat freely about anything under the sun from shopping to current affairs.

(39) Second Nature

Second Nature will get you speaking like a native English speaker in no time. We love the easy layout of the site, which guides you through a number of modules. Read the conversations, practise them with your friends, and then take your understanding to the next level by completing a number of online matching and comprehension activities.

If you’re looking for a place to learn functional English such as declining, inviting and so on, Second Nature will give you everything you need.


Pronunciation work and drills are often overlooked when studying at university level. But the truth is, if you can’t pronounce words properly or you can’t make yourself clear when speaking, it could lead to confusion and possibly even lower marks.

(40) Ted Power

Grammar 6

Each nationality has its own problems when it comes to learning and perfecting pronunciation difficulty problems. Ted Power recognises these problems, and has divided its site into logical nationalities. Click on your language and practise the common pronunciation problems associated with your mother tongue.

(41) The Internet TESL Journal

Access numerous pronunciation sites in just one click. Here you’ll find a wealth of information that will help you master your English pronunciation. There are a number of fun tongue twisters to the more traditional pronunciation drills for ESL learners. Take your pick and start speaking like a native English speaker today.

(42) Sounds of English

This is probably one of the best pronunciation websites aimed at ESL learners. It provides you with a step-by-step guide as to how to pronounce the numerous sounds in English. One of the greatest pronunciation difficulties ESL learners face is the difference between contrasting pairs such as ‘beat’ and ‘bit’.

You’ll never have to worry again that your pronunciation isn’t like a native English speaker with the plethora of video and audio files you’ll find here.

(43) Spoken Skills

Practise your spoken English skills and perfect your English pronunciation at the same time with the very specific pronunciation exercises for vowel and consonant sounds. Go through the list on a regular basis and drill yourself while looking in the mirror – don’t worry about looking silly, because at the end of the day, you want to sound as natural as possible.

(44) eLearning English

Once you’ve completed every pronunciation exercise from A to Z, you’ll surely be sounding more like a native English speaker. Speak with clarity and confidence, learn how to practise the past simple pronunciation and distinguish the difference between voiced and unvoiced sounds. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Well, with this comprehensive site it isn’t!


You can never know too many words in English. The more you know, the richer your language will be, and you’ll find every English skill that much easier than before.

(45) Just the Word

Improve your vocabulary while learning which word is the right word to use in your writing. It’s amazing how one word can change the meaning of what you want to say, so this is your opportunity to get it right from the start.

(46) Lexipedia

Grammar 7

Imagine typing in one word and bringing up an intricately colour-coded mind map of synonyms and near-related words. This is exactly what this site offers. It’s the perfect way to enrich your vocabulary while also improving your spoken and written English skills through using a wider range of colourful vocabulary that will surely impress your critics.

(47) Wordnik

English would be so easy if it wasn’t for the numerous meanings and false friends. This site will allow you to type in a word and see it magically take many forms. Why stop at learning one meaning when you can learn them all? Trust us, it’s going to save you a lot of embarrassment in the future, as you’ll no longer confuse the meanings of words. Once you’ve mastered this, you’ll be on the right path to mastering the English language.

(48) Snappy Words

Snappy Words lives up to its name. You’ll be able to find a plethora of associated words without even having to click. All you’ve got to do is hover over the word of your choice, and you’ll instantly be inundated with a variety of meanings and uses.


Learning new vocabulary from dictionaries gets boring, and if we’re going to be completely honest about it, it isn’t effective at all. is super fun, relevant, and it will soon be a site you want to visit more and more. It’s definitely more than a dictionary.

(50) Self-Study Vocabulary Quizzes

Students learn languages in different ways. Not everyone is the same. This is a great site for ESL learners who prefer to learn in the traditional method through doing specific vocabulary quizzes and tests. There are hundreds of online vocabulary quizzes that you can gradually work your way through. Learn basic opposites or test yourself more with more specific word groups such as analogies and business expressions.

(51) Free Rice

Learn and practise new vocabulary while feeding the world at the same time. This sponsored site is 100% free, and with every correct vocabulary answer the organization donates a set amount of rice to a developing country. Topics differ, but they are all relevant to your further studies with themes ranging from humanities to geography.

(52) ESL Gold

Go for gold with these well-organised lists of academic words. You’ll find absolutely all the basic academic words needed to kick-start your further education while picking up some great speaking tips at the same time such as how to speak with more fluency and how to build confidence when speaking.

(53) Word Sift

Word Sift is an awesome new online vocabulary generator that will help you learn and visualize new vocabulary in an easy way. Type in your key word and learn a bunch of new connecting (or associated) words via an attractive mind map.


University is very different to school, and a lot of the time you’ll spend there will involve listening. You’ll need to work on your listening skills in English to understand and follow your lectures, so get cracking now and don’t let yourself fall behind.

(54) Elllo

Grammar 8

Follow real-life people talking about their lives and experiences studying and living in different countries. We love how authentic this site is with the use of ‘real’ people. The language is natural and the pauses are realistic. You can even click on a link afterwards and learn and review any new vocabulary you came across while listening. This site not only is an excellent listening site, it’s also a great way to practice your speaking, so grab a friend afterwards and chat using the new words and topics – you’ll be amazed at how quickly you become fluent in English.

(55) ESL Pod

One of the best ways to practice your listening skills is to do it through podcasts. ESL Pod is updated on a weekly basis with fresh material that you can easily download to your mobile device or iPod. All it takes is a simple press of the button and you’ve downloaded a podcast. There are topics to suit everyone. Choose something you’re interested in or something more specific to your studies, listen, and do the corresponding exercises.

(56) English Central

Here’s a site that will inspire you to listen more. Based on a series of videos ranging in levels of difficulties, you’ll be able to watch and listen about different topics from parenting to the Internet and from wheelchair racers to the different colours of Mars. It’s amazing that such a great site is free; all you need to do is to register your email address and you’re good to go.

(57) Listen and Write

One of the main skills you’ll need to survive in an English university lecture is being able to listen and write at the same time. It’s hard enough doing it in your own language let alone another language, but if you regularly practise your listening skills via this news dictation site, you’ll improve your listening and writing skills two-fold. Who said you couldn’t multi-task in the lecture room?

(58) National Public Radio (NPR)

Sometimes you just have to throw yourself in the deep end when it comes to practising and improving your English listening skills. Authentic listening pieces are the best way to do this. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know and understand everything – it’s a case of the more you practise the better you’ll get. This site will connect you to a range of radio programs. There’s something for everyone from up-to-date news bulletins to radio shows about the arts.

(59) Randall’s Listening Lab

You’ll find almost any topic to listen to. Every day new topics are added to the corresponding levels, meaning you’ll never run out of listening materials for ESL learners. The great thing is that you can relate to all the topics. Activate your schematic knowledge by doing a few pre-listening activities first then listen and follow up with a number of comprehension activities.

(60) English Listening

English Listening will allow you to explore and learn at the same time. If you’ve always wanted to get an idea of what you’re listening level is like, do the online test and determine your listening level in accordance to the common European framework.

The easy filter allows you to choose your level, what kind of English you want (British, American or global English), and the purpose of the listening text, making this the perfect way to test and improve your English listening skills.

(61) BBC World Service

The BBC is one of the most reputable news sources out there, and they’ve made learning English as a Second language that much more enjoyable with their news podcasts related to current news aimed at ESL students. This is a no-brainer if you want to listen to a broader range of more authentic listening.

(62) English Class 101

Sign up for a free account today and become a lifetime member to a series of podcasts aimed at the ESL learner. Regularly updated, you’ll be able to click on the podcast link you’d like to listen to while following the PDF notes that go with each listening post. You’ll pick up new vocabulary specific to certain scenarios, and you’ll also improve your speaking skills.

But there’s more. You can listen any time you want with the site’s user-friendly mobile app, meaning you’ll no longer have an excuse not to practise your English.

(63) ESL Aloud

This site literally has 1000s of English language podcasts to choose from. Since it’s regularly updated, you’ll never run out of authentic listening materials. Listen carefully how the speakers use their voices for intonation and pronunciation, and you’ll improve your English skills in a number of areas.

Academic Skills

There are a number of academic skills you’ll need to acquire and perfect while studying at university. You’ll need to learn how to surf the web properly in English, brainstorm, use dictionaries, and cite your work appropriately. All of these can be overwhelming, but thankfully today, there are a number of sites dedicated to developing your academic skills further.

(64) Uefap

Grammar 9

When you get to uni, you’ll find you’re inundated with countless writing assignments – this will be enough to send you over the edge. This comprehensive site will help you perfect your academic skills no matter what your level is. Writing is a process, and this is something this awesome site will help you understand.

(65) Write Fix

As the name suggests, you’ll be able to fix your writing and write like a native English speaker in no time. There’s more to writing than just the standard 5-paragraph essay, and this academic writing site will help you explore and fine-tune your various writing styles. You’ll no longer cower in fear when faced with a complex graph for IELTS; instead you’ll tackle it face on and be even more amazing than you already are.

(66) English Online France (EOLF)

When it comes to writing and reading academic English, you might find yourself in a bit of a panic. Impress your tutors right from the start with your amazing writing skills. You’ll soon master topic sentences, and if you don’t know what these are, you soon will.

(67) The Academic World List at UoP

If you don’t know the difference between the various words that are appropriate and those that aren’t when it comes to academic writing and reading, you’ll soon be able to bring yourself up to scratch with this comprehensive academic word list that’s logically divided into different topics.

But that’s not all. You’ll be able to test your knowledge in a fun way through various interactive English games, which also includes crosswords – you’ll love it!

(68) The Academic English Café

No matter what your English level is you’ll be able to practise at your own pace. It’s all about interactivity with this site, so get on your smartphone now and practice your essay writing skills in a fun way – say goodbye to tedious English lectures on paragraphing, you’ll learn it all here and in half the time.

(69) English for

If you haven’t discovered English for University yet, you’re missing out. How is this site different from the rest? For starters, it was designed and written by a university professor with people like you in mind. Here you’ll find absolutely everything you need and more when it comes to improving your English language skills specifically for university.

There are even bonus sections telling you about life as a university student – this really is the whole package!

(70) Prepare for Success

Imagine being able to have access to a wealth of interactive information about what life at university is really like. This amazing site must be checked out if you’re really keen on learning the ins and outs of being a university student in an English speaking country. Learn about the differences in university programs, how you can overcome those language barriers, how you can manage course work well without being bogged down, and how to communicate with your course tutors – there’s very little advice this site doesn’t offer when it comes to preparing for success.

(71) Bib Me

Make your life a whole lot easier with this comprehensive guide to all the different citation styles. Read up or get some extra help – this fun and simple citation website will also do the dirty work for you. Simply fill in the necessary details, and it will cite it for you – you won’t have to worry about being caught out not citing again!

(72) Cite This For Me – Citation Guides

Choose to do it manually or do it automatically online – the choice is yours. Your bibliographies will be perfect, and you’ll have your course tutors falling all over you with your meticulous referencing skills.

(73) Ref Me

As the name suggests, this site will help you cite in style flawlessly. All you’ve got to do is tap in the relevant information and the website will do it all for you. Simply sign up with Facebook and the rest is history.

(74) Cite U Like

Cite U Like generates your citations for you, but that’s not all. The cloud storage addition also allows you to record and save any citation you find online in the style you want. Who said academic citing was tricky?

(75) Easy Bib

It doesn’t matter whether you’re citing a website, a book, a journal, a newspaper, or something else, Easy Bib has got your back. Put in the info, sit back, and your computer will do all the work without you having to worry about putting things in alphabetical order or worrying about whether you use a comma or a full stop – it doesn’t get much easier than this!


You’ll soon discover that dictionaries will be your new best friends at university. Perhaps you’ve always just relied on Google translate in the past, but at university this isn’t enough, especially since Google translate often doesn’t take things into context. Don’t mistake words again and use some of these reliable dictionaries that are perfect for ESL university students.

(76) The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary

Grammar 10

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary is up there with one of the most simple and comprehensive dictionaries for ESL learners. While it doesn’t touch on academic English, you’ll be able to find everything else here. Learn a multitude of words on a daily basis or look up that word that’s been bugging you. The site’s super easy to use, and if you want, simply click on the word for the right pronunciation.

(77) Longman’s Contemporary Dictionary

Like any language, the English language is forever changing, and every year hundreds of new words are added to our standard vocabulary. Keep up to date with the latest language and usage, and find the right ‘relevant’ word that fits your needs.

(78) Dictionary of Idioms

Did you know there are over 4,000 idioms in English? It’s said you won’t ever master a language completely until you understand and can use the language’s idioms and colloquialisms first. This comprehensive idiom reference will put you on the right track.

(79) Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs

If knowing prepositions wasn’t hard enough, try mastering phrasal verbs. Show your professors and peers that you know English well by using this everyday language naturally. It’s bound to make life much easier, and you’ll also be able to refine your writing skills, knowing when you should and shouldn’t use phrasal verbs (here’s a hint…not in your essays)!

(80) The Visual Dictionary

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words…and this is exactly what this dictionary does. It has thousands of terms and words you need to know, but with labeled pictures accompanying them. Divided into topics and sub-topics, you’ll be able to find the word you want and finally connect it to its image.

(81) Merriam-Webster

Write in the word or phrase you want and get a list of definitions and examples. This learner’s dictionary has been designed with the ESL learner in mind, so both the definition and example are clear-cut.

(82) Cambridge Online Dictionary

Woah, here’s a dictionary that has it all. From everyday English colloquialisms to specific academic English terms, you’ll be able to find the word or phrase you’re looking for. Learn where the word comes from (if that’s your cup of tea) or find the closest synonym to spice up your writing.

(83) Ozdic

Fool everyone else into thinking you’re a native English speaker by using collocations correctly in English. If you want to sound like a natural English speaker, collocations are an all-important building block to get there. With over 150,000 collocations listed, this easy-to-use site will keep you busy for hours on end. If you’re doing your Cambridge English or IELTS exams, this site will prove to be invaluable.


If you’re not already familiar with, you’re about to discover that this online dictionary is not only a dictionary, it’s also a comprehensive thesaurus. Give yourself a daily challenge with the word of the day, and you’ll soon rival your native English-speaking friends when it comes to vocabulary knowledge and usage.

General Academic Research

The Internet is full of useful and useless information. Some of it’s credible, and some of it is questionable. Be sure you find real academic articles from credible sources so you don’t fall into the trap of pulling any old document for review and writing a poorly researched or contradictory assignment.

(85) Google Scholar

Grammar 11

Google just got a whole lot smarter. Now you can research articles or case studies on a specific topic, and be guaranteed valuable texts to work with instead of having to sift through pages and pages of unrelated texts. If this impresses you, you’ll be even more impressed with the fact that you can save your articles to your own personal online library for future reference and even your citations.

(86) Scholarpedia

Are you looking for a reliable academic article on a specific topic? Scholarpedia has a wealth of knowledge from esteemed professors and academics from around the world. There are so many articles it will be hard not to find what you’re looking for. And unlike many other academic research sites, this one is regularly updated, so you’re guaranteed the latest research on your topic of choice.

(87) Bartleby

To be or not to be, that is the question – and the answer of course is “to be”, well it is with this awesome academic reference site. Use it to pull up some amazingly cool quotes that will knock the socks off your professors or find some more in-depth material about a specific topic.

(88) Virtual Training Suite

You know how to use the Internet, but do you know how to use it effectively for research purposes? This amazing online tutorial designed for non-native speakers of English will take you on a free guided tour and show you how you can research specific topics in English. It’s worth checking out. It will save you a whole lot of time and stress in the future, and you’re bound to get your assignment right from the get go.


Every foreign student studying in the UK will be required to prove his or her level of English. This can be done in two ways. You have to either prove you have studied at secondary school in English or you’ll have to take an English measurement exam, which will test your level of English in a range of bands. It really depends on which course you’ll be taking as to which band you’ll require, but as a rule of thumb most universities require between 6.5-7.5 out of 9.

(89) The British Council

Grammar 12

This is the official site for IELTS resources, so you can be guaranteed there are no fakes and the information is the real deal. Practice the various skills in isolation or take a few practice tests online and see how you do. Keep in mind your target band score and work with that as your number one goal! And if you’re really up for it, you can book your IELTS test online as well, but make sure you’re ready first!

(90) IELTS Exam

What IELTS band do you need to get into your desired university course? Figure it out and set your target today, and work towards it with this site. There’s an overwhelming amount of IELTS practice information for both the general and academic IELTS exam.

(91) Collins

The official Collins site will help you prepare for IELTS and help you become more confident in every task you do. Learn about the various skills needed for the IELTS exam, and instead of wasting money on an IELTS course, teach yourself, because this is one IELTS site that really does cover it all.

(92) The IELTS Blog

Have you ever wondered what a band 5 writing looks like in IELTS? Now you can with this up-to-date IELTS blog. You will be able to read through REAL IELTS essays and see the band mark they scored and why. Measure yourself against the samples and aim high, because at the end of the day, your academic writing skills need to be impeccable when studying at university.

(93) Flo Joe’s

When it comes to studying for any Cambridge examination Flo Joe’s probably has the most up-to-date relevant information to help you study, and this includes the dreaded IELTS exam you need to sit in order to be accepted onto your course. They’ll guide you little by little in what you need to do to up your game to get a high band mark in the IELTS exam, starting with learning topic vocabulary for academic purposes through to the strict writing process.

(94) Coursera

Coursera is the massive online learning platform, which classes from elite universities like Yale, Standford and MIT. They have a number of excellent courses for ESL students. Read Victoria Hughes’ excellent Coursera review here.

(95) Parapal Online

Sometimes it’s a great idea to read other samples of writing. This way you’ll know what’s expected of you and what standard you’re aiming for. This website has every type of essay found in both the general and academic IELTS exam. Read essays on various topics from descriptions of graphs to academic proofreading. There’s more to writing than just writing – reading will help you too!

(96) IELTS Buddy

Prepare for your IELTS exam today with this comprehensive free guide that will help you practise all the IELTS sections from reading through to speaking. Take on the great tips, and when you feel ready, do a few of the practice IELTS exams to see if you’re up to scratch.

(97) Exam English

If you have to take an English exam for some reason or other whether it’s IELTS, TOEFL, FCE, or EDEXEL, you’ll be able to learn everything you need to know right here. Learn about what the test actually involves, how much time you have, and take away a few great exam tips to fully prepare you for the big day.

(98) IELTS for Free

There are many IELTS websites claiming to be free when they’re not. But this one actually is. Once you’ve practised all your IELTS skills individually, you’ll be ready to take a few practice IELTS exams to ensure you know everything you need to know. This site has a range of full IELTS exams that will help you get used to doing the exam in the right amount of time to ensure you get the band you want in the end.

(99) Road to IELTS

Your journey towards achieving your goal will become a lot easier with this app you can easily download to your device for free from Google play store. Practise the different skills necessary for IELTS through over 300 interactive activities, and once you’re ready, set yourself the challenge of completing a few exams in the allocated time.

(100) Test Prep Practice

Choose to practise the different sections of the IELTS exam alone or do the test in full – it doesn’t matter. This site has a range of interactive activities that cover all the themes and topics you’re likely to meet when sitting your IELTS exam. You’ll even get a detailed score analysis once you’ve completed everything you need to, so you’ll know which areas need further work before doing the real thing!

(101) IELTS Calculator

The different areas of the IELTS exam are measured differently. If you want to work out which IELTS band mark you’re currently sitting on, plug in your individual scores for an accurate overall calculation.

Bonus resource

(102) Hack Spirit

As a student it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and be mentally and physically refreshed. Studying is hard work and you don’t want to be tired, run down or mentally fatigued. Hack Spirit is an excellent resource which provides tips and techniques for healthy living. You can learn a lot from their posts on Zen Master wisdom and maintaining healthy relationships.

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