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Skills for Learning: English Language & Academic English


Academic English refers to the language used for studying at university. This is different from the English used for everyday communication. It includes academic and subject-specific vocabulary, has specialised functions, and is written in recognised formats. These formats include essays, reports, and reflective writing, for example. 

This page will be useful for any student wanting to improve their academic language and skills.  

You may also :  

  • Have received feedback on your academic language highlighting one or more improvement point(s).  
  • Have completed an academic preparation course such as a pre-sessional or a foundation programme. 

You may also wish to watch the recordings from our interactive workshops. All the recordings can be found on the Skills for Learning Workshops page.

We have online academic skills modules within MyBeckett for all levels of university study. These modules will help your academic development and support your success at LBU. You can work through the modules at your own pace, revisiting them as required. Find out more from our FAQ What academic skills modules are available?

Where do I start?

Reflect on your academic language and skills by doing this self-assessment to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Common issues for students are: 

  • Developing academic vocabulary.
  • Learning about text organisation (e.g. reports, poster presentations).
  • Structuring arguments.
  • Using academic sources to support ideas.

If you need advice, please book an appointment to discuss this further. 

How do I improve?

First, you need to understand what it is that you are trying to improve.

For example, this might be: 

  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Using more academic English. 

Practise and try to incorporate this learning into your studies. 

Improving your Academic English

Choose the aspect you want to improve and follow the guidance. Set yourself regular goals and keep records so that you can see your progress. 

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Academic Language refers to the grammar and vocabulary used in academic study. You might have received negative feedback on aspects of your academic language use. Now take some action to improve. Grammar and vocabulary are the tools we use to express our ideas. Improve your knowledge of these tools and you will be able to express your ideas more effectively.  

Use this worksheet to help you.  

All students need to become efficient academic readers and develop their critical reading ability. If you have learnt English for the purpose of studying, academic reading can be challenging. It is a key academic skill. You will be expected to read independently to prepare for lectures, seminars and module assessments. 

Use this worksheet to help you.

At university, you need to communicate effectively in writing. It is an important assessment method on most courses. Writing is an essential academic skill. It can take time to understand the requirements and become a confident writer. 

Use these worksheets to help you. 

At university, you will need to communicate academic ideas in many settings. These include presentations, tutorial discussions and seminar discussions. Some of these activities can be assessed as part of your degree course. You need to develop new language and skills, such as how to structure a presentation.   

Use this worksheet to help you. 

If you have learnt English for the purpose of studying, listening might be challenging. This can be especially the case if it is your first time in the UK. Spend some time on specific activities and you will soon feel more confident. 

Use this worksheet to help you. 

Artificial intelligence tools

Before using any generative artificial intelligence or paraphrasing tools in your assessments, you should check if this is permitted on your course.

If their use is permitted on your course, you must acknowledge any use of generative artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT or paraphrasing tools (e.g., Grammarly, Quillbot, etc.), even if you have only used them to generate ideas for your assignment or for proofreading.

Further resources for Academic English

Books in LBU Library


Web resources



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This is because Skills for Learning live events have finished for this academic year. You can find recordings of sessions that ran this year on a range of topics on our Building on Feedback page.