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Free online ESL / EFL Academic Reading and Writing Exercises

Recognising the Structure of Academic articles

Glenys Hanson and Fiona Robertson

Constructing the Paragraph
Elizabeth Hanson-Smith
A Tutorial and Self-testing Program:

  • Topic Sentences
  • Topics and Comments
  • Support Sentences
  • Using Transitions
  • Ordering principles

Formal or Informal: Rank the texts

Pulp Friction
UVic English Language Centre, Canada
A complete module including: Pre-reading, skimming, scanning, reordering, scavenger hunt (unfortunately many dead links), essay writing. A particularly useful exercise:
Review of Cause and Effect Linking Words

An Academic Writing Module: Paragraphs
Victoria University, NZ
Including exercises on:

  • Topic sentences
  • Building Paragraphs
  • Incorporating Sources
  • Types of Paragraphs
  • Sample Essay

UEFAP Using English for Academic Purposes
Andy Gillett, University of Hertfordshire

Reading strategies for academic texts
Advice followed by lots of short articles for practice:
Strategies for reading

Interactive academic reading exercises
Based on the Voice of America's Special English programs

Interactive academic text reconstruction exercises
Based on the Voice of America's Special English programs

Linking Words
A set of interactive exercises

Determiners: Articles
A sequence of exercises aimed at understanding the logic of article use in English.

Quentin's cool English site
Links to information and exercises on Essays, Bibliographies, Citations, Evidence, Paraphrasing, Proof Reading, Quoting, Summarizing, Thesis.

MOTS LIENS (Linking Words)
Institut de langues vivantes at the Université catholique de Louvain.
Many other grammar exercises, too.

Reading for Thinking
Laraine Flemming

Academic Vocabulary
University of Nottingham
Gives some suggestions about using the Academic Word List
The AWL Highlighter and the AWL Gapmaker to help you expand your academic vocabulary.

  • The AWL Highlighter
    Find a text that interests you.
    Copy and paste, or type it into the AWL Highlighter.
    Process it.
    You will see the academic words highlighted in bold.
  • The AWL Gapmaker
    Copy and paste your text into the Gapmaker.
    It will automatically gap the academic words that were highlighted in the previous exercise and produce a gapfilling exercise for you to do.

You can also do fill-in-the-gap exercises with the AWL Academic vocabulary


VocabProfile English
Paste a piece of text into the box and it will tell you how many words the text contains from the following four frequency levels:

  1. the list of the most frequent 1000 word families,
  2. the second 1000,
  3. the Academic Word List,
  4. words that do not appear on the other lists.

Essay Fundamentals
Multiple choice exercise about topic sentences, thesis statements, etc.

Advanced Composition for Non-Native Speakers of English
Erlyn Baack.
Advice on how to organise ideas and
write the 5 paragraph essay + interactive quizzes.

Academic writing


Writing a Research paper
 OWL at Purdue University

A Guide to Reading and Analysing Academic Articles

Amanda Graham and Yukon College

Proofreading Practice
Practice correcting passages for spelling,
punctuation, capitalization, and usage.
Writer's Choice

TESL-EJ APA Style Guide
A brief guide to the rules for academic citations

Style tips
APA Online

Programs for creating automatic references and citations:
Reference Machine for Journal Articles APA Style
Reference Machine - Books APA Style
Reference machine: Internet pages APA Style
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
The English Language Centre

Harvard Bibliography Reference Generator
Neil's Toolbox

List compiled by Glenys Hanson and Fiona Robertson