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The top five online resources to help develop your academic writing and study skills

by Kay Richards on 2018-09-26T11:48:00+01:00 | 0 Comments


Despite the vast number of academic writing & study skills support now available online, finding the right website for you can be challenging.

You may have found yourself sifting through search results asking ‘how do I know who wrote this?’, ‘Is it free?’ and ‘Do I need to be a student to access this?’

So here’s a list of the top five free and open source academic writing websites as recommended by our academic skills team.


  1. Using English for Academic Purposes – Great for second language learners

This is a comprehensive website designed specifically for international students studying in the UK higher education system. The website contains instruction, examples and activities covering, grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.



      2. The University of Manchester Academic Phrase Bank An essential for all students

The Academic Phrasebank is a general resource for academic writers. It aims to provide you with examples of some of the phraseological ‘nuts and bolts’ of writing organised according to the main sections of a research paper or dissertation.  


     3. Education First English Grammar Guideeasy to read with brief but clear explanations

A complete English grammar guide filled with the rules of English usage. Each grammatical rule is explained in plain English with several examples.  


     4. Learnhigher – actually designed for teachers but equally as valuable for students

Learnhigher is designed for teachers in higher education, however there’s no reason why students cannot use it and benefit from it. The resources are high quality and peer-reviewed to support your learning and development. Many of the activities take around 15-25 minutes to complete, so much easier to fit into your busy schedules.



      5. The Open University – Skills for OU Study – free to create an account & you don’t need to be an OU student

This website contains a wide range of academic writing and study skills support for undergraduate and postgraduate students. As well as the materials on ‘core skills’ including time management skills and critical reading techniques, the website also contains support with ‘reading and writing maths’, ‘computing skills’ and ‘employability skills’. Learning activities and resources are fun and interactive, and include a mixture of podcasts, videos and text-based resources. 



Holly Brown

Academic Skills Adviser for Psychology, Sociology, Social Work and Young People & Education 


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