Resources for the Academic Word List


Developed by Averil Coxhead, The Academic Word List (AWL) is a set of the most frequently used words in academic settings and so essential for EAP students to get to grips with. I thought it might be helpful to list some online and physical resources that teachers and students can refer to:

For pure reference and definitions, Oxford have compiled the Academic Word List and Cambridge have made a similar list called the New Academic Word List.

This website from Nottingham University is a great resource for both teachers and students, there are exercises on the AWL, and a variety tools such as a highlighter where you can enter text and it will highlight the words from the AWL and a gapmaker where teachers can create cloze tests for their students. Another website for creating cloze tests from the AWL is this Word Ready one.

Further exercises and activities can be found at English Vocabulary Exercises, not the prettiest looking site in the world but useful for students to work through. Those students interested in exam practice (particularly IELTS) can look at Dominic Cole’s AWL exercise page on his IELTS website.

For ideas on how to teach the AWL, Chuck Sandy gives some excellent advice in this blog post.

These are – I’m sure – just a few of the resources out there for teachers and students to draw on. I would love to hear any other resources teachers or students are using to help them learn the Academic Word List.


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About David Read

I work at the English Language Teaching Centre at the University of Sheffield as the Director of TEL (technology-enhanced learning). I've been an EFL/EAP teacher and teacher trainer for over 20 years and have worked in 14 different countries. Settling down is clearly an issue for me.

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