Listening/vocabulary and general knowledge expansion- a good general knowledge is important for academic success

TED is an online platform for sharing ideas and inspiration. It started as a conference in 1984 and is now an online platform hosting thousands of interesting, creative, entertaining and inspiring talks on a huge range of issues relevant to business, the arts, globalisation, science, engineering, education… the list is endless. All the talks have transcripts, which makes it a fantastic language learning resource.

BBC World Service

The World Service offers a broad range of news, features and current affairs programmes. The programmes sometimes have links to print news stories, so you can read about the story before you listen to it, which makes it easier to understand.


World events as seen from a Middle East perspective.

  • Swan M Practical English Usage Oxford OUP – this is a very user-friendly and comprehensive reference grammar.
  • Raymond Murphy - English Grammar in Use with answers (For students with language level around B2, IELTS 5.5-6.5)
  • Raymond Murphy Advanced English Grammar in Use with answers (For students C1-C2 / IELTS 6.5+)
  • Raymond Murphy’s grammar books are best sellers and very user-friendly. There are 2004 and 2012 editions – the main differences are in layout.

There are also apps available for all of these titles – the reviews are mixed or not available so we can’t comment on how well they work as apps.


What does “knowing” a word mean? You need to know

  • Meanings – which meaning is more common?
  • Usage – how is it used in sentences?
  • Collocations – what words is it commonly combined with?
  • Register – is it more common in reading or writing? Formal or informal?

There are lots of published vocabulary books, but the vocabulary you need to become familiar with is in your programme. Have a look at the reading section in these pages to get some ideas about how to do this is to develop an organised approach to reading for your course.

Reading and Writing

Get into the habit of regular reading and writing. Don’t wait till you’ve finished doing all the reading before starting to write a draft – use the Templates to guide critical reading as a basis for writing a couple of paragraphs to summarise or synthesise what you’ve been reading.