Some other places you might like to go to learn about writing or English as a Foreign Language.


  1. IELTS Public Writing Band Descriptors: Task 2 (Opinion Essay). PDF file –  right-click and save to your computer.
  2. IELTS Public Writing Band Descriptors: Task 1 (Visual Data). PDF file –  right-click and save to your computer.
  3. Try the new website: videos of speeches, with transcripts. Read while you watch! Good for longer IELTS Listening e.g. Part 3 and 4

  4. From the Australia Network television service, an excellent series of videos and other resources. Start with this cheerful video about IELTS Speaking Part 2 from Lester Chin. You can download videos and transcripts. Amazing resource.
  5. Abu Dhabi Women’s College IELTS site.
  6. Abu Dhabi Men’s College Writing: Graphs, Argument and Opinion, Cause and Effect, and much much more.
  7.  Speaking Test tips on this Writefix site
  8. The English Language Center of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University has excellent page of links and materials. Try the timed Reading passages.
  9. UCLES Examinations – IELTS The official Cambridge site, with information about IELTS. Or go directly to
  10. From the British Council: resources and materials for improving your general English. They have a test which will let you see your level. Here is their IELTS page.
  11. A very good site for teachers is OneStopEnglish’s IELTS page –
  12. Two good listening practice tests here, at
  13. – written by an ‘ex-IELTS examiner,’ and a mine of information on IELTS. Have a look at this page on IELTS Task 2 Writing.
  14. is a huge website. It’s easy to get lost, but I often go here to see the newest IELTS writing and speaking topics. Lots of good stuff here.
  15. Dominic Coles has very accurate information on his website at Good advice here.


  1. Abu Dhabi Men’s College Graph Writing page. Possibly the best resource around on graphs. Dozens of line, bar and pie graphs, as well as maps and processes.
  2. From David Mainwood at – a great collection of Task 1 resources.
  3. EssayBuilder have excellent materials on Task 1. A very well-organized site.
  4. Abu Dhabi Women’s College IELTS site. Check out their great “Describing Graphs” link
  5. has links to many activities on describing graphs
  6. A complicated British Council IELTS website on writing about graphs
  7. Another UK quiz, from the University of Bath.
  8. Here’s a simple introduction from
  9. Work through this marvellous resource from
  10. What does the word ‘correlation‘ mean? Click here to find out!
  11. Easy quiz on prepositions, by Enda Tuomey
  12. Dozens of statistics on the US from ‘The First Measured Century’ published by PBS.
  13. Google’s new Public Data Explorer allows you to compare countries and to create your own graphs.
  14. also allows you to produce thousands of possible graphs and charts.

General English

  1. Sites by Sean Banville: BreakingNewsEnglish, FamousPeopleLessons, and four or five others. The man never stops working.
  2. The website (that’s 3 letter ‘L’s – English Language Listening Laboratory Online – has hundreds of videos and listenings from speakers of English from all around the world. Fascinating. English as it is really spoken. Quizzes, comprehension, transcripts, activities, discussion.
  3. –  an incredible resource where generous people help correct essays
  4. improves your vocabulary and feeds hungry people. Every time you give the correct meaning of a word, 10 grains of rice are donated to hungry people worldwide through the United Nations Food Program. Amazing!
  5. Hundreds of activities and quizzes for students learning English:
  6. Check out -again, hundreds of activities.
  7. This is another site from Charles Kelly, and some of the links above are available from here. Aimed directly at students. Like the name says, hundreds of things to do.
  8. Dave Sperling’s ESL Cafe is a very famous site aimed at teachers, but with lots of activities for students. Try the quizzes
  9. The BBC has a special site for learners of English with grammar, listening quizzes in music, sport and business topics, discussion boards, countdown quizzes, idioms, and more. What does “She’s a pain in the neck!” mean? The BBC is obviously an excellent place to go to find out about current events – the sort of things you have to write about in essays. Check polls and surveys to see debates. e.g. “Should you pay for water?”
  10. The Voice of America has audio files in Special English which you can listen to live or download for later. Special English is slow and slightly simplified. The files have transcripts so you can read as you listen. Topics include science, technology, culture, history medicine, and geography
  11. English Daily 626 has an unusual range of material.
  12. – great for listening. One of the first listening websites online
  13. more advanced listening
  14. ESL Blues by Eifion Pritchard
  15. allows you to do quizzes based on Youtube videos. If you want, you can make your own quizzes for other people.
  16. Randall Davis’s ESL-Lab was one of the first sites for practising your listening.


  • TWE Topics (62 kb)
  • Downloadable version of the “How to Write Argument Essays” pages on this site. It’s not perfect- there are a few broken links and some big Powerpoint and Flash files have been omitted, but it is less than 1 Mb (Right-click, save target as or copy link to your computer, put in a folder and expand. 915kb.

For Teachers: Readability

  1. This page has explanations of various ways to measure readability.
  2. The site has a great online tool to calculate readability – Flesch Kincaid, Smog index, Coleman-Liau and more. You can enter a URL or you can upload a Word document. There is a good description of each of the indexes.
  3. You can find out more about readability statistics here (and check a webpage) at
  4. The website at lets you copy-and-paste text for readability analysis
  5. Of course, Wikipedia has tons more here, about Flesch-Kincaid, and here, about readability in general.
  6. This site from explains how to turn on readability statistics in Word (2003, 2007, 2010) and Google Docs.

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