You need to use academic vocabulary well to get good marks in your essays. Look at the following sentences:
1. There are lots of Chinese students in British universities.
2. Chinese students have an increasingly high profile in British universities.
Sentence number 2 sounds more academic. The style is better and more suited to academic work. Your work will make a better impression on your reader and you stand a much better chance of getting a higher mark. But being able to use the right academic vocabulary doesn’t come easily! You should be reading as much Academic English as you can and making notes about phrases that you see. You should be building your own dictionary of academic phrases as you go through your studies so that you have a good list of phrases and words at your fingertips in your subject when you come to write your assignments.
Luckily there are lots of academics who have made a wide variety of online exercises where you can improve your academic vocabulary and these are the best ones:
- Vocabulary exercises for academic word list from Gerry Luton at the University of Victoria
- The Academic Word List at the University of Plymouth
- Dominic Cole’s Academic Word List Exercises
- Vocabulary levels tests online by Nation and Laufer
- The Academic Word List and the General Service Word List from the University of Nottingham
- The Academic Word List Highlighter and Gapmaker exercises from the University of Nottingham
- Martin McMorrow’s daily pocast on Academic English
- The Longman Vocabulary Website with academic vocabulary for a range of disciplines at university
- Professional Word Web, the University of Hong Kong
- Academic Vocabulary from Hong Kong Polytechnic University
- Accounting and Finance vocabulary from Nonstop English is here.
- AWL info and exercises from the University of Plymouth
- The British National Corpus
- BBC English: Words in the News
- Improve Your Vocabulary from the University of Toronto, Scarborough