ACADEMIC WORDS YOU NEED TO KNOW (TOEFL, COLLEGE, SAT, etc.)

How can you know which words are the most important in a language? One way linguists find this out is by taking large samples of language and storing that in a computer database. They can run tests and analyses on the data, such as finding the most common and least common words in a language. This is called corpus linguistics.

More recently, some researchers have looked at written and spoken academic language to find the most common words used at the college level. This list is called the Academic Word List, or AWL. If you are preparing for college in the U.S. or some type of college entrance test (including the TOEFL), these words are essential to learn.

There are many websites that use the AWL and provide exercises to learn these words. Here are just a couple examples that you may find helpful:

http://www.uefap.com/vocab/select/awl.htm

http://www.englishvocabularyexercises.com/AWL/

Student Resources

Student Resources

Learn That Word: Learn vocabulary and spelling on this site. You can narrow down your lessons by commonly misspelled words or TOEFL vocabulary.

BBC Learning English: This resource from the British channel offers all kinds of lessons and tips for learning English, including pronunciation, vocab, and grammar lessons.

Learn English Kids, British Council Though this site is aimed at kiddos, anyone trying to get a grasp on English spelling and speaking will find its games fun and useful.