Throughtout semester, Academic Skills offers English conversation groups.
It helps me to speak more fluently and make more friends.
These are fun and relaxed groups for ANU students, guided by an experienced peer facilitator. These groups also offer plenty of opportunities to speak with a variety of local students and native English speakers. You do not need to register, just come along!
Check out more information on our peer mentoring page.
English in your residential hall
Many of the ANU residential halls run English language conversation groups. Ask your community coordinator or academic team about what is available to you.
More speaking opportunities
Conversation groups are very effective at developing both speaking and listening skills. Consider joining one or more of the following.
- Mentoring: Take advantage of mentoring opportunites around campus like SET4ANU and the Get up and go walking program. These will give you a chance to meet new people, practise your English and learn more about Canberra and the ANU.
- Study groups: Forming a study group is an excellent way of practicing your English and learning your course material at the same time. Ask people in your course to form a study group with you, meet at a regular time, and come prepared to talk about questions that you have from the material. Check whether study groups and Peer Assisted Learning programs already exist in your academic college or your residential hall.
- Clubs and societies: Why not join one of the ANU Clubs and Societies? Sharing common interests like chocolate, Harry Potter, gaming, sports, and many more can be a great way to use your English and make new friends.
- Practice with friends: Set aside a regular time to speak only English - for instance when you cook dinner or go out for coffee.
- Conversation groups: ACT Libraries run regular conversation groups that anyone can join.
Writing in English at university begins with understanding assessment tasks and what is expected. On our Writing and assessment site, there are a number of resources which will introduce you to the different types of assessment that you may need to complete during your studies. There are also resources to help you write and edit your work.
Note-taking in lectures, tutorials and for your readings provides you with opportunities to regularly practice using the terms, ideas and concepts relevant to your courses. It's also useful to build a glossary for academic English. When reading through your course materials, note down the types of words that are common in that topic, and write a definition that helps you to understand those words. This can help you to expand your academic vocabulary.
If you are looking for more specific resources on English language take a look at the following.
- Griffith University grammar and writing resources provides easy to use examples and strategies.
- University of Technology Sydney Grammar pages
- Academic word lists can help you to choose the right words when writing assignments.
- ANU library has a range of grammar references and textbooks that are useful tools for practicing your English, such as Michael Swan's Practical English Usage.
- Dictionaries and thesauruses can be useful to learn new vocabulary. Be careful when using thesauruses though, as many synonyms can have very different meanings. Go back and check your academic glossary, and ask yourself whether you have seen the word or phrase used in any academic texts. If so then it is probably safe to use.
Reading and listening
One of the key ways to improve your reading and listening skills is to use them as much as possible. Frequent use, improves fluency. There are many ways that you can actively use your reading and listening skills:
- Read for fun in English. Try reading books like Harry Potter, comics, magazines, and entertaining books which you have already read in your first language. When reading, work out the new vocabulary from the context and guess at the meanings.
- Read and watch the news in English. Newspapers and televised news are good places to develop an understanding of more 'formal' English.
- Watch films and television shows in English, or with English subtitles. This can be a great way to get accustomed to listening to fast speakers.
- Switch your devices to English. This can help you to think and function in English.
Remember, if you have any further questions or concerns about your English, Academic Skills is here to help.