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University of Wollongong Australia

English language & IELTS: Improve your English language skills

Essay writing, critical thinking and reading comprehension will be important skills needed to complete your degree at UOW. Our resources can help you improve your English language skills, including your:

  • vocabulary
  • grammar
  • spelling
  • punctuation
  • writing

Ways to improve your English language skills

1. Language books


via GIPHY (GIF description: a hand moving over old books on a shelf)

Find self-help books on learning English or practicing for IELTS by searching "IELTS" in our Catalogue or browsing the shelves at the Library.

Find language books in the Library using these call numbers
  • 427 Language (includes Australian English dictionaries)
  • 428 English usage & IELTS
Language resources in the Library's Catalogue:
IELTS English - grammar Reading comprehension 
English CD English - pronunciation Critical thinking
English DVD English - spelling Academic writing
English - vocabulary English - writing Essay writing

2. Newspapers

via GIPHY (GIF description: animated figure holding a newspaper and looking up from it)

Newspapers are a great way to improve your language skills and understanding of current events.

Online copies of newspapers are available from our Newspapers guide.

3. Learning Co-Op

via GIPHY (GIF description: animated figure of a teacher at a blackboard)

The Learning Co-Op provides support for academic skills both in person and online.

They can help with:

  • understanding your assessment task
  • finding resources
  • academic writing
  • referencing
  • plagiarism
  • using Turnitin
  • enrolling in workshops

English language consultations include feedback on your language expression in assessments and help developing strategies for reading comprehension of your course materials.

Pronunciation seminars provide you with strategies for improving clarity in your speech.

Writing in an academic style seminars introduce you to academic writing and strategies to make your writing more formal, concise and appropriate for university assignments.

Other language resources


  • Academic journal – A peer-reviewed publication in which research relating to a particular academic discipline is published. See "Journal".
  • Access Room – Located next to our Postgraduate Space, it contains assistive software and hardware for students registered with Disability Services.
  • Alumni – A graduate of a specific university.
  • Archives, UOW – A collection of resources, accessed by appointment with the Archivist. Many resources in the UOW Archives are fragile and are stored in the Archives for preservation. Hard-copy UOW theses are also held here.
  • Archives Online – Archives Online is the UOW Library's home for digital archival collections. The website features a wide range of material from the UOW Archives.
  • ArticleReach – A service for students and staff to request journal articles not held at UOW.
  • Ask Us – Find the answer to your question in our Frequently Asked Questions section or submit a question to us.         
  • Bibliography – A list of citations with the resources used in writing a research paper or other document.
  • Biography – A biography, or "bio", is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, relationships, and death; it portrays a person's experience of these life events.
  • BONUS+ – A service that allows students and staff to borrow selected books from other participating university libraries.
  • Boolean – Describes a method of searching on a computer using terms such as AND, OR and NOT. Also known as "Boolean operators".
  • CareerSmart – Compulsory for all first-year undergraduate and coursework students studying at UOW. It helps you understand your career options and how to improve your employability by learning what skills you have now, what employers want and how to improve your employability.
  • Call number – The number used to locate a Library resource on the shelf. UOW Library uses the Dewey Decimal classification system.
    To read a call number like 630.51: read the number in front of the decimal as a whole number (six hundred and thirty), then treat the rest as a decimal. So 630.51 would come between 630.5 and 630.52.
    The number after the slash '/' shows its position on the shelf, so 630.51/2 would be the second book on the shelf (not always accurate.)
  • Catalogue – A tool used to search for physical resources in the Library. At UOW you can access the Catalogue through the Library "Search" engine. Also known as an "OPAC" (Online Public Access Catalogue.)
  • Chat – LiveChat is an instant messaging Service where you can talk to a librarian in real time. It's available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
  • Citing – To phrase or paraphrase words and ideas taken from a particular writer or written work.
  • Computer labs – Computer Labs 1 and 2 are located on Level 2 of the Library, Building 16. Labs are available for student use unless a class has been scheduled.
  • Copyright – Copyright is a form of intellectual property that protects the original expression of ideas.
  • Database – From an academic and library perspective, a database is an online repository of information with a search interface mainly used to access resources such as journal articles, conference papers, newspapers, reviews, reports and ebooks. Databases can be general (multidisciplinary) or subject specific.
  • Dewey Decimal – A proprietary library classification system. See "Call number".
  • Dictionary  – A book or electronic resource that lists the words of a language (typically in alphabetical order) and gives their meaning, or gives the equivalent words in a different language, often also providing information about pronunciation, origin, and usage.
  • Digital Collection– A collection of digital objects that can include text, visual material, audio material, video material stored as electronic media formats (as opposed to print or other media).
  • Dissertation – A substantial paper that is typically based on original research and gives evidence of the candidate's mastery. A dissertation not only examines a subject but reviews different points of view about that subject. See "Theses/Thesis".
  • Document Delivery – A service that helps you find and obtain material including books, journal articles, book chapters, conference papers, multimedia and theses not held at UOW Library.
  • Ebooks – Electronic books available online through SEARCH and our Library catalogue.
  • Eresource – A contraction of "Electronic Resource". An eresource is any information source that the Library provides access to in an electronic format. Also known as E-Resource, Online Resource or Digital Resource.
  • Encyclopedia – A book or set of books giving information on many subjects or on many aspects of one subject and typically arranged alphabetically.
  • EndNote – A software tool for publishing and managing bibliographies, citations and references.
  • Equipment – You can borrow equipment like headphones, calculators, computer mice and study room kits for up to four hours from our Loans Desk at Wollongong Campus Library. More borrowing information here.
  • Exhibition – An event where objects (such as works of art) are displayed in a public space for people to look at.
  • EZProxy – A web proxy server used by libraries to give access to resources from outside the library's computer network to restricted-access websites that authenticate users by IP address.
  • Fine – A sum of money imposed as a penalty for late return of specific items.
  • Full-text – A complete electronic copy of a resource, as opposed to a partial copy such as a chapter, usually an article viewed on an electronic device.
  • Group Study Rooms – Rooms you can book or hire for private use such as studying. These rooms are available for 2 hour bookings and may be booked 2 weeks in advance. Bookings can be made via the Library website.
  • Guests – You can join the UOW Library as a guest if you live, work or are studying at HSC level in the Illawarra or Shoalhaven districts or by agreement.
  • Guides – Curated content to help with your study and research.
  • Hansards – The official record of debates in the British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, or South African parliament.
  • Higher Degree Research (HDR)– A Higher Degree Research is a postgraduate university degree involving a unique supervised research project. These degrees are either a Masters by Research or Philosophy, or a Doctoral degree (either Professional Doctorate or a PhD).
  • History Archive Portal (HAP) – The digital portal for The History Archive Portal (HAP) is an online gateway to primary sources from around the world. It provides students, teachers and researchers with guided access to digitised primary sources — including historical documents, photographs, newspaper articles, artworks and material culture — from many places and historical periods.
  • Hold – A hold is an online request to have a book, movie, or other item reserved for you if it currently on loan or held in off-site storage.
  • Inter-Library Loan – A service where a patron of one library can borrow books, DVDs, music, etc. and/or receive photocopies of documents that are owned by another library.
  • International students – Any enrolled student who is not an  Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia.
  • INTI College Subang Jaya  –An international education partner of UOW where UOW teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
  • INTI College Sarawak – An international education partner with UOW where UOW teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
  • ISBN – The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier. An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation (except reprints) of a book.
  • ISSN – An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an eight-digit serial number used to uniquely identify a serial publication. The ISSN is especially helpful in distinguishing between serials with the same title
  • Journal – A newspaper or magazine that deals with a particular subject or professional activity.
  • Journal impact – The impact factor (IF) or journal impact factor (JIF) of an academic journal is a measure reflecting the yearly average number of citations to recent articles published in that journal. Impact factors are calculated yearly starting from 1975 for journals listed in the Journal Citation Reports.
  • Keyword – The most significant words in a sentence or piece of content. Used on the internet, it referred to the words you type in the search engines, to find contents on the internet.
  • Law Library – Our Law Library holds a broad range of physical and online resources, specifically tailored for UOW law students.
  • Loans Desk– Found near the main entrance of the library. It provides lending services and facilities for the return of loaned items. Renewal of materials and payment of fines are also handled at the Loans Desk.
  • Learning Co-Op – Located within the Library, the Learning Co-Op brings together a range of academic resources and services to help answer student's questions. It can help students save time, build skills and improve chances of success.
  • Leisure reading – Leisure reading, also known as recreational reading, pleasure reading, free voluntary reading, and independent reading, is independent, self-selected reading of a continuous text for a wide range of personal and social purposes. Our Wollongong Campus Library has a Leisure Reading Collection on the Ground Floor for students and staff to access.
  • Library browser extension – Our browser extension for  Google Chrome will help you access certain online academic resources by directing the link back through our EZproxy authentication server.
  • Literature review – A literature review is an evaluative report of information found in the literature related to your selected area of study. The review should describe, summarise, evaluate and clarify this literature. It should give a theoretical base for the research and help you (the author) determine the nature of your research.
  • UOW Student Makerspace – The UOW Student Makerspace (located Library Ground Floor, Building 16, Wollongong Campus) aim to foster creativity, innovation and collaboration by providing the UOW community access to the latest prototyping tools and technology. As a UOW student or staff member, you have access to soldering irons, virtual reality headsets, 3D printers, digital recording programs and more.
  • Maps– Our collection of geological maps is located on Level 1
  • Microform – A general term for any material that contains a small image or micro-reproduction of a document. These document images are usually found on film, however, some older formats used cardboard. There are two common film formats: microfilm and microfiche.
  • Moodle – A free and open-source learning management system (LMS). Moodle is the LMS used by UOW.
  • MyLibrary – Located in Moodle, it provides students and staff with quick access to essential Library content relevant to your discipline.
  • New Books display – A display of newly purchased books, located in the Library's foyer.
  • ORCiD – (Open Researcher and Contributor iD) is a global non-profit organisation that provides a unique identifier for researchers to link their outputs with their research identity and get credit for their work.
  • Orientation, O- Week – Orientation is about getting to know your faculty, campus and the student culture that makes UOW special.
  • Open Access – Encourages the immediate, online and free availability of research outputs without restrictions on use, which may be imposed by publisher copyright agreements. The UOW Open Access Policy, allows anyone from anywhere in the world to download academic publications via the University’s Research Online platform.
  • Panizzi Gallery – A space used for exhibitions and events and located on the Ground Floor of the Library.
  • Past exam papers – We hold a limited selection of past examination papers as not all papers are released by faculties (less than 20% on average). Exam papers are located in Subject Readings. Search by subject, e.g. MGNT110. If your subject has past exams available they will be located under the Past exams tab.
  • Patents – A right granted for any device, substance, method or process that is new, inventive and useful. A patent is a legally enforceable right to commercially exploit the invention for the life of the patent. Patents are one type of Intellectual Property.
  • PDF – Portable Document File (PDF) is file format, created by Adobe Systems, typically used for saving documents that are comprised of more than a simple text element. PDF's allow for incorporation of images, graphs, hyperlinks, and other images.
  • Peer-reviewed – A process by which a scholarly work (such as a paper or a research proposal) is checked by a group of experts in the same field to make sure it meets the necessary standards before it is published or accepted.
  • Periodical – A magazine or newspaper published at regular intervals.
  • Postgraduate Rooms – Comfortable spaces on the Ground Floor and in South Wing for study and research. See our Service Desk staff for access.
  • Primary source – An original document or other material that has not been changed in any way. It is a reliable first-hand account usually written at or near the time the event(s) occurred.
  • Print card – Use your UOW Student ID card for printing and copying. If you have lost or misplaced your Student ID card you can purchase a Casual Copy Card from the Print Copy Office on the Ground Floor of the Library.
  • Print/Copy Room – Where you can find printers and copiers as well as help using them. Located on the Ground Floor of the Library Building 16. 
  • Quiet study – Spaces for quiet study (no loud talking) can be found in these areas of the Library
    • Law Library, Ground Floor
    • Level 1
    • Area outside computer Labs 1 and 2 on Level 2
    • South Wing, Building 17, Level 2
  • Reading list – A list of essential or recommended readings compiled by your lecturer, your Subject Outlines are likely to include this list. To check for these items use the 'subject readings' link on the Library homepage.
  • Recall – If you get a "recall", you need to return the item you currently have on loan by the new due date, because another person has requested it.
  • Referencing – Acknowledges the sources used to develop your ideas and may include words, images, video, audio, statistics or websites.
  • Renew – Extends the borrowing time of an item on loan 
  • Report – A document containing information organized in a narrative, graphic, or tabular form, prepared on ad hoc, periodic, recurring, regular, or as required basis Reports may refer to specific periods, events, occurrences, or subjects, and may be communicated or presented in oral or written form.
  • Research Online (RO) – An open-access digital archive promoting the scholarly output of the University
  • Rover – Library Rovers are UOW students who can provide study skills advice, assistance with technology, and refer you to individual consultations, seminars and workshops, or online help as appropriate
  • Room kit – includes whiteboard markers and computer display cables, they can be borrowed from the Loans Desk on the Ground Floor.
  • Scholarly – Academic learning and research.
  • SEARCH – A discovery tool that provides fast, simple access to most of the library’s full-text content (online & print) from a single search box
  • Secondary sources – A secondary source of information is one that was created later by someone who did not experience first-hand or participate in the events or conditions you're researching.
  • Service Desk – Main service desk located on the Ground Floor
  • Singapore Institute of Management Libraries – A UOW Offshore Education Partner
  • StartSmart – Essential information skills to introduce students to the UOW academic environment and helps them understand their student responsibilities. Compulsory for all new domestic and international coursework students.
  • Standards – Standards are used to provide uniformity, reliability and safety for all parties concerned as trade and industry are bound by official specifications in areas such as construction requirements, codes of practice, methods of testing or terminology.
  • South Wing – Library space located on Level 2 Building 17.
  • Subject Readings – Subject readings provide essential course materials for your subject, in one convenient place.
    All subject readings observe Australian copyright law and can consist of books, journals, website, exam papers, streaming videos not to mention the records of physical items available in Short Loans.
  • Sydney Business School (UOW) – The Sydney Business School (UOW) Library provides access to collections and information services for Sydney Business School students and staff.
  • T&T Hub – The Teaching and Technology Hub is a space where UOW staff can learn, play and explore with technology supported by friendly and knowledgeable staff.
  • Teaching labs – Computer Labs 1 and 2 are located on Level 2, Building 16.
  • Theses/Thesis – Original research presented by a candidate for a diploma or a degree.
  • Trade publication – A specific kind of publication, usually, a magazine, journal or newspaper, that is geared to people who work in a specific business or industry.
  • ULANZ – (University Libraries of Australia and New Zealand) is a borrowing scheme that allows UOW students and staff to borrow selected books from other participating university libraries.
  • UOW Archives – See "Archives, UOW"
  • UOW College –offers a range of academic pathway programs and vocational courses, plus a suite of quality English language courses. UOW College also offers  OET and IELTS courses.
  • UOW College Hong Kong – In July 2015, UOW College Hong Kong entered into a formal alliance with UOW Australia, enhancing the user experience with exchange programmes and overseas scholarships while offering UOW top-up degrees, granting even greater opportunities for UOW College Hong Kong graduates.
  • UOW Batemans Bay – UOW Batemans Bay is part of the University of Wollongong's network of regional campuses.
  • UOW Bega – UOW Bega is part of the University of Wollongong's network of regional campuses.
  • UOW in Dubai – The University of Wollongong in Dubai abbreviated as UOWD, is a private university located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The University is one of the UAE's oldest universities, having been founded in 1993.
  • UOW Shoalhaven – UOW Shoalhaven is part of the  University of Wollongong's network of regional campuses
  • UOW South Western Sydney – This campus is the first major university campus in Liverpool, South Western Sydney.
  • UOW Southern Highlands – UOW Southern Highlands is part of the University of Wollongong's network of regional campuses
  • UOW Southern Sydney – UOW Southern Sydney is part of the University of Wollongong's network of regional campuses and is located in Loftus, Southern Sydney.
  • Wireless (Wi-Fi)Wireless is the term used to describe any computer network where there is no physical wired connection between sender and receiver, but rather the network is connected by radio and or microwaves to maintain communications.
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