Skip to Main Content

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 Library SEARCH 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 Collection:
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. Academic Skills and Study Support

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

Academic Skills and Study Support 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 containing research relating to a particular academic discipline. See "journal" and "peer-reviewed".
  • Access Room – The Access Room is located on the Ground Floor of the Wollongong Campus Library, next to the Postgraduate Space. It contains assistive technology for students registered with the Student Accessibility and Inclusion Team.
  • Alumni – A graduate of a specific university.
  • Archives, UOW – A collection of resources including historical documents, theses and UOW publications that require special storage for preservation.
  • Archives Online – The website containing our digital archival collections.
  • Ask Us – Search our Frequently Asked Questions or submit a question to us.        
  • Bibliography – A list of citations that shows the resources that were 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.
  • Boolean – Describes a method of searching on a computer using terms such as AND, OR and NOT. Also known as "Boolean operators".
  • Borrowing Kiosk – To borrow (check-out) an item you can use the UOW Library Borrowing app or kiosk.
  • Call number – The number used to locate a resource on the shelf. UOW Library uses the Dewey Decimal classification system. Consider the following two call numbers, 791.45 and 791.401 - a common mistake is thinking 791.401 is a bigger number and therefore goes after 791.45. The correct order is: 791.401 then 791.45. After the decimal point assess number by number: so 4 is equal to 4, 0 is smaller than 5. Therefore, 791.401 is shelved before 791.45.
  • Chat – LiveChat is an instant messaging service where you can talk to a librarian in real time.
  • Check-in – A book is checked-in when it is returned to the Library.
  • Check-out – When you check-out a book, you are borrowing it. The book will be added to your library record.
  • Cite – When you refer to another author’s work in your writing you must cite the source in the body of your paper. Our Referencing & Citing guide has examples of in-text citations.
  • Computer labs – Computer Labs 1 and 2 are located on Level 2 of Wollongong Campus Library. Labs are available for general 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 a Library perspective, a database is an online repository of information with a search interface. They are mainly used to access resources such as journal articles, conference papers, newspapers, reviews, reports and ebooks. You can search our list of A-Z Databases for databases particular to your subject area.
  • Dewey Decimal – The system UOW Library uses to organise and search for physical items. See “Call Number”.
  • Dictionary  – A book or electronic resource that lists words and their meaning in alphabetical order. A dictionary is an important tool for anyone learning a language - they can show the translation of words into a different language and how to pronounce them.
  • Digital Collection – A collection of digital objects that can include text, video, audio and visual material. The material is stored in an electronic format. Examples of digital collections can be found in UOW Library’s Archives Online.
  • 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 Library SEARCH. Refine your search results by "books/ebooks".
  • Eresource – Is short for “Electronic Resource”. An eresource is any information provided in an electronic format, for example an ebook or digital newspaper.
  • Encyclopedia – A resource, either physical or digital, which gives information on many aspects of a subject. E.g. Encyclopedia of Ancient Rome.
  • 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 4 hours from the Loans Desk at Wollongong Campus Library. Laptops and other equipment can be borrowed from the IT Service Desk in Building 17.
  • EZProxy – EZproxy is a web proxy used to authenticate UOW students and staff to access the online resources the Library is subscribed to.
  • 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 only the abstract or first chapter.
  • Guests – You may qualify for guest membership if you live, work, or study (at HSC level) in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla or Bega Valley Local Government Areas, or by agreement. Guest members can borrow from their local collection, please see your local UOW Library for details.
  • Guides – Our guides can help you find information, including search tips and databases for your subject or discipline.
  • 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. HDR degrees include Masters by Research or Philosophy, or a Doctoral degree (either Professional Doctorate or a PhD).
  • History Archive Portal (HAP) – An online gateway to access primary sources from many places, cultures and time periods. It provides students, teachers and researchers with guided access to digitised primary sources - including historical documents, photographs, newspaper articles, artworks and material culture.
  • Hold – A hold is an online request to have a book, movie, or other item reserved for you if it's currently on loan.
  • 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.
  • ISBN – An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique number used to identify individual books. Each edition and variation of a book has a different ISBN (except reprints). The ISBN is helpful in telling apart books with the same title.
  • ISSN – An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an eight-digit number used to identify a publication which is published as a series (e.g. a journal). The ISSN is helpful in telling apart serials with the same title.
  • Journal – A recurring publication often with volumes or issues on a particular topic e.g. Harvard Business Review. Magazines and newspapers may also be considered journals.
  • Journal Impact Factor (JIF) – Shows how often the average article is cited in a given journal within a two-year window. It can be accessed from the Journal Citation Reports.
  • Law Collection – Our Law Collection 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. Here you can borrow equipment, pay fines and get help from staff.
  • Leisure reading – This is reading for fun or recreation. Wollongong Campus Library has a Leisure Reading Collection on the Ground Floor where students can browse and borrow mainly fiction books such as novels.
  • Library record – see "My Library Card".
  • Literature review – A literature review examines and evaluates the scholarly literature on a topic. Find more information in the Literature Review guide and on the Academic skills and study support site.
  • Maps – Our collection of geological maps is currently located on Level 2, Wollongong Campus Library.
  • Microform – A general term for any material that contains a small image or micro-reproduction of a document. There are two common formats: 
    • Microfilm: images on a reel of film.
    • Microfiche: images on a flat piece of film, often mounted on cardboard.
  • Moodle – The main e-learning tool used at UOW. It hosts subject sites where you can find subject resources, submit assignments and participate in discussions.
  • Moodle MyLibrary tab – The “My Library” tab in Moodle gives students and staff quick access to the Subject Readings site.
  • My Library Card - This is your library record. Log in to "My Library Card" to see borrowed items, due dates, fines and renew items.


There are no entries yet.

  • 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 – Open Access means making peer-reviewed, scholarly work freely available online, free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. The UOW Open Access Policy allows anyone in the world to download academic publications via the University’s Research Online platform.
  • Past exam papers – Your course coordinator may (or may not) upload past exam papers for your subject. If available, these are located in the Subject Readings portal on Moodle for some subjects. If no past papers are listed, you should contact your course coordinator.
  • Patents – Are legally enforced rights that give the patent owner the exclusivity to use their inventions commercially for the life of the patent. They are granted to successful applicants for their unique device, substance, method or process. Patents are a type of intellectual property.
  • PDF – Portable Document File (PDF) is a file format created by Adobe. It is a common file format used when sending documents as it retains formatting and is not easily modified. Word Documents can be saved as PDFs.
  • Peer-reviewed – A peer-reviewed journal article has been read and approved by experts in that field before publishing. This makes them high-quality sources of information.
  • Periodical – A magazine, newspaper or journal published at regular intervals.
  • Postgraduate Spaces – Study spaces on the Ground Floor and South Wing of the Wollongong Campus Library for Postgraduate, Honours, Dean's Scholars and Graduate Diploma students. See our staff at the Service Desk for access.
  • Primary sources – An original record of a firsthand account usually created at or near the time an event happened e.g. personal diaries, interviews in contemporary newspapers, government reports and autobiographies.
  • Print card – Use your UOW Student Card for printing and copying. If you have misplaced your Student Card you can purchase a Casual Copy Card from the Print/Copy Room. If you’ve lost your Student Card, contact AskUOW.
  • Print/Copy Room – Located on the Ground Floor of Wollongong Campus Library, here you can find printers/copiers and assistance from staff. 
  • Quiet study spaces – Comfortable spaces for quiet and focused study (no loud talking). They can be found on each level at Wollongong Campus Library:
    • Ground Level – Law Collection
    • Level 1 – whole level
    • Level 2 – area outside computer labs.
  • Reading history – A record of items you have borrowed in the past. Log in to "My Library Card", go to the Loans tab and select "Previous and historic loans".
  • Recall – If you get a recall notice for an item you currently have on loan, you need to return the item by the new due date because another person has requested it.
  • Referencing – Referencing is the way you acknowledge the sources you have used to develop your ideas. Check out our Referencing Guides for more information.
  • Renew – When an item is renewed, the borrowing time is extended. Find out more about renewing items.
  • Report – A report is a written document that describes and analyses information on a topic. Information is organised under headings and subheadings. Reports often include tables and graphs which complement the written information.
  • Research Consultation - UOW staff and higher degree students (including honours) can book a consultation with one of our librarians for help finding and managing information for their research.
  • Research Online (RO) – An open-access digital archive promoting the scholarly output of the University.
  • Rover – Library Rovers are staff of the Library, usually students, who can assist you with a variety of questions from finding resources to basic technology help. They rove around the Library and can be identified by their orange t-shirts.
  • Room kit – Study room kits can be borrowed from the Loans Desk for four hours and include whiteboard markers and computer display cables. Room kits may/may not be available depending on COVID restrictions.
  • Scholarly – Academic learning and research.
  • SEARCH – A discovery tool that provides fast, simple access to most of the Library’s full-text content (online and 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.
  • Solstice ScreensConnect to Solstice screens in group study rooms to share your device's desktop and collaborate with those around you.
  • Standards – Standards are made up of specifications, procedures and guidelines that aim to ensure products, services and systems are safe, consistent and reliable.
  • Study Rooms – These rooms are available for focused or collaborative study. You can book a room online for up to two hours per day.
  • Subject Readings – A list of essential materials assigned by your lecturer such as book chapters, journal articles, websites, textbooks and exam papers.
  • 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 – Wollongong Campus Library has two teaching labs with computers on Level 2. Labs are available for general student use unless a class has been scheduled (please check the tutorial timetable outside each lab).
  • Theses/Thesis – Original and substantial research conducted and presented by a student for a diploma or degree. Looking for theses? Check out our Theses Guide.
  • 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 Library Borrowing App – self-loan system to borrow items via mobile app or kiosk at Wollongong and Shoalhaven Campus Libraries.
  • UOW College – Offers a range of academic pathway programs, vocational courses and English language courses. UOW College also offers OET courses and IELTS courses.
  • UOW Metropolitan Campus Libraries – UOW Libraries located at UOW Sutherland, UOW Liverpool and Sydney Business School Campuses. Students at these campuses can request items from Wollongong Campus Library.
  • UOW Regional Campus Libraries – UOW Libraries located at UOW Eurobodalla, UOW Bega Valley, UOW Shoalhaven and UOW Southern Highlands Campuses. Students at these campuses can request items from Wollongong Campus Library.
  • 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.