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Online resources

Does this sound like you?

I never know when to use articles. When should I use ‘a’ or ‘the’?

Yes, it's a real pain trying to remember all those horrible grammar rules!

Carry on! Take care of your sister! Beware of the dog! I can never remember all these different phrasal verbs.

Yes, there are so many to remember and there don't seem to be any easy rules.

I hate writing – I make so many grammar mistakes and I can never find the right words in English!

A limited vocabulary is one of the main problems that students have to face. If you don't know the English word, how can you write?

How can I ever prepare for Section C? The exercises in the Reading and Language Systems section are so difficult!

Yes, I admit, there are lots and lots of really, really difficult things to learn! Nevertheless, you can learn if you are positive and you try to increase your exposure to English. You can become a more natural speaker, someone who increases their vocabulary and has an ear for what sounds right and wrong if you practice every day.t

Remember, exposure to English is important. One way to increase your exposure or to get help with specific exercises is to use the Internet. There are lots of things on the Internet that can help you with your English. You can improve your English by looking at some of these sites. They have online activities to help with grammar and vocabulary. They can also help you to improve your reading, listening and writing. All these things can be fun, painless and are better for your health than last minute grammar exercises! Remember the old saying – practice makes perfect!

There are lots of sites to choose from but here is a selection of some of the more useful sites. Which ones do you find useful? Most sites have links to other useful sites.

  • BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) world service – learning English

There is a variety of good resources on this site.
News. There are lots of up to the minute current affairs and news stories.
Games and grammar exercises. There are also sections on learning English with on line games, quizzes, stories and videos. The pronunciation is good and it uses British English..
Video clips. Lots of relevant topics.

This is a great site for improving your English. There are lots of good practice exercises for HKAL and for HKCEE. You can practice and check your answers.

Also there are lots of good links. Here are some of the listening links from hkedcity. Some of the links provide video, audio and transcripts.

- British Council Listening Downloads
You can download or play the MP3 audio files online for stories, poems and articles offered on this British Council website. You can also read the scripts as you listen and do related language activities. New content is updated every fortnight. (Last updated date: 30 Mar 2007)
- Elllo - English Language Listening Lab Online
This website is updated weekly with listening quizzes spoken by English speakers all over the world. You can also play listening games and listen to songs. Transcripts are provided. (Last updated date: 19 Jan 2007)
- Practical American English Audio Course
Try these 40 units of listening exercises covering daily conversation and common campus topics. (Last updated date: 24 Nov 2006)
- Learning English with the CBC
A total of ten lessons let you improve your listening skills by understanding the Canadian culture in a fun way. Listen to the videos and try out the activities. Transcripts and answers are provided. (Last updated date: 26 Jul 2006)
- BBC Video Nation
Check out this interesting site which shows video clips of different people's lives across the UK. You can listen and learn about their lives and the world around them. Test your comprehension, vocabulary and listening skills by doing the exercises. Answers are provided and transcripts are available for all the clips. (Last updated date: 28 Jun 2006)
- Better Listening
Listen to the short audio clip and then try the questions. This web-page is updated from time to time with new clips and exercises. (Last updated date: 21 Nov 2005)
- ABC Asia Pacific: IELTS Preparation
These programmes cover various topics and aspects of the English language. Watch or listen to the clips and try the online quizzes. You can download the scripts. Study notes, tips and activities are also provided for further practice. (Last updated date: 25 Oct 2005)
- EFL.net Improve Your English
Listen to songs, features, stories and poetry. Full scripts are provided. Some of them are provided with cloze exercises. (Last updated date: 20 Sept 2005)
- ABC Asia Pacific: English Bites
A feature story is available every weekday with video clips and full scripts. Watch them and try the online multiple choice quiz. Explanation on the grammar and words & phrases is provided. (Last updated date: 8 Aug 2005)


  • ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company)

ABC has a lot of things that can help you with your studies.
TV. Their TV programmes are free if you have broadband – you can find it on channel 61. There are some good programmmes for ESL learners. Each programme is supported by study notes and activities. These study notes and activities are very useful, even if you don’t watch the programme itself. You will find their series on writing particularly useful.
Radio. There are a variety of relevant programmes.
Study tips and grammar help. Here is an example of the guidelines and tips that you can find at this site. When writing remember the whole paragraph needs to focus on the main idea stated in your topic sentence. The remaining sentences in the paragraph support and develop the idea with examples, explanations, clarifications, illustrations or other points. The supporting and developing sentences need to be logically ordered. Together these would form a well-written paragraph. http://abcasiapacific.com/studyenglish/

  •   Interesting things for ESL students

Games, quizzes and jokes for second language learners.

  •     Randall’s ESL Cyber listening lab

There’s lot’s of short listening passages that are graded by order of difficulty. The accent is very American and I find the pronunciation strange!!! There are also vocabulary and grammar exercises, which are better.

  • Dave’s ESL Cafe 

A good site with lots of exercises and games. I like the link, which tells you about today in history.

  • Owl online writing lab

Lots of useful exercises and resources for you.

  • Write fix

Help with writing compositions – exercises and examples of good practice.