UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


ACC useful resources

Starting to write? Find the latest pratical resources from the ACC here!

Writing Skills 

Critical Thinking and Writing
  • Short introduction to critical thinking at university(4-minute video) plus further resources on critical writing LINK
  • 30-page guide to approaching critical thinking and writing at university (20 minutes reading) LINK
  • Free online course on Critical Thinking at University from the University of Leeds (8 hours of study) LINK

Understanding the assignment

  • Excellent one-page overview of how to understand academic assignments (5 minutes reading) LINK
  • Video (1 minute) with optional interactive exercises on understanding your assignment LINK

Planning the assignment

  • Short guide to planning (5 minutes reading) with more detailed links LINK
  • Essay schedule planner. Put in your deadline and receive a suggested personal schedule LINK
Making notes
  • Excellent guide to making critical notes as you read (5 minutes reading) LINK
  • Excellent guide to making critical notes on lectures (Lessons 11 to 13 - 10 minutes reading total) LINK
  • Free 1-hour course on paraphrasing techniques (Requires creation of a free account with the Open University) LINK
Referencing, Citing and Academic Integrity
  • UCL Library guidance on how to reference in Harvard, APA, Vancouver and other common styles LINK
  • Introduction to reference management software available for free at UCL LINK
  • Explanation of what Academic Integrity means at UCL LINK
Editing and Proof-reading


  • Helpful checklist for editing academic work with links to other useful resources (10 minutes reading) LINK
  • Great advice on academic style with interactive exercises on writing clearly, concisely and precisely (30 minutes including exercises) LINK
  • Fantastic website providing advice on academic writing. The Three Key Principles and Five Key Strategies on the homepage are an excellent starting point. LINK


  • Practical tips for effective proof-reading from the University of Nottingham (5 minutes reading) LINK
  • Interactive video tutorial on proof-reading from the University of Nottingham (5 minutes reading) LINK
  • Twelve of the most common errors made in student writing with corrections (20 minutes reading) LINK

Types of Writing

Writing Essays
  • UCL ACC top tips on approaching essays at UCL (5 minutes reading) LINK
  • UCL Writing Lab more detailed guide to approaching written assignments (10 minutes reading) LINK
  • Detailed guidance on planning, structuring, writing and developing an essay from the University of Reading (sections are clickable on the left of the page - several short videos available) LINK  
Writing Reports

Note that reports differ greatly in different disciplines so it's probably best to look for a guide for your discipline, for example, a guide to chemistry lab reports or to business case study reports. With this in mind, some useful general advice is also available from the resources below.

  • Explanation of common issues with reports and tips for success (5 minutes reading) LINK
  • Guide to writing some common types of reports from London Metropolitan University (10 minutes reading) LINK
Reflective Writing
  • Helpful guide to one simple model of reflective writing with examples and useful language from the University of Portsmouth (10 minutes reading) LINK
  • Short guide to reflective writing including two simple models and some examples (10 minutes reading) LINK
  • Short course on reflective writing including short videos, several possible frameworks and examples of different types of reflective writing (two hours in total but you can select only what you need from the tabs at the top of the page) LINK
Writing Dissertations/Research Projects
  • UCL Library support for dissertations and research projects. Includes help on literature searching, research methods, referencing and writing. LINK
  • Blog providing excellent advice on writing up a dissertation or research project. This page lists many of the most useful posts on the blog. LINK
  • Science Research Writing for Non-Native Speakers of English by Hilary Glasman-Deal (2010) (E-book from UCL Explore).

Although advertised for non-native speakers, this book can also be helpful for students with English as a first language. It provides content and language advice for each section of a research project (Introduction, Methodology, Results and Discussion). LINK

  • For students on MPhil and PhD programmes only, an introduction to writing a PhD thesis (34-hour taught course), and one-to-one support with writing LINK


  • ACC materials to help you to plan and deliver a presentation (2 x 30 minute videos with exercises) LINK
  • For PhD students whose first language is not English, a two-workshop course (4 hours total) on how to approach your viva at UCL. You must book a place on this course via this page. LINK
  • Short guide to effective poster design from the University of Hull (5 minutes reading) LINK
  • Tips from the journal Nature on effective poster design aimed at professional researchers (20 minutes reading) LINK

Writing Retreats

Writing Retreats
  • Writing Retreats for students and staff are run at regular times each week by the Writing Lab. The retreat is not a workshop but a space for you to work on your own writing in a supportive, motivating environment. The sessions are currently being held online. LINK

Academic Communication Books

Academic Communication Books
  • A list of ebooks available from Explore in categories including Academic Writing, Research Methods, Critical Thinking, Presentations, Literature Reviews, Systematic Reviews and Statistics among others. LINK

English Language Support

Support from UCL
  • The Language and Writing Support Programme at UCL supports non-native English speaking students with academic writing and speaking. You can book one-to-one tutorials to discuss your work. You can also attend workshops to develop your skills and social events to practise your spoken English. LINK
  • For PhD and other graduate research students who do not have English as a first language (i.e. not for taught Masters students), courses on Academic Presentations, Pronunciation, Academic Discussions and Vivas. COurses must be booked via the website and range from 4 to 18 hours. LINK 
  • Wide range of online materials and resources available through the Centre for Language and International Education (CLIE) Self-Access Centre, including online exercises, films and documentaries LINK
  • Fantastic resource with a wide range of useful phrases for use in many different academic disciplines LINK
  • Excellent dictionary providing many example sentences that can help you to see how to use words in context LINK
  • A brief introduction to the Academic Word List, a set of words commonly used in academia. The AWL Highlighter on the page will automatically highlight these words in text that you paste into the site. This is an excellent way to learn these words in a context that is useful for you. LINK
  • A free course in grammar from the Univeristy of Hull for students writing in higher education. The whole course is several hours, but you can also pick useful sections from the overview on this page, and complete interactive quizzes to test yourself. LINK
  • A range of useful grammar resources and interactive exercises from Hong Kong Baptist University aimed especially at students with Chinese as a first language LINK