ESL Resources

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Here you will find information about English as a second language and lots of free ESL resources.

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Learning English as a Second Language

Why learn English as a second language?

Here are some great reasons why learning English as a second language is a good idea:

  • English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It is spoken in the UK, America, Canada and Australia.

  • Lots of countries use English as one of their official languages and so learning English can make it much easier to understand communications in English.

  • English is used by businesses and employers all over the world.

  • Many academic courses are taught in English.

  • English is a language commonly used in travel and tourism.

What aspects of English should I focus on?

When studying a foreign language the core component parts that you will need to study are:

  1. Speaking

  2. Reading

  3. Writing

  4. Listening

Language study also includes various subskills. Here are some of the subskills you might study.


  • phonetics & phonology

  • pronunciation

  • grammar

  • accent reduction


  • vocabulary

  • comprehension

  • skimming

  • scanning

  • understanding idiomatic expressions


  • style

  • register

  • vocabulary

  • grammar

  • spelling

  • punctuation

  • using idiomatic expressions


  • comprehension

  • vocabulary

  • understanding regional accents

  • understanding idiomatic expressions

What should I think about when studying English?

It is important that you have a balanced approach to studying English. For example, some learners focus on grammar because when they learned English at school the emphasis was on lots of grammar. Although grammar is very useful, it is more important that you actually learn how to use the English language in real life situations. For example, being able to order food and drinks in a restaurant, book a hotel room or to succeed in a job interview.

What is the CEFR and why is important for learners of English?

The CEFR ( Common European Framework of Reference) is a widely recognised reference of system of language ability levels. Each level has a list of "can do statements" that describe what the learner should be able to do at each level of learning.

What are the CEFR levels?

A1 = Beginner & Elementary

A2 = Pre-Intermediate

B1 = Intermediate

B2 = Upper-Intermediate

C1 = Advanced

C2 = Proficiency

To view the CEFR Self-Assessment Grid click on the link below.

CEFR Self-Assessment Grid

Cambridge ESL Exams for Schools

If you are a young learner (school-aged), you can take the following Cambridge English qualifications listed below. Click on the link to find out more:

Pre-A1 - Starters Exam

A1 - Movers Exam

A2 - Flyers Exam

A2 - Key for Schools Exam

B1 - PET for Schools Exam

B2 - First for Schools Exam

C1 - Advanced Exam

C2 - Proficiency Exam

Cambridge ESL Exams

Would you like a general English qualification as proof of your language competency? Would you like to take a further or higher education course delivered in English?

Cambridge English offer a range of exams and qualifications to suit your needs. Each qualification and the CEFR level is listed below. Click on the link to find out more:

A2 - Key Exam

B1 - Preliminary Exam

B2 - First Exam

C1 - Advanced Exam

C2 - Proficiency Exam


Some learners may prefer to take the IELTS (international English Language Testing System) exam. This exam is commonly required for certain academic courses taken in English or for certain English speaking jobs.There are two types of IELTS exams you can take.

Academic IELTS

Academic IELTS consists of four papers. The papers are listed below:

  • Academic Reading

  • Academic Writing

  • General Listening

  • General Speaking

General IELTS

General IELTS consists of four papers. The papers are listed below:

  • General Reading

  • General Writing

  • General Listening

  • General Speaking

Candidates receive a band score between 0 and 9. Band scores can be given of either whole or half bands. Many universities require an IELTS Academic band of 6.5 0r 7. If you need to take an IELTS for a study course or for a job, then you must check whether you need to take IELTS General or IELTS Academic and make sure that you book the right exam paper.

For more information about IELTS exams click on the links below.

IELTS Academic & IELTS General - Information

IELTS Academic & IELTS General - Exam Formats

Cambridge Business ESL Exams

Can I learn English for business or work?

Yes, of course! Some learners of English decide that they need to focus on English for because they work for a company that uses English as its primary business language. You may be thinking of working in an English speaking country or in a company that communicates in English. Alternatively, you may be planning a career in which English would be useful language to know.

Are there qualifications I can take that will show my level of Business English?

Yes. Cambridge English offers internationally recognised examinations in Business English. There are three levels. Here are the details of each exam and their CEFR level. To find out more about each of the three Cambridge Business English exams, please click on the links below.

B1 - Business Preliminary Exam

B2 - Business Vantage Exam

C1 - Business Higher Exam

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