Skip to content
RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

Academic word list tool


The Academic Word List (AWL) contains 570 of the most important words you need to know to be successful in your studies.

Four great reasons to learn the AWL

  1. Understand your lectures more easily.
  2. Read your course material more quickly and effectively.
  3. Improve your academic writing and complete assignments more quickly.
  4. Build your confidence in talking with lecturers and other students.

How to use this resource

Start at list 1 & 2.  The games and quizzes will help you check that you really know these words and can use them effectively. Then continue with the other lists. There are 10 lists in total. You’ll be surprised what a difference 10 minutes a day can make!


The Using English for Academic Purposes website has a great resource on the Academic Word List with links to definitions as well as other practice activities.


Coxhead A (2000) 'A new academic word list', TESOL Quarterly, 34(2):213-238, doi:10.2307/3587951.

Coxhead A (1998) An academic word list, ELI Occasional Publications 18, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington.

In this tutorial