The Best Apps and Websites for Improving Your English

improve english

This article is sponsored by OET

Living and studying in Australia means you’ll be testing out your English skills daily. It’s common for International, non-native English students to feel excited, daunted, or even overwhelmed about speaking English in a foreign country, regardless of their skill level, so it’s always nice to have a little extra help on your side.

We’ve found the best websites and apps to help you improve your English, with a focus on interaction and fun. Who said learning must be boring?

Google Translate

You’re probably already familiar with Google Translate, but don’t overlook this handy tool you have at your fingertips! You can choose to write a word or phrase in your native language and have it roughly translated to English, or the other way around so you can understand an English word or phrase in your native language.

Whilst Google Translate shouldn’t replace professionally designed learning resources, it can certainly help you learn words and phrases as you discover them in conversation. Plus, you can use it to teach your English-speaking friends your native language!

Memrise

This app was created by a neuroscientist and a Grand Master of Memory and uses virtual flashcards to optimize your rate of learning. Memrise pride themselves on delivering each course in a fun, engaging, and exciting way to fast-track your learning. They offer various courses from basic to advanced English, a vocabulary course known as ‘3000 Most Important Words’, pronunciation, and even slang words and phrases.

Cost: One-week free trial, then $69.96 (USD) per year
Available on iOS and Android

News in Levels

The life of an international student is busy, which makes News in Levels a perfect addition to your English study! This website publishes three versions of current news articles, then tests your English skills to assign you to a level from One to Three. You’ll read the news at an appropriate level of English, before then moving onto a higher level once you’re ready for more of a challenge.

This allows you to keep up to date with the news and learn English at the same time!

Cost: Free

BBC Learning English

If you would prefer a more structured way to study English, this app may be perfect for you.
BBC Learning English has been teaching English to the world since 1943 (that’s 77 years!). The website offers free, full-length courses that can be broken down into standalone components, so the student can decide how to learn based on their preferences.

The BBC Learning English courses are created by ELT (English Language Teaching) specialists and uses BBC news and media material within the app to deliver engaging, up-to-date English to its users.

Cost: Free
Available on iOS and Android

Busuu

Busuu is a social network of people around the world learning new languages. This allows you to engage with native speakers and earn points as you progress from Beginner to Upper-Intermediate level in reading, writing, listening, and speaking English. The app uses machine learning technology and ‘gamifies’ the learning experience, so you’ll hardly feel like you’re studying at all!

Cost: $126 (AUD) per year
Available on iOS and Android

Use italki, Upwork or Airtasker to find a tutor

Many websites can connect you to an English tutor. italki is a virtual face-to-face interaction tool that allows you to select a native-speaking tutor or certified professional teacher to schedule Skype tutoring sessions with. These sessions start from $10 USD per hour.

A less expensive alternative is finding an English tutor on Upwork or Airtasker. These websites allow people to list their skills such as gardening, tutoring, or building houses and you can book them in for face-to-face or virtual tutoring sessions.

OET Improve Your English Challenge

Are you a healthcare student or professional and keen to practise your English skills? OET has put together a fun Improve Your English Challenge complete with quizzes, crosswords and word searches related to the healthcare industry. The challenge is designed to build your confidence and boost your chances of passing OET, plus you can join the OET Improve Your English Forum on Facebook to connect with fellow students and professionals and tune in to OET’s live Q&A sessions.

LyricsTraining

This website uses your favourite songs to teach the English language and perfect your pronunciation. Ranging in difficulty from easy to hard, you’ll be asked to type in the missing words to your choice of song.

The team at LyricsTraining explain that exposure to the sounds of another language can help our brain to set up the structures and connections needed to learn that language – which means that singing along to Spotify is helping improve your English skills!

Cost: Free

Grammarly

Grammarly is a browser extension that plugs into the Google Suite, Microsoft Office, social media, and email platforms to edit your writing as you’re writing it. Grammarly will help improve your grammar in a similar manner to how Microsoft Word alerts you when you’ve misspelt a word, but Grammarly also improves the tone of your writing and makes suggestions to produce a concise, clean, and consistent writing style.

As this is American software, Grammarly’s default setting is Americanised English. Be sure to change your language preference to Australian English to avoid incorrect spelling and grammatical adjustments.

Cost: Free


“Yay, I have to take an English language test,” said nobody ever! With OET, you’ll be learning the kind of language you’ll need to succeed in your work or studies, without wasting your time on irrelevant topics. We can’t make studying for a test fun but we do make it worth your while!

Click HERE to start your international healthcare career today.