Real Academic Documents to Improve TOEFL / IELTS Reading


Students studying academic reading, especially for standardised tests like TOEFL and IELTS frequently ask “How can I improve my academic reading?”

The answer is, “Do more academic reading.”

You need to look at real academic documents and analyse them for meaning. Try to insert your own subheadings and summarise the documents within 200-300 words. Underline key words and add new vocabulary to your word cards.

Where can you find academic documents? In your local college library, sometimes in your city library and on the internet.

If you are a college or university student, your institution’s library may give you access to JSTOR or other online document libraries.

If you are not a higher education student Google Scholar should be your first choice to search academic documents.

The World Bank also has an enormous amount of documents and data that you can access for free.

Get Real Resources Online for TOEIC Practice


In section VI or VII of the TOEIC test there is often a reading passage which is an advertisement or a piece of business communication to the public. One problem that students in non-English speaking countries have is not being able to find these resources easily. Today, Get Great English comes to the rescue with examples from the internet.

Supermarket Flyers

These are the advertisements you get through your door telling you about special offers at your local supermarket. You can download Canadian ones from this website: Red Flag Deals

Company Reports

Company financial reports are an excellent resource for graphs and tables of data. You will need a PDF reader installed like Adobe Acrobat Reader. You can download the reports from this website:

Press Releases

You can read press releases (news written by a company and sent to media companies/news agencies) for a lot of companies online, too. Here are the Heineken Company’s.

Remember that with these resources you need to practice reading at test speed to answer questions that you make up yourself, such as ‘How much did profits change by in 2011?‘.

I really hope this is a useful post for you. If so, leave a comment because they make me smile!

Links – Money Talk


These links are about money and how we talk about it.

22 Phrases That Only Wall Streeters Will Understand via Edulang

Banking language by

This one isn’t about English but it is about business. The English Empire: A growing number of firms worldwide are making English their official language. At The Economist, via Ross Harrison