What is the Academic Word List (AWL)?

The Academic Word List is a list of 570 words that appear frequently in academic writing. The list was developed by Averil Coxhead (2000).

Although memorising lists of words is not an effective way of learning new vocabulary, working with this list actively, helps students build the range of their academic vocabulary. The AWL can be obtained through various sources. Two of the most useful websites are:

  • Oxford Leaner’s Dictionaries -After clicking on each word, the user is taken to the dictionary entry.
  • UEFAP Website -Includes the AWL, definitions and examples. In each word family, the word in italics is the most frequently used one.

Going through the list and simply reading the definitions and examples may not be enough. Therefore, it is recommended that students should practice with the word list as much as they can. The following sources provide good practice opportunities: