The more you listen to or read English news, this is what happens:
- You start to recognize more vocabulary words and phrases and in different contexts (situations in how the word is used)
- You start to recognize different sentence structures
- You learn more about common topics that are useful for your exam. You learn about different viewpoints that you can use in writing your essays.
Here are some good general news websites:
- Voice of America and their special 30 minute news report in slow English
- BBC Radio
- Al Jazeera English podcasts and videos
- CNN Student News – there are 10-minute commercial free news reports with transcripts available
- BBC – Learning English
- Time magazine
- Google News
- National Geographic
- Breaking News English
- The Guardian – Learning English
Another useful tool is Google Alerts. Set up alerts to specific topics or words/phrases that come up in the news or blogs and it will send you an email about it.
These are just a few news sites especially catered for English language learners. If you find some that are useful, please add them to the comments below and I’ll include them in the list.
So have a go and make it a habit to read and listen to news every day, even for 10 minutes a day. Take note of anything new that you’ve learned. This could be a vocabulary word, or an idea or viewpoint about a popular topic as you might be able to use that idea in your essay writing.