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Best free learning resources to prepare for a UK university

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

After two years of preparation, students all over the UK are stressing over their A-level exams (they will take place until June 27). Meanwhile, there is plenty of free learning resources available online that can help future university applicants explore their academic interests and enjoy intellectual pursuits without any worries and outside pressure. Some enthusiastic learners might even do that during the long wait for the exam results that will be announced only in August. Oxford and Cambridge universities call such productive pastime "super-curricular" activities and offer excellent suggestions. We decided to take a look at some of them that can be super helpful and enlightening regardless of the subject:

What to read

University College Oxford's Reading Bank

It's not your ordinary reading list. Oxford's oldest college has an amazing collection of book reviews written by students and tutors. It can be explored by a subject area (Humanities, Mathematical, Physical, Life Sciences, Medical Sciences, Social Sciences) and by a specific subject. Book recommendations at their best!


Textbooks (especially university textbooks) can be very expensive. LibreTexts's mission is to make them as accessible as possible without breaking copyright laws. It's a large internet library of free and open-source educational resources for high school and university students.


Hundreds of Ivy League courses one can take right now for free

The article "Here are 850+ Ivy League Courses You Can Take Right Now for Free" by Dhawal Shah on sums up more than 850 courses offered for free by the most prestigious universities in the world. All courses are divided according to the course subject (from Computer Science to Art & Design) so it's very easy to find exactly what you need.

My Mooc

My Mooc is another great website to look for free courses online. It has a vast catalogue: more than 10,000 MOOCs (in English, French and Chinese) from 550 institutions. All courses are broken down into categories according to the subject. Subjects include mathematics, science, programming, and personal development.

Lectures and podcasts

BBC Sounds

This BBC online service allows users to discover and download a wide variety of podcasts and radio shows. It has it all: from music and history to documentaries and audiobooks.

Other BBC creations that serve as an amazing educational resource. These podcasts feature thinkers and experts from the UK and the rest of the world discussing topics that span different areas and disciplines (from history to modern technology). Everyone will find something interesting for them to dive in. Plus, each In Our Time episode goes with a recommended reading list!

The Reith Lectures is a series of annual BBC radio lectures given by writers, artists, scientists, musicians, thinkers and other prominent figures from all over the globe. Each lecture includes a question-and-answer session that allows each guest to shine and demonstrate their expertise and unique way of looking at things.

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