General Links

http://www.merriam-webster.com/ ASE dictionary: English to English, Thesaurus, visual dictionary, learner’s dictionary, medical dictionary
www.freerice.com A United Nations initiative: Every vocabulary word you get right, the advertisers will donate 10 grains of rice to the World Food Program.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/ The news in English for learners of English: simplified news stories, vocabulary activities, tape scripts podcasts and games
www.librarything.com catalogue your books online, join English language book and interest groups
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/ bbc streaming talk radio. Here you can find news, radio plays, and reports on all different topics both live and archived. They also have downloadable podcasts, which I strongly recommend.
http://www.ted.com/ lectures talks on every topic imaginable. Videos all have a subtitle option. I recommend watching them with English subtitles!


Some Useful Tips and Links to TOEFL Preparation Sites
http://www.ets.org/toefl The TOEFL main page. You can take online practice tests here!
http://www.learn4good.com/languages/spec_english_toefl.htm more practice tests
http://www.english-test.net/toefl/ even more TOEFL exercizes
http://www.manhattanreview.com/toefl/toefl-prep-strategy/ it's all about strategy!
http://www.toeflskill.com/ This page has sample questions and step by step strategy on how to study for the test
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/programmes/ The BBC's spoken word radio channel. See above for a description

Also to prepare:
For writing and reading: I recommend reading shorter news articles on the BBC website and writing your opinion on them. Bring them to class and I'll correct them for you!
For listening: get an English audio book from the library (I reccomend BBC's Word For Word audio books) or listen to BBC Radio 4. Listen and take notes. Another tip is to download podcasts and have them going on your mp3 player as often as possible. The more you hear of the language the better trained your ear will be!
For speaking: It's just as much about confidence as it is about being correct. Find another student who is preparing and meet for coffee as often as possible. Spend at least an hour there speaking only English with each other. Pick a different topic of discussion each time.

Finally, if you have problems understanding different accents, watching shows like Lost (13 different accents in English) will help you prepare. Before I took the Zertifikat Deutsch, I had German films running in my apartment every minute I was home. It helped!

Pronunciation

http://www.youtube.com/user/eslclick#p/u This lady has lots of youtube videos which teach how to pronounce the harder sounds in English. She's the best I've found on the net. Definitely check the unvoiced and voiced "th" videos out!

Places to Practice your English
*Jameson’s Irish Pub: http://www.jamesonpubs.com/ Most of the people here are English native speakers.
*Metropolis: http://www.metropolis-koeln.de/ shows films in their original languages
*The English Shop: http://www.english-shop.de/ English and American food, drinks, books, and DVDs
*Internations: http://www.internations.org/ A social network for expatriates and travelers. They sponsor drink nights in Cologne every month.
*Thursday Night Drink Club ( Cologne) Find them on Facebook. They meet once a month.
*English Books and Tea Shop: http://www.englishbooksandtea.de/ Have a nice hot cuppa while looking through books (they’re also on Facebook)

At Home
*Play RPGs: Dragon Age and Mass Effect are perfect, and you can pick up a UK version cheap on Amazon. Most Square Enix games let you switch between languages.
*Karaoke: Seriously, it works. Rock Band and Sing Star are also good options.
*Watch English DVDs with English Subtitles. Again, I recommend “Lost” for learning to understand accents.