What is a pre-sessional English course and do you need to study one?

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Studying in London as an international student is an exciting prospect. There is so much to gain from obtaining a degree in the bustling city. However, before you can study in London, you will need to make sure you understand the English language. Depending on the outcome of your International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test, you may need to undertake a pre-sessional English course before you can study here. This course can help boost your understanding of the language and enable your official placement acceptance. Keep reading to find out whether this applies to you and, if so, what a pre-sessional English course is.

What is a pre-sessional English course?

A pre-sessional English course is an intensive language programme designed to improve your ability to understand English. It is something you may have to do as an international student applicant, or as someone who doesn’t speak English as their first language. 

The course is not designed to teach you English from scratch. However, it will help boost your understanding of the language so you can reach the level required to undertake a UK degree. You will only need to undertake a pre-sessional English course if your IELTS score is below the minimum required level.

Why would I need to study this course?

If you want to undertake your degree in London, you must study a pre-sessional English course if your IELTS score is below 6.0, with no component lower than 5.5.

It is important to note that you will not be able to undertake a pre-sessional English course if your IELTS score is lower than 5.0 and you have a component below 4.5.

What should I expect from a pre-sessional English course?

This course will consist of a small group of people, usually no more than 20. This will give you a more personalised and collaborative learning experience. 

Your lecturers will be highly experienced in English, and they will know the best methods for teaching you the skills you need to study in the UK.

While undertaking the course, you will have to complete all the following:

  • Classroom work
  • Independent learning outside of the classroom
  • One-to-one tutorial sessions

The one-to-one tutorial sessions will focus on your personal progress outside of the classroom. These sessions will allow you to discuss your individual learning needs with your tutor.

How long is the course?

If you do have to undertake pre-sessional English, you will need to commit to ten weeks of study. This will consist of 21 instruction hours per week, with an additional four hours of directed independent study per week.

What will I gain from a pre-sessional English course?

If your IELTS score is lower than 6.0, the course will help you achieve the minimum English language requirement to study at degree level in the UK. It will do this by helping you develop and enhance your existing language skills.

While undertaking pre-sessional English, you can gain numerous skills that will prepare you for all aspects of your academic study.

Specifically, the course will help you:

  • Boost your confidence when speaking English
  • Build your cultural awareness of the UK
  • Participate in seminars and discussion groups
  • Deliver effective presentations
  • Understand lectures
  • Take good notes
  • Read and write academically
  • Develop independent learning skills

When does the course take place?

Pre-sessional English courses can take place at various points during the academic year. The exact dates will depend on when your university is running the programme.

At UWS London, our courses start in January, May, and September each year.

Tips on how to pass a pre-sessional English course

You will need to pass the pre-sessional English course before you can proceed with your degree in the UK. Your capabilities will be assessed throughout the ten-week period. Assessments will be made based on your completed assignments, project work and regular English language tests.

To give you a head start, here are some tips on how to pass the pre-sessional English course that you can do before and during your study period.

1. Speak in English regularly

To increase your skills, speak in English as much as possible. Practice speaking out loud or translating anything you say into English after you have said it. This may drive your friends and family crazy for a while, but it will help boost your language skills and help you pass the pre-sessional English course.

2. Read English literature

Just like you will want to speak in English regularly, it is also a good idea to practice reading it. You will need to read English papers regularly during your degree, so getting used to reading English literature wherever possible will help enhance your understanding. Even adding English subtitles to your favourite TV shows can help.

3. Listen to English music and talks

In your spare time, make efforts to listen to people speaking in English as often as you can. You can listen to Podcasts, watch English YouTube videos, or just add some English music to your regular playlists. By regularly listening to people speaking the language, this can help you grow even more familiar with the dialect and can increase your chances of passing the pre-sessional English course.

4. Get involved

The pre-sessional English course will present you with so many opportunities to engage with your classmates and participate in interactive work. To increase your chances of passing (and to help you when you start your degree in the UK), get involved as much as possible. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in group projects for a higher chance of success.

5. Believe in yourself!

This may sound obvious, but one of the most important things you need to do to pass any course is to believe in yourself! Starting a pre-sessional English course with a positive mindset can help you get on the path to success. Plus, it will help you adopt the positive and motivated mindset that you will need during your study time in London!

If you’re still not sure whether London is the city for you, read more on Advantages of Studying in London and 10 Reasons to Study Abroad in London.

Final Thoughts

If you’re feeling nervous about going to study in the UK, be sure to do your research! Check out the best places to study in London



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