K M Enayet Hossain
12 June, 2021

5 min read


When students require Pre-sessional English course for higher study in the UK

Pre-sessional English courses are taken alongside the main course by students whose English language proficiency is below than main course English entry requirements.

Pre-sessional English course also known as PSE is specifically designed to prepare and improve English efficiency of international students who meet the academic requirements of a Bachelor or Masters level course but do not have the required level of score in IELTS (International English Language Testing System) to study at a UK University. The course is offered prior to the main degree course and students must improve their English to the level required for the main bachelor or masters course.


Why students need a Pre-sessional English course?

Note that though the minimum IELTS (Academic) score required is 5.5 in each and every component i.e. Listening, Reading, Writing & Speaking, different universities may have a different level of IELTS requirement for their bachelor's or master's courses. It is up to the University to decide whether to offer Pre-sessional English with the main course and the duration of the pre-sessional English course on the basis of your IELTS score.

The Pre-sessional English course is a full-time study programme and tuition fees will vary as per the length i.e. weeks, months of the course offered. For further clarity, Pre-sessional English course is an extra course with extra duration at additional tuition fees on top of the main bachelor or masters course.

Key point to remember: Please check with your chosen university if a single CAS Statement would be issued for both Pre-sessional English & Main courses as some universities may not issue CAS Statement for the whole duration of both courses.



IELTS requirements for Bachelor/Masters Degree with Pre-sessional English course

Students must have a minimum IELTS score of 5.0 in all components – for masters programmes, they may need to have higher IELTS score.  To put it another way, if you have 0.5 to 1.0 band below the required IELTS requirements for your chosen course, you might be offered the pre-sessional English course. Your current IELTS score will be the factor in determining how many weeks you will require to take. Each student will be considered on a case by case basis.


Key point to remember: It is crucial to know which IELTS students need to sit for Tier 4 Visa for Study in the UK. To be eligible for the Pre-sessional English course you must have UKVI IELTS (Academic). If you feel that you may not get the required score in your IELTS test, ask your IELTS test registration centre to register you for UKVI IELTS (academic).


Areas covered in Pre-sessional English course

Normally, the course covers the following areas

  • General English
  • Academic English
  • Listening to lectures
  • Taking notes
  • Reading academic topics
  • Extended writing
  • Research project
  • Group discussions
  • Giving presentations


Teaching methods for Pre-sessional English course

Teaching methods for the course include seminars, lectures, tutorials and workshops. In addition, students engage in independent study involving directed and self-directed learning. You will be assigned your own Guidance or Personal Tutor who will provide academic and pastoral supports. This tutor will be your first point of contact if you require personal and/or academic supports.


Assessment methods for Pre-sessional English course

Most of the universities’ assessment methods will involve

  • Written research project on an academic subject;
  • Portfolio of written tasks built up during the course;
  • Oral presentation on an academic topic;
  • Reading to writing exam for academic English;
  • Listening exam

If you successfully pass the assessments you will not have to take another English exam, such as IELTS to progress on to your degree course.



Aims of Pre-sessional English course

The main aims of Pre-sessional English course are to

  • Develop your English language skills to meet university requirements for your chosen degree course;
  • Improve your academic study skills, in addition to your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills;
  • Introduce yourself to life in the UK and to British culture;
  • Develop your understanding of university systems and procedures;
  • Build confidence and prepare you for the independent learning which is important at British universities;
  • Improve your general level of English;
  • Familiarise you with your University services and facilities;
  • Develop your ability to learn in an international environment



Learning outcomes of Pre-sessional English course


  • Improved efficiency & fluency in general and academic English language;
  • Developed study & academic skills which will enhance your ability to cope with the demands of your future degree course;
  • Gaining a range of skills including critical thinking, questioning, discussion, reflection and analysis;
  • Improved confidence and competence to research academic subject, deal with a range of academic texts, attend lectures, take part in seminars and tutorials, and produce extended written academic assignments;
  • Acquisition of ideas and concepts necessary to participate in the global academic community.



Progression route from Pre-sessional English course

Once you complete your Pre-sessional English course and successfully pass the assessments, you will be able to progress on to your chosen degree course at the University.



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