Course content - 10-week April Pre-sessional (online)

You will focus on the key academic skills and language you’ll need to succeed in your future studies with us.

After finishing the course, I did not feel unfamiliar or nervous at the beginning of my degree programme. The Pre-sessional course is a good way to adapt to university life when you are an international student.

Lingxuan Meng From China / Online 10-Week Pre-Sessional Course.

The course aims to:

  • raise your level of English language proficiency and academic skills;
  • improve your confidence working in an academic environment;
  • help to prepare you for studying at this University.

Your studies will include:

  • 12 hours per week of tutor-led sessions in groups of up to 18 students;
  • between 10-15 hours per week of interactive tasks to be completed either in study groups of up to five students or individually online;
  • an individual 20-minute tutorial meeting with your tutor every two weeks.


Sample timetable:

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday


Tutor-led session

Academic reading: 
Reading for main ideas

Academic reading: 
Navigating a journal article

Self Study

Academic speaking: 
Referring to journal articles in a seminar

Individual tutorials
10.30am -11.00am  B R E A K 

11.00am -

Tutor-led session

 Academic listening: 
Taking notes in lectures 

Academic reading: 
Taking notes when reading

Academic writing: 
Rewording information from sources

Academic speaking: 
Pronunciation - English sounds

Individual tutorials

12.30pm -

 B R E A K 

1.30pm -2.30pm

Study groups


Academic listening: 
Listening to a lecture

Academic speaking: 
Discussion from the lecture


Academic speaking: 
Reflecting on seminar performance

1-2 hours

Individual study

Academic language: 
Using the academic word list in writing


Academic speaking: 
Seminar preparation - reading journal articles


Academic language: 


Varying sentence structures

*All times are local, UK time

There is flexibility for you to choose when to do the individual tasks, but you must attend the tutor-led sessions and study groups at the specified time. 


Engagement with the course

In order for you to successfully complete the course, you must meet the required level in each academic skill - this will vary across degree programmes - and engage with the course.

Throughout the course, you will engage in 2 assessed projects: one will focus on using reading texts to produce a piece of writing; the other will focus on using video and audio recordings to produce a presentation. All assessments will be online. 

During the course, your tutor will give you a set of academic texts to read and discuss and a question to answer using the texts. You will be assessed on the writing you produce and how well you support your answer using these academic sources. 

Throughout the course, you will read and make notes on extracts from academic journals and books and you will be assessed on your understanding of these texts.


During the course, you will listen to and make notes on recordings, including academic talks, and you will be assessed on your understanding of these. 

At the end of the course,  you will give a small group presentation using the recordings you have listened to and reading texts you have been provided with.

Disengagement with the course will be reported to your academic School and will likely be taken into consideration at future exam boards.


Technical requirements

All materials will be electronic and accessed via Blackboard, which is our virtual learning environment (VLE).

All assessments will be online.

To access these aspects of the course you must have:

  • access to a laptop or a tablet - mobile phones are not suitable;
  • a fast, reliable internet connection (we recommend a minimum speed of 2mbps).
  • a webcam;
  • a microphone;
  • headphones.