International College
Student pathways to The University of Sheffield

How to improve English and academic skills

Posted 27 July 2015
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Improving your English and academic skills

At the University of Sheffield International College, you’ll find two courses specially designed to help international students improve both their English and academic skills so that they can succeed at UK university degree level.

These courses are designed to help students who do not meet the direct entry requirements for either an undergraduate or Masters degree to achieve the required level of knowledge and language skills to enter into a degree programme in the UK.

International Foundation Year courses

  • These courses are designed to give you all the preparation you need to gain entry into a degree programme at The University of Sheffield.
  • You can choose between two study routes: Business, Law and Social Sciences; or Science and Engineering.
  • Both routes offer an intensive two- or three-term programme consisting of English language preparation; study skills, to help you get accustomed to UK university teaching methods and study techniques, and subject-specific modules to introduce you to your chosen degree subject.

Pre-Masters courses

  • These courses are designed to help international students prepare for entry into a masters or postgraduate degree programme at the University of Sheffield.
  • As with International Foundation Year courses you can choose between two study routes: Business, Law and Social Sciences; or Science and Engineering.
  • You’ll take part in tutorials, seminar-style classes, and larger group lectures to prepare you for a taught postgraduate degree in the Faculty of Social Science, School of Law, Management School, the Faculty of Engineering or the Faculty of Science.
  • These intensive two- or three- term courses include a mixture of English language preparation, to ensure your English language is up to Masters degree standard; academic subjects that prepare you for your chosen Masters subject; and study skills, to get you acquainted with UK teaching and study techniques.

Improving your English language skills

Some international students have achieved the academic grades they need to get into university, but their English language skills aren’t quite strong enough for them to successfully begin a UK degree programme.

At the University of Sheffield International College, international students need an IELTS score of 5.0 or more to enter into an International Foundation Year programme, and a score of 5.5 or more to gain entry to a Pre-Masters course, or a Pearson Test of English equivalent.

If your score is less than this, don’t worry. The International College offers two courses designed for students who need to improve their IELTS scores specifically. Both are taught at the purpose-built English Language Teaching Centre, an accredited IELTS test centre.

The courses can be taken to boost your English language skills so that you’re confident and capable enough to speak and learn in English when your International Foundation Year or Pre-Masters course begins.

English Language Preparation (ELP) courses

On an ELP course you’ll study:

  • Core language development, using a core text and interactive learning lessons
  • Tutorials and classes on areas including speaking and pronunciation, Social English, grammar and vocabulary, examination preparation, and technology for language learning
  • A weekly lecture – great practice for your note-taking skills
  • Around 20 hours tuition per week, plus a 30-minute fortnightly tutorial

English for Pre-Masters (EPM) courses

On an EPM course you’ll study:

  • Core language development, using a core text to cover areas including reading, writing, speaking and listening, pronunciation and study skills
  • Afternoon classes that are tailored to specific areas of your language skills that need improvement, using your entry profile, ELTC baseline test and regular tutorial meetings to assess where you need help most
  • A weekly lecture where you can practice your English language note-taking skills
  • Examination preparation classes
  • Around 21 hours of tuition per week, plus a 30-minute fortnightly tutorial

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