Skip navigation to content

Frequently asked questions about iELS tutorials

The following links take you to the questions we are most frequently asked. If you do not find an answer to your question, email iELS.

Who is iELS for?

Who can use the service?

The service is open to matriculated students of the University, who use English as an additional language and who have yet to submit their final piece of coursework or complete their final assessment.

What is the English language provision for those in the University who are not matriculated students?

If you are a visiting scholar or visiting student, you may be eligible for ESOL support, which is provided by Fife Council. The same is true for a husband/wife/partner who has accompanied you to St Andrews. Find out more about this provision: ESOL webpage.

Booking & Preparing a Tutorial

How do I book my first tutorial?

To help you get the best from the iELS service, we recommend that you book an introductory tutorial. Instructions on how to do this can be found here.

What do I need to know to send in a sample of my work?

  • Sending in work - If you would like a tutor to give you feedback on a piece of work, you should book a tutorial for this purpose before sending your work to iELS.
  • Timing - Email your work to iELS at least two working days before the tutorial, otherwise tutors will not have time to prepare for your tutorial.  For example, if you have a tutorial on a Monday, send in your work by the Thursday of the previous week. 
  • Type of work - You may send a piece of writing, grammar exercises or spoken work.
  • Maximum length of work - Writing (800 words), exercises (3 pages), and recording of spoken work (5 minutes).
  • Status of work - The piece of writing can be taken from a piece of work you have already submitted, or a piece of work you are going to submit.
  • Labelling work - At the top of your work, write your name and the date of your appointment. Give the same information in the name of your file e.g. yourname_10sept.
  • Format - Send written work in Word format.
  • Line spacing - Use 1.5 or 2 line spacing.

How long and how frequent are the tutorials?

Undergraduate and taught postgraduate students may book one 25-minute tutorial per week. Research postgraduate students may book one 50-minute tutorial per fortnight. In both cases, this is subject to availability.

What should I do if I need to cancel my tutorial?

If you are unable to attend a tutorial for any reason, cancel your tutorial using the booking form. Where possible, cancel at least two working days in advance. Repeated failure to cancel at least two working days in advance will result in a ban from the tutorial service.

Do I have to pay?

No, this service is free and provided for you by ELT.

Who are the tutors?

The tutors you will meet are qualified and experienced teachers of English for Academic Purposes. They are based in the School of English Language Teaching (ELT).

Will you tell my school I am using iELS?

No, we don’t tell your school unless you have been officially referred to the service by one of your tutors.


How much progress can I expect to make?

The progress you make depends on a number of factors. You will probably enhance your progress if you come to class/tutorials on a regular basis, review material at home and actively seek opportunities to practise your English outside of class time. One way you can do this is by doing voluntary work. You could contact one of the main local organisations, Volunteer Centre Fife, for more information.

What happens if I have major problems with my English?

If you have major problems with your English, please contact us as soon as possible. Ignoring a problem will not make it disappear. You should also discuss any difficulties you are having with one of your lecturers.

Language Correction/Proofreading

Are you a language correction service?

No, we do not provide a language correction (proofreading) service, apart from the case of CVs/covering letters. However, language correction skills are taught in the writing workshops to help you with this challenging aspect of writing academic English. In tutorials, you can learn to become more aware of your typical errors and of how to make your own writing more accurate. In this case, book a tutorial and send a sample of your writing in advance.

Can you put me in touch with a language correction service?

No, but there is a list of proofreaders available at the bottom of the study skills webpage.

Will you proofread my CV or covering letter?

iELS tutors are happy to help you with the language accuracy of your CV or covering letter. In this case, please book a tutorial and send in your CV/covering letter to iELS two days (not including the weekend) in advance of your tutorial.


What is the difference between the In-sessional English Language Service and CAPOD's Study Skills Provision?

The main differences are that the In-sessional English Language Service is exclusively aimed at the needs of users of English as an additional language and works with students at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. It focuses on three areas of academic literacy: language, culture, and academic practice.

How can I give feedback?

If you have a comment to make on the service, good or bad, please let us know by emailing iELS. iELS invites you to give your feedback via an evaluation form which will be emailed to you.

Contact us

iELS Co-ordinator

Janie Brooks

Kennedy Gardens
St Andrews
KY16 9DJ
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (1334) 461785