The aim of the Pre-Sessional course is to provide a solid foundation for your studies at the University of St Andrews by helping you to develop the English language proficiency, skills, knowledge and experience that will help you to succeed in your undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
The course will increase your confidence in using English, and help you become more familiar with the kind of assignments used for assessments on your degree.
It also encourages you to mix with an international group of students, allowing you to make friends from around the world and enabling you to feel part of our international student community and so become better integrated into University life.
By the end of the Pre-Sessional course you will be able to:
- plan and write an essay of 1500 words
- deliver an engaging and appropriately structured presentation
- listen more effectively and take better notes in lectures
- take part more confidently in seminars and discussions
- find appropriate source materials and use strategies that enable quicker and more critical reading
- tune into different accents and deal better with idiomatic language.
You will also become a more autonomous, reflective and critical learner, and one familiar with the key policies and procedures relating to learning and teaching at the University. Understanding how our systems work will help you to be a more effective student, faster.
English for Academic Purposes (EAP) classes are typically taught in small groups of 12 students or fewer. These classes take place daily and focus primarily on the two key skill areas of writing and speaking.
Writing classes include advanced English language study across a range of academic genres and incorporate an analysis of approaches to reading for writing. Tasks include:
- writing an essay (with one-to-one feedback on your first draft, and written and oral feedback on your final submission)
- a critical review of a book or journal article
- a piece of reflective writing
- an essay question completed under time pressure to help develop exam writing techniques.
Speaking classes focus on presentation skills and participating in a group presentation as well as making an individual presentation. Your ability to work in a team and to negotiate roles in group tasks is important for your student life and your future career, and one that will enhance your interpersonal communication skills.
Working on the physical aspects of presenting such as body language, use of voice and pacing, alongside the technical aspects of slide design and the effective use of visuals will help you become a more confident and dynamic presenter.
In the speaking classes, you will also practice the skills required for participating in a seminar, which include reading strategies that help with identifying and researching relevant source materials and selecting key concepts to structure an argument.
Tutorials and workshops
One-to-one tutorials are arranged between tutors and students during the course to allow for more focused feedback on writing and to help facilitate deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in your work.
There are workshop sessions designed to focus on specific areas of language, including grammar, pronunciation, and strategies for listening and taking notes in lectures. Your teachers may direct you to particular lessons, based on their assessment of your performance in class.
Academic lectures and seminars
The programme also includes an engaging series of academic lectures and seminars covering a broad range of disciplines and subject areas.
These lectures feature academic subject specialists from a cross-section of Schools. They offer a useful introduction to the process of preparing for lectures and practising effective listening and note-taking as well as reading and preparing for seminars.
Other features of the course include an event hosted in the Student Union which introduces students to many of the key services and related staff from across the University, including Student Services, Careers, the Sports Centre, the Chaplaincy and the Music Centre.
A library visit in small groups is designed to familiarise you with all the services available within the library and help you learn how you can search for relevant and appropriate sources to help with assignments.
Sports facilities, both indoor and outdoor, are booked one afternoon a week to allow you the opportunity to use tennis courts and football pitches, as well as badminton and basketball.
Saturday trips to Edinburgh and Glasgow offer the chance to become acquainted with Scotland’s largest cities, and a beautiful coastal walk in the East Neuk of Fife allows you a glimpse of some of the spectacular scenery around St Andrews.
There are two evening ceilidhs (Scottish dance parties) with a live band that enable you to learn some of the better known and most enjoyable dances. The ceilidh is always one of the most memorable events in the social life of the Pre-sessional, and many students go on to join ceilidh clubs and societies. As well as being an opportunity to make friends, the ceilidh gives you a real sense of the Scottish dimension of the University and the town.
To successfully complete your course, you must attend all obligatory classes, lectures, seminars and workshops and complete all assignments (assessed and non-assessed).
For students with a conditional offer, you must achieve an overall score of 11 on the University's 20-point marking scale to fulfil the conditions of your offer. Further explanation of assessment and progression will be provided during orientation.