Pre-sessional English Courses

All you need to know about pre-sessional English courses. What are they? How are they different to IELTS? Where can you study them?

What are they?

Pre-sessional English courses are short courses which seek to better the English of international or overseas students with either a conditional offer, or the aim to study a UK university degree.

While pre-sessional courses commonly range from 4 to 12 weeks in length, it all depends on the individual’s current English language level, and the language level required by their chosen degree.

Who needs it?  

Pre-sessional English course students are, more often than not, international or overseas students whose first language is not English. Students can also be those who:

  • have yet to meet the minimum language requirement of their conditional offer;
  • are joining an exchange programme in the UK (e.g. Erasmus or Study Abroad);
  • and / or are planning to progress onto a degree programme at a UK university.

Though, there are rare cases where people do a Pre-sessional English course just to familiarise themselves with British university culture and life before beginning their actual studies… We’re not here to judge!


Who provides them?

Many HEIs (Higher Education Institutions), as well as Pathway Providers, offer Pre-sessional English courses that are tailored to the degree programmes they offer.

Whilst it makes more sense for individuals to choose the same university of their intended degree course, it is important to consider the gap between their current and required language level to be accepted for their intended degree course.

Length of Pre-sessional English course Score difference to achieve conditional offer requirement
4 – 6 weeks 0.5
8 – 12 weeks 1.0
16 – 24 weeks 1.5

This is due to the reason that some UK universities offer lengthier pre-sessional courses than others (e.g. 100+ weeks pre-sessional courses), which are more useful in some cases!

Here is a short list of the HEI Pre-sessional English course providers:

·         Royal Holloway University, London ·         University of Oxford
·         University of Essex ·         University of Edinburgh

A short list of some Pathway providers and their partner universities:

To check whether a university offers Pre-sessional English courses, contact Team AppUK on

What are the entry requirements for a Pre-sessional?

Pre-sessional English course programme students are expected to have at least a basic level of knowledge in the English language. Different universities however, have different levels of minimum English language requirements. It is therefore advisable to check with us before making your decision.

What happens after the Pre-sessional course? Is there an assessment?

Unfortunately, yes. After the Pre-sessional course is fully completed, a test with four different components – Listening, Speaking, Writing and Reading (similar to IELTS exams) – follows.

The big difference between a Pre-sessional’s assessment and an IELTS examination however, is that the test will cover what was taught during the Pre-sessional course. IELTS tests are a more general English exam.

Is there a high success rate for Pre-sessional students?

The short version – yes (hooray!). In comparison to the IELTS rate, Pre-sessional English courses tend to have a higher pass rate. For instance, the Brunel Language Centre (Brunel University London) reported that their Pre-sessional programmes  have an average pass rate of 96%. Plymouth University also hold a ‘high student success rate’ for their Pre-sessional courses.

What are the pros & cons of doing a Pre-sessional?

Pros 😊 Cons
A large variety – Tailors to different needs, hence better chances at succeeding Costly
UK study experience, prior to intended degree course Time consuming
Enhancing your English Language ability Examination
No need to take the IELTS repeatedly  

 Pre-sessional English course vs. Internal English Test

University Internal English Tests are distinct English tests created by universities.

Internal English Tests are much shorter in duration since they do not require the need for classes nor lessons. While they are also similar to the IELTS tests, which assesses four different components at once, they are only offered by a limited amount of UK universities such as Birmingham City University and Coventry University.


For more information, and to apply for a pre-sessional course, contact Team AppUK on


ApplicationUK’s easy-to-use online application portal provides a simple solution to postgraduate application stress. With its smart digital self-assessment tool, personalised application plan, and application tracking system, you can be rest assured that your application will go through smoothly. Our experienced counsellors are also here to provide expert advice, reassurance, and continuous support.

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IELTS – Commonly Asked Questions


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration. It is a pre-requisite for obtaining a Tier 4 visa, and a good IELTS grade is usually required by universities when applying for Masters courses in the UK. Previously, we gave advice on ‘How to prepare for IELTS’, explaining the test procedure, and what to do in the lead up to it.

Here, we answer your most commonly asked questions, hopefully making what is quite a confusing process, a lot simpler for you!

Which type of IELTS should I take?

There are two types of IELTS; IELTS (Academic) UKVI, and IELTS (Academic). The main difference is that you will need IELTS (Academic) UKVI if you are applying for a visa to study in the UK. There are some exceptions, and UK universities will accept IELTS (Academic), but you don’t want to take any chances. After all, no visa = no study!

What score do I need in my IELTS results?

The results you need will depend on the university and course you wish to attend, as entry requirements vary. You can check this by searching for your chosen universities here. However, as a general rule, master’s courses need an IELTS of between 6.0 and 7.0. The majority of Engineering courses require 6.0, and Business courses 6.5. For courses such as English Literature, where a high proficiency in English is needed, 7.0 is often asked for. In addition to this, the majority of IELTS will also have a minimum individual scoring level, for example: a university may be looking for an overall average of 6.5, but with no individual score lower than 5.0.

Where can I take the IELTS?

UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) have a certain number of approved English language test centres that meet Home Office requirements. If you are intending on using your IELTS in your UK immigration application, you must ensure that you take your tests in one of these centres. Details of approved test centres can be found here.

How do I register for IELTS?

We recommend registering through British Council, who will take you step by step through the registration process, and have a number of UKVI approved test centres around the world. They will also make it clear whether you are applying for IELTS (Academic) UKVI or not.

Click here to apply through British Council.

What will the IELTS consist of?

Below is a handy chart detailing the components of the IELTS (Academic) exam, so you can know what to expect in advance.


With the UKVI approved IELTS, you can also take a pre-sessional course. These last for between 3 and 20 weeks and focus on improving your academic English. They cover areas such as academic writing, note-taking, and presentation skills. Find out more about IELTS pre-sessional courses here.

For information and tips on taking IELTS, please visit the below links:

General IELTS help and guidance

IELTS tips

IELTS practice papers

If you have any further questions or queries on IELTS for postgraduate study, please contact Team AppUK on

For queries on IELTS for undergraduate study, please contact UKEC on


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Studying ACCA: The UK vs Malaysia

Acquiring the ACCA qualification is an increasingly popular educational pathway choice for Malaysian students, and there are a variety of reasons why. ACCA pathways lead to the accountancy profession, which lead to some of the highest starting salaries for graduates. But first of all – what exactly is the ACCA?


What is ACCA?

ACCA is an acronym for Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and exists as the global body for professional accountants, providing services through a network of 95 offices and centres. The global scope of the ACCA is also reflected in its members in over 173 countries. The ACCA aims to offer internationally business-relevant, first choice qualifications to people who wish to establish a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. As a first-class accounting qualification, it is naturally the popular option for those who are seeking a career in accountancy or management. However, it is important to note that while the ACCA is an accounting qualification, it is not a degree.


The ACCA consists of 14 papers. Students will also need to record 36 months of experience in a relevant role, in addition to a Professional Ethics module. See below for more details:

ACCA structure (composed of Fundamentals and Professional modules)

Fundamentals module (9 papers in total)

• Knowledge module

F1 Accountant in Business

F2 Management Accounting

F3 Financial Accounting

• Skills module

F4 Corporate and Business Law

F5 Performance Management

F6 Taxation

F7 Financial Reporting

F8 Audit and Assurance

F9 Financial Management

Professional module (5 papers in total)

• Essentials

P1 Governance, Risk and Ethics

P2 Corporate Reporting

P3 Business Analysis

Options (two to be completed)

P4 Advanced Financial Management

P5 Advanced Performance Management

P6 Advanced Taxation

P7 Advanced Audit and Assurance

Work experience

• Need to undergo three years of relevant work experience and achieve 13 of the performance objectives.


Key selling points of the ACCA

The ACCA is an extremely flexible qualification. Examinations are held twice a year in June and December, and the ACCA gives the freedom to complete the ACCA Qualification in 10 years from the date of registration. Plenty of their papers also offer exemptions for students who have studied at degree level as well, which means students who have studied a BSc Accountancy or equivalent degree can apply to be exempt from a number of ACCA fundamental papers. Once students have completed all the objectives listed above, the student will have acquired their ACCA qualification.

Find more information on the official ACCA website located here. A list of Universities that can offer students with 7 or more exemptions from the ACCA Foundation paper can be found here.


Studying in Malaysia vs Studying in UK

Given the popularity of the UK as a potential destination for Malaysian students, what are the major selling points of studying ACCA in the UK, as opposed to domestically (in Malaysia)? In Malaysia, there is a fast-track option for students to study the ACCA within 3 years. It is cost-effective and the fastest route to acquiring the ACCA qualification, and involves diving straight into the Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) qualification and ACCA after studying SPM/O-Level. For those who wish to acquire their ACCA qualification as soon as possible, with the potential to start their career at the early age of 20/21, then this fast-track method would be very attractive indeed.



Studying in the UK has been proven to be a great, life-changing experience

• Studying in the UK offers an enriched, unforgettable experience for students. UK research is “world-leading” and “internationally excellent”, according to the Research Assessment Framework. Student satisfaction in the UK is also at its highest, with 86% of students are satisfied overall with their course (Source). International students have the benefits of enjoying a world-leading education system while immersing themselves with the culture and lifestyle of one of the most historically significant European countries on the planet.


For international students, a UK degree promises excellent salary prospects

• UK degree education also promises a competitive salary, according to the Tracking International Graduate Outcomes study (BIS, 2011), UK educated international graduates achieve higher average salaries than if they had been educated at home. This is a remarkable statistic that should ultimately encourage the most ambitious graduates to choose UK as their next study destination!


UK universities have industry-leading collaborations and internship opportunities

• UK education focuses on practical application and work experience, meaning a vast range of degree programs have work placement opportunities, year-in-industry options, and more. Employers especially recognise and acknowledge this. According to the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2014-15, over two thirds of businesses in the UK have university links, with over a third partnering with universities for research and innovation (CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey 2014). Work experience during university also counts towards the professional placement ACCA requirement, which is an added bonus!


The Bachelor degree has become a staple for ambitious job-seekers

• Acquiring a Bachelor degree is widely regarded as a staple to achieving your brightest career goals. This means that even after studying an ACCA, students may find that their experiences and job prospects may not equal the opposing student who studied abroad, acquired a degree and built up their CV. A Bachelor degree ultimately gives students a necessary edge in the job market.


A degree program that offers both the ACCA and UK educational experience?

• Oxford Brookes’ ACCA degree program (BSc Applied Accounting) offers to solve the dilemma by combining the opportunity to study abroad in the UK, with ACCA exemptions and a final degree classification award. The program at Oxford Brookes was developed in conjunction with the ACCA, and specifically aimed at the students who wish to obtain a degree while studying their ACCA. The combination of the ACCA and a degree level certification is powerful, increasing career prospects and also making students stand out. As stated on the website, the collaboration offers ACCA students the opportunity to gain a further prestigious award, achievement recognition within professional development, in addition to a firmer foundation to further professional development.


In summary, there are a vast range of factors to consider whilst making the all-important decision of whether or not to study in the UK. Given the current nature of the global job market, international exposure and education is increasingly becoming an essential pre-requisite for the best career opportunities. And with the availability of ACCA accredited degree programs at Oxford Brookes that also offer a degree level education, studying ACCA in the UK will certainly turn out to be a worthy investment.

Whatever your decision may be, just bear in mind that there is a bursary worth £300 for every student who successfully enrolls to a course via our website because helping students’ realise their ambitions is what we do. In the meantime, we want to hear your thoughts so give us a shoutout on Facebook and Instagram!

11 tips to help you revise effectively

Image source: Recruitment Results

This Tom and Jerry relationship that we students have with exams is often a difficult line to toe. As exam season approaches, we want to provide some assistance to those who have absolutely no idea how they are going to pass this one. Continue reading “11 tips to help you revise effectively”

20 British slang terms/phrases you need to know

So you think you’ve heard it all just because you’ve seen all the Harry Potter movies and Love Actually? Well, perhaps you do know a few good ones but British slang has so much more to offer. Here we are, giving you a list of UK slang and colloquialisms.Weekend

Learn them, memorise them, start getting used to them because if you’re planning to study in the UK, these are the terms and phrases you’ll be hearing everyday so get practising with us! Continue reading “20 British slang terms/phrases you need to know”

Is the English language important? Yes? No?

Whether it is for personal, study or work-related reason, we cannot stress the importance of learning English enough in this increasingly interconnected and globalised world. Allow us to share with you on some of the reasons on the importance of learning English language. Continue reading “Is the English language important? Yes? No?”

British v American English

Here at UKEC, we relate tothe struggle in trying to differentiate between American (AmE) and British English (BrE). Some countries may have adopted the American spelling and grammar in their English, such as the Phillippines, but for the rest of Asia, generally the British version is used.

americanversusbritishenglishImage source: TEFL Courses

We have put together a list including some of the most common confusions international students face when studying in the UK and learning BrE: Continue reading “British v American English”

10 essential study hacks that every student should know

SPM & STPM may be over, but the term is about to begin. You know, university term.

We all know that every student (in fact everyone) dislikes exams. Let us share some tricks with you to make them a little more bearable.

Give Your Notes a Makeoverlandscape-1431384870-notes Continue reading “10 essential study hacks that every student should know”

5 tips to improve your English

Apart from the tests, textbooks, exams and exercises, there are other things that you can do to learn and improve your English skills that you might actually enjoy! Yes, that is possible, and here is how:


oldbooksImage source: JSTOR Daily

#1 Read a book in English

Do you have a favourite book in your native language that you love so much that you have read a million times? Well, read it again for the million and first time, but in English. This is good because you’re already familiar with the context and books are translated into so many languages these days.


#2 Watch a movie in English, with English subtitles

This is a brilliant way to strengthen your listening as well as speaking skills. Language in movies is far more informal and fit for everyday use than what you would find in a textbook so listen out for the pronunciation, rewind if necessary.


#3 Listen to English music

If you’re not a big reader, you can always read lyrics and sing along to a song… or better yet, tons of lyric videos are ready at your fingertip on YouTube. Just make sure you have a dictionary ready to look up any unfamiliar words.


hair-associates-twitter-iphoneImage source: Medya

#4 Follow English social media accounts

Celebrities, sport stars, politicians, UKEC (!!), anything goes. This way you can learn some English in bite-sized chunks while you do your morning scroll everyday (and it’s only 140 letters on Twitter!)

iphone-6s-34Image source:

#5 Change your phone’s language setting to English

Sticking with the tech theme, this may not seem the most helpful but you will introduce new words to your vocabulary that will come in handy.


We hope you found these little tips and tricks useful, give us a shout over at social media and tell us what you think! Happy studying!

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10 revision tips to help you ace that exam!

We all know before we get to the heavenly summer holidays, we have to go through a little bit of hell first. By hell, we of course mean exams and assignment deadlines! We know it get’s boring and repetitive, so we’ve put together a few ‘top tips’ to make revision that bit easier! Onwards! Continue reading “10 revision tips to help you ace that exam!”