SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

Information for Students with an In-sessional Requirement

If your offer letter states that you are required to have In-sessional academic English support, this could be for a number of reasons.

If you submitted IELTS or TOEFL test evidence:

Normally this means that the assessment of the test has identified a skills area or a number of skills areas that fall slightly below our normal minimum conditional English language requirement, e.g. scoring 6.5 in IELTS in one or more of the four skills sub-scores.

In most cases a student will be required to take an in-sessional English course that focuses on the weaker skills area, e.g. Reading and Note-taking, Academic Essay Writing, Seminar Discussion and Presentation Skills

If your academic English proficiency was assessed on the basis that you have used English extensively as the medium of study or work:

There could be a number of reasons why an In-sessional recommendation has been suggested under these circumstances.

  1. A significant amount of time may have passed since you completed your previous studies.
    In this case, students are normally asked to follow a 4 or 5-lesson ‘Academic Literacy’ course in order to regain a greater academic focus to their English.
  2. Your previous study may have been predominantly mathematical or scientific, and therefore may have involved little essay-based work.
    In this case, students normally follow a 9 or 10 week 'Academic Essay Writing' course.
  3. You used English as the medium of study at university but it did not take place in a country where English is the first language.
    In this case, students are normally asked to follow a 4 or 5-lesson ‘Academic Literacy’ course in order to familiarise themselves with the expectations of British academic discourse.
  4. You used English as the medium of study at university but references accompanying your application mention areas of your language which need further development.
    In this case students are required to follow a course or courses which would best suit the nature of the language weakness identified in the references, e.g. Academic Essay Writing, Seminar Discussion and Presentation Skills, Grammar Improvement.
  5. You have worked for a significant time in an English-speaking environment using both written and spoken English extensively.
    In this case, students are normally asked to follow a 4 or 5-lesson ‘Academic Literacy’ course in order to develop a greater academic focus to their language.

Placement on the Insessional Orientation course

You may be recommended to attend the Insessional Orientation course. This is a one week long course in Academic English and Study Skills, which is free of charge and takes place during Welcome week. It is available to Undergraduate and Taught Masters students. The course is offered to those who fit one of two categories:

1.  The profile for direct entry with an Insessional Orientation course recommendation which is, or the equivalent of, 6.5 IELTS overall with 6.5 in writing and speaking and 6.0 in reading and listening.  

2.  Those who have qualified for direct entry with regular Insessional recommendations but have 3 recommendations. For example, the profile might be IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.5 in reading, listening and writing and 7.0 in speaking. Three scores at 6.5 would indicate 3 Insessional courses were recommended and you would then be placed in the Insessional Orientation course, being considered as someone who would benefit from this kind of initial support.

On completion of the In-sessional Orientation course you may be given Insessional recommendations for further In-sessional study depending on the recommendation of the teacher.