SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

In-sessional Academic English Support FAQs

  • How often do In-sessional courses run and how are they organised?

    In-sessional courses run in 'blocks' which are long enough for a short course to be completed.

    Some courses run across two blocks (eg if it is a 10 week course starting in the middle of term 1).

    There are five blocks of In-sessional courses throughout the year which correspond to the terms and half terms. 

    Block 1 is the first half of term 1 (starting second week of term)

    Block 2 the second half of term 1

    Block 3 the first half of term 2

    Block 4 the second half of term 2

    Block 5 the first half of term 3

    There are no lessons during Reading Weeks.

  • What are the dates for the blocks 2019-20?
    • Block 1 October 7th to November 1st 2019
    • Block 2 November 11th to December 13th 2019
    • Block 3 January 6th to February 7th 2020
    • Block 4 February 17th to March 20th 2020
    • Block 5 April 20th to May 22nd 2020
  • How do I apply for In-sessional courses?
    For Block 1 the application form will be available at the end of September around the end of Welcome Week. Or for example for Block 2 courses the application form will be available in week 4 or 5 of term 1. For Block 3 courses, the application should be up at the end of term 1.

    When filled in, your application will be considered for course placement. Course placement is done largely on a first-come-first served basis with those with recommendations and requirements prioritised over those without.

    If you are not happy with your first application (for example if your timetable changes), you can send in another one, but usually the later the application the less chance you have of being placed.

  • When is the application form available?

    The application form is a link to be found in the In-sessional home pages.

    Usually the application form will become available at a time close to the Block start date- a week or so before, or in the case where there is a holiday at the end of the preceding term.

    For Block 1 courses the application form will be available towards the end of Welcome Week.

    For Block 2 courses the application form will usually be available in week 4 or 5 of term 1.

    For Block 3 courses, the application should be up in the middle of December at the end of term 1.

    For Block 4 courses around week 4 or 5 and for Block 5 courses in the last week of term 2.

  • Is it OK to apply for more than one course at a time?

    Yes, feel free to apply to as many different courses as you like. You may only be placed on one because of demand. If there is one course you particularly want to do at a particular time you can just apply for that one, or you can spread your choices.

  • I don't have an In-sessional Recommendation or Requirement - can I apply?

    Yes, In-sessional courses are open to all speakers of English as a second language at SOAS, except staff members and IFCELS students. However, those with recommendations or requirements will be placed first.

  • I'm an external student. Can I apply?

    Yes, but it is unlikely you would be placed in term 1. We offer places to external students according to supply and demand. We charge external students for courses.

    20 hour courses cost £380.00
    10 hour courses cost £190.00

  • I have applied for a course; why haven’t I heard back?

    After the application deadline is reached the In-sessional programme tutor will start to allocate classes. As places are limited not everyone will be placed. Then in the next few days he will inform applicants by e-mail of whether they have been allocated a class or not.

  • Do I have to attend all classes if I sign up?
    Yes you should attend all classes.
    Sometimes you may need to miss a lesson if you are unwell or have an important deadline. If this is the case, please let your teacher know by e-mailing them in advance. If you have a recommendation or requirement you will need to attend 75% of lessons to fulfil your recommendation or requirement.
  • What should I do if I don’t get placed on the In-sessional course of my choosing?

    In-sessional courses run in 5 blocks throughout the year, so you can apply again for the next block. Each block runs through half the term so Block 1 is the autumn term, Block 2 is after Reading Week first term, Block 3 is from the start of the Spring term and so on. Different times for different courses are offered in different blocks.

    Also there are a number of other resources available to you.

    • In-sessional Resources page on BLE
    • 'Skills' drop down menu on BLE ‘English Language Skills’. These are online self-study activities on different areas of Academic English which take about 20-30 minutes per unit. They cover all four skill areas in English and grammar and vocabulary exercises also.
    • CILT - the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching lead various study skill workshops. Check their webpages for details.
    • Online resources - other than the resources we offer the internet has many useful resources for non native students. Have a look on the In-sessional web pages and the In-sessional BLE page for some ideas.
    • Books - there are a number of really useful books available that will help you with your approaches to writing, reading, speaking and listening. Go to Waterstones in Malet street EFL/ linguistics section or browse online.There is a list of suggested books on the In-sesssional web pages.
    • Study group- try forming a study group with your peers. There will be someone in your group who has useful knowledge of academic skills to share with you.
  • Do my In-sessional courses show up on my timetable?

    No they don’t, so you need to keep a record of the room number, course title and teacher from the confirmation e-mail you receive if you are placed on a course. Also it is a good idea to keep a note of which courses you have applied for (as there is no ‘receipt’ for this) when filling in the application form.

  • What's the difference between Academic Essay Writing and Academic Literacy?

    The Academic Essay Writing course is a nine week course which is designed for those with a lower IELTS profile or who are new to academic English. It takes the students step by step through the basics of of essay writing - title analysis, thesis statements, counter-argument, referencing and so on. Academic Literacy is a much shorter course, designed for those with some previous knowledge of academic English writing, which also covers some of the basics of essay writing but also focuses more quickly on issues which are of concern to the particular class - it is usually more of a bespoke course.

  • Should I do CILT or In-sessionals?

    Both In-sessionals and CILT offer study skill support sessions.

    CILT (Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching) study skill sessions are designed for those with first language speaker competencies so the pace of delivery is sometimes much faster than in an In-sessional class which is led by an EAP (English for Academic Purposes) teacher.

    Furthermore the content input is much quicker- often over 1 or 2 x 2 hour sessions, compared to 4-10 x 2 hour sessions for In-sessonals.

    Also for In-sessionals most courses have classes of 10-15 students, with closer contact with the teacher, whereas CILT often takes the form of a lecture workshop approach with bigger numbers. Both CILT and In-sessionals offer 1-1 support, but the method of enrolment is different.

    So if you feel you are close in your abilities to a first language learner then CILT may be for you. But if you are closer in profile to English as a second language, In-sessional courses will probably be more useful.

  • What is a 1-1 tutorial?

    A 1-1 tutorial is a half hour session with an EAP teacher which is catered to your particular needs. Often it will involve a close look at some writing you have done, but it could focus on reading skills or pronunciation issues for example. On the In-sessional course you get 4 or 5 half hour sessions in one block.