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 less than 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 or on Grammar Improvement.

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 lesson ‘Academic Literacy’ course or longer 6 week 'Academic Essay Writing' 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 6 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 lesson ‘Academic Literacy’ course or longer 'Academic Essay Writing' 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’ or longer 'Academic Essay Writing' course in order to develop a greater academic focus to their language.