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This content is taken from the Coventry University's online course, English for Academic Study. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 16 seconds Chun Chow is a qualified engineer in Beijing but is looking to further his career by taking a master’s degree in engineering project management.

Skip to 0 minutes and 25 seconds He’s found a great course in a British university but thinks he needs to improve his English to be accepted on this course. And he wants to understand what to expect on the course to give himself the best chance to succeed. He isn’t sure what to do next. Chun Chow is not alone. There are thousands of people across the world who want to improve their career prospects but who may need to improve their English to get a place on their degree course. And so, for many people, English is the passport to a qualification they want, a better job and achieving their personal goals. My name’s Mary Forbes and I’m the Director of Pre-sessional English courses at Coventry University.

Skip to 1 minute and 8 seconds Our online pre-sessional English course is specifically designed to help you improve your English language and study skills with an academic context in mind. This two-week taster course forms part of our 14 week online pre-sessional English programme. This award has been designed by myself and my team of academics so that you can improve your English for studying from wherever you are. You will meet academics and international students who will guide you to successfully complete this course. You will explore the meaning of vocabulary items which will help you to understand ideas, views and expectations about university practices in many English-speaking institutions around the world. And you will also practice ways of investigating form, meaning, pronunciation and uses of these new words.

Skip to 1 minute and 55 seconds This will help you to successfully approach your university studies and to understand what you can expect. Each week we will summarise answers to your questions, so you are clear on any points you’re not sure about. You can also join in the group discussion of topics covered during the week, you will share ideas with other learnings and be able to ask questions during the course on any topic or subject that we’ve covered. As for Chun Chow, he studied with us on our pre-sessional English course and has now secured his place on his master’s program.

Skip to 2 minutes and 32 seconds Hundreds of students like Chun Chow from places like China, other parts of Asia, the Middle East and many other parts of the world have successfully studied on the pre-sessional English course with us and moved on to a degree program of their choice. So, I hope this course will help you to prepare for your university studies by improving your English, building your skills and your confidence. Welcome and see you soon.


In this video, Mary Forbes, Director of Pre-sessional English at Coventry University, introduces you to this short course.

This is the first course in Coventry University’s Pre-sessional English Online award. The Pre-sessional Award is a preparation course for students planning to join a degree programme in the UK and whose first language is not English. It will prepare you for your studies by helping you to communicate successfully in an academic context. You will learn how to produce successful writing at university, how to use source texts in your work, and how to develop your listening skills. You will also have the opportunity to develop your presentation skills and look at effective ways to prepare for university assessments.

If you would like to join our Pre-sessional English Online Award, and have not yet done so, you can find more information on our website.

This week…

Through this week’s activities you will:

  • investigate key vocabulary and concepts for the UK university context 
  • explore approaches to teaching and learning in UK universities
  • develop dictionary skills
  • analyse and write definitions of key terms
  • use the phonemic chart to help you improve your pronunciation skills.

Meet the team

Your lead educators are listed below. You can follow them by clicking on their name and then clicking on the ‘follow’ button on their FutureLearn profile page. That way, you’ll be able to see all the comments that they make.

You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you still have at the end of the week and the team will answer them in a short video.

Mary ForbesMary Forbes Gareth JonesGareth Jones
Graeme NelsonGraeme Nelson Laura PibworthLaura Pibworth
Helen TaylorHelen Taylor Sarah ButlerSarah Butler
Don JackDon Jack  

Checking your progress …

When you reach the end of a step and have understood everything, click the ‘mark as complete’ button. This will update your progress page and help you to keep track of which steps you’ve completed. Any steps you’ve completed will turn blue on your ‘to do’ list.

You can check your progress by selecting the progress icon at the top of the step, where you’ll see what percentage of the course steps you’ve marked as complete.

Your task

Write a comment introducing yourself and telling us your motivation for taking this course.

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This video is from the free online course:

English for Academic Study

Coventry University