Do I have to re-take the IELTS at the end of the course?
No. If you successfully complete the Pre-sessional, you will have fulfilled your English condition.
Note, however, that you are still able to take the IELTS instead of Pre-sessional if you would like to, especially if you think that you will not be able to successfully complete the Pre-sessional
Will I continue automatically onto my degree course after Pre-sessional?
If you are a PARSE (one-month Pre-sessional) student and/or you have an unconditional offer from your Durham department, yes, you will proceed onto your chosen academic programme at the end of September.
If you are a 12 week (EAP 1) or 8 week (EAP 2) student, then no, continuation is not automatic. Entry onto your degree course depends on your Pre-sessional performance. You must successfully complete Pre-sessional to the level required by your department, in order to proceed. For Business Finance type courses this means getting a Pre-sessional 'B' grade. If you are applying to a Marketing/Management type programme, this means achieving at least a Pre-sessional grad 'B+'. Law students will need to obtain a Pre-sessional 'A' grade.
Most students who take responsibility for their own learning and engage with the Pre-sessional skills development process achieve the grade they need.
What is the assessment used on the course?
We do not decide your Pre-sessional grade only with an end-of-course test. We use a combination of work you do throughout the course and an end of course assessment tool. During the course you will do take-home assignments and timed writing assignments in class. Additionally, you will do a research project over the course of the programme on a topic that you choose from within your field of study. This will include a written essay and a presentation. All of these items form part of your overall assessment. The assessment at the end of the course is made up of academic reading, listening and writing. Your final report form will reflect all of the items above.
What is the course like?
In general we try to teach you the kind of English that you will be using on your degree course and give you work that requires that you read, write, speak and listen using Academic English. We also emphasise research skills and help you to become familiar with the library at Durham. These skills are improved through a project on a topic in your field of study that you choose. If you like, you could already begin thinking about this now.
How useful will the Pre-sessional course be to me?
Past students tell us that the Pre-sessional course really helped them to suceed on their degree course. And the departments tell us they can see a positive difference between those students who take Pre-sessional and those who do not. Many students who have taken Pre-sessional report back that they feel far more prepared for their studies than international students who have not taken the course.
How do I know how many months of Pre-sessional I should take?
You need to submit your IELTS (or TOEFL) score to your department. If you were not able to achieve the required score, your department will determine whether Pre-sessional is an acceptable alternative AND how many months of Pre-sessional to take. While the English Language Centre can advise the department, the decision rests with the department, so you need to contact them.
Some students have unconditional offers, and choose to take Pre-sessional to improve their English skills. In this case, we recommend one month if you are looking for some extra time to adjust to living in Durham and you hope to get a general idea of what the expectations are in an English university in terms of essay writing, research, etc. If you are hoping to see a significant improvement in your English ability, we would recommend two or three months of Pre-sessional study.
What does it mean to 'sucessfully complete' the Two or Three Month programme (EAP1, 2)?
In order to successfully complete the two/three month Pre-sessional you must meet the 90% attendance requirement and complete all the assignments and assessment on the course to a level appropriate to your course of study. This level depends on the degree programme you plan to take at Durham. Most students will need to obtain a strong Pre-Sessional 'B' grade. Sometimes a department may request that students obtain an 'A'. Your offer letter should tell you. If nothing is explicitly stated in your offer letter, assume that you need a 'B' grade.
In our experience those students who come to class every day and do all the work to the best of their ability are usually able to succeed.
What does it mean to 'successfully complete' the one month PARSE programme (EAP3)?
In order to successfully complete the four week PARSE Pre-sessional you must meet the 90% attendance requirement and complete all the assignments and assessment on the course. If you've only been asked to do one month, the assumption is that your English is already almost good enough but that you will benefit from one month of academic literacy skills development. You do not need to worry, therefore, about grades and assessment, provided you come to class every day and complete all the required work to the best of your ability.