Pre-sessional FAQs

How do I apply for a pre-sessional course?

You can apply online via our website. Please see the How to Apply section. 

If you are unsure as to which course to apply for, please refer to the Entry requirements section and the course pages for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes to determine which language level your main academic programme requires.

When should I apply for a pre-sessional course?

We are now open to applications for Summer 2021.  We recommend you apply as soon as you receive the offer from your main programme of study and are clear which pre-sessional course will meet your requirements. We will close to applications once the courses are full. 

Can I apply if I am under 18?

Provided they meet the entry requirements for the respective programme, we will consider applications from under 18s for our online courses.

Can students with unconditional offers register for the pre-sessional course?

Prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students with an unconditional offer should apply for the 3-week course.

How and when will I know if I have a place on the course?

You will be notified of an offer through the online application system. You will need to accept your offer through the online system and pay the course fees in full in order to confirm your place.

You must have fulfilled the conditions of your offer for the Pre-sessional course and have the application status of ‘Unconditional Firm’ by the start of the course in order to take up your place, notwithstanding the normal timeframes for accepting an offer and paying  the tuition fees.

What is the attendance policy for the pre-sessional course?

100% attendance is expected and full and active participation throughout your course is expected. You will need to notify us of any absences throughout the course even though it is delivered remotely.


Pre-sessional FAQs

How and when should I pay my fees?

Once you have accepted your offer in the online application system, you will receive an invoice via email within 7-10 working days. 

What is the refund policy?

For details of our refund policy, please see our terms and conditions.

I will have Official Financial Sponsorship - what do I need to do?

As soon as you have accepted your offer in the online application system, you should send a copy of your Financial Guarantee Letter to The sponsor letter needs to state that the sponsor will cover the course fees for the ‘Pre-sessional English language programme’ and to include the dates and fees of the chosen pre-sessional course. Full information on what the letter needs to cover is found on the page Information for postgraduate students on tuition fees.  

Course content/structure

Pre-sessional FAQs

Who are the students on the course?

These are international students from a range of countries. 

Who are the teachers on the course?

A dedicated team of English tutors with extensive experience in working with students to develop their academic English for study at Imperial College London.

What will the course focus on?

The course focuses on academic English for STEMM disciplines, that is, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine, to prepare you for the study of your science-related discipline through English. Tasks focus on developing your reading, writing, listening and speaking and advancing your academic study skills and strategies for independent learnng. 

What is the overall aim of the pre-sessional programme?

Our presessional programme aims to develop your ability to operate within the challenging academic environment here at Imperial College London, to help you confidently and effectively communicate your science, and understand the expectations of students studying at university level in the UK.

Do I need any course books?

No. All course materials are produced by the CfAE and provided for you. Many materials are available online and you will be given access once you are registered onto your Pre-sessional course. 

Do I need any particular software or apps before I start the course?

No. At the start of your course you will be able to download Office 365 free of charge.  During the course you will then be able to access the course materials online through your college Microsoft Office 365 account from anywhere at any time.

We will advise you which Microsoft apps will be most useful and you will be able to download them free of charge to your phone and your laptop.

Will I learn about my academic subject?

There will no formal teaching or testing of your subject on the pre-sessional, but you will be asked to read, write and present on topics in or related to your field.

How useful will the Pre-sessional course be to me? Is it better than just taking an English language test?

Yes, the Pre-sessional is much more tailored to your needs as a prospective Imperial student. Students who have taken our pre-sessional report back that they feel far more prepared for their studies than other international students who have not taken the course. Departments tell us they can see a positive difference between those students who have taken the pre-sessional and those who have not.

What is the average class size?

Class sizes are generally small (approximately 12 students per group) so that you can get to know your classmates and your teachers well and so that your teachers can monitor your progress and guide your personal study.

How many teaching hours a week are there on the course?

There are approximately 17.5 hours of class time per week. In addition, you will also be required to complete at least 1.5 hours of scheduled daily preparation for classes and undertake daily personal study. We therefore expect you to be working a full day Monday to Friday in order to achieve the goals of the course.

Assessment (6-week course)

Pre-sessional FAQs

How am I assessed at the end of the course?

There are three formal assessments  for students on the 6-week Pre-sessional course (online).

Throughout the 6 weeks, you will create a record of the research and tasks that you do as you work on topics and materials from your future discipline. We call this your Personal Research Portfolio. In the final week of the course there is the Test of written English online and the Test of spoken English online.

The Personal Research Portfolio demonstrates your engagement with the concepts and topics of your discipline and demonstrates the progress that you have made in learning the language of your discipline and your ability to communicate key STEMM ideas clearly to others. The Test of Written English online shows your ability to read and write academically on a general STEMM topic. The Test of spoken English online is a viva voce, an individual interview in which you demonstrate your ability to converse on a topic related to your chosen field of study.

What happens if I don’t achieve the required score at the end of the course?

If you don't achieve a satisfactory grade at the end of the course, you will have the opportunity to retake the final assessments the following week. If you fail the assessment a second time, you might not be accepted onto your degree programme. Most students successfully pass the course.

Do I need to take the IELTS exam after I have completed the course?


What does it mean to 'successfully complete' a pre-sessional programme?

Successful completion of the pre-sessional programme means that you have satisfied the university's English language requirements for your main programme. This means you have fully attended the course, satisfactorily completed all the coursework, and passed the final course assessments.

You will not need to retake an English language test such as IELTS.

When will I get my final results?

On the last day of the course.

For more information about your rights and how we will use your data, please visit the Imperial College London data protection website.