Pre-sessional frequently asked questions
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.
Please note that we are not able to accept applicants from Imperial College Business School. Currently the Business School does not offer its own pre-sessional course or recognise other pre-sessional courses as a means of meeting the English language requirement. If you have any questions about this, please contact the Business School directly.
When should I apply for a pre-sessional course?
We opened for Summer 2022 applications on Tuesday 1 March 2022. 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.
The application deadlines are published in the How to apply section but we will close to applications sooner if the courses are full.
Can undergraduate applicants apply for the 6-week Pre-sessional course?
Yes. We are able to accept undergraduate applicants onto the 6-week Pre-sessional course in Summer 2022 because it is online.
Can I apply if I am under 18?
Provided you meet the entry requirements for the respective programme, we will consider applications from under 18s for our online courses.
Do I need a secure English language test (SELT) result for my 6-week course application?
No. You do not need a secure English language test (SELT) result such as UKVI IELTS for your Summer 2022 6-week Pre-sessional course application as the course is online and a visa is not required. We are able to accept tests such as Academic IELTS or TOEFL. Please see the Entry requirements section for details.
Can students with unconditional offers register for the pre-sessional course?
Yes. If you are a prospective undergraduate or postgraduate student with an unconditional offer you 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’ for the Pre-sessional course 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.
Will I need a visa for either the 6-week or 3-week Pre-sessional course?
No. You will not need to apply for a visa for the Summer 2022 Pre-sessional courses as they are online.
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.
Can I transfer my offer of a place on the 6-week course to the 3-week?
Yes. You can request a transfer of your offer to the 3-week course if you meet the English Language Requirement for your main degree programme prior to the start of the 6-week Pre-sessional course. You should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Details are set out in our Terms and Conditions.
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 email@example.com. 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.
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.
What is the 6-week schedule?
A full day on the pre-sessional consists of at least 7 hours of study. Students complete at least 90 mins of preparatory work (called ACT), which must be done before you join the day’s live classes; there are 2 scheduled live classes of 90 mins each; and a further 90 mins of self- study, such as reading in your discipline, language exercises and other individual work agreed with your teacher. For more details, have a look at this sample timetable.
What is the 3-week schedule?
A full day on the 3-week pre-sessional consists of at least 7 hours of study. There are 2 scheduled live classes, one class of two hours followed by one class of one hour. You are also required to complete four hours of remote activities each day to prepare for classes and project work and to continue your own preparation for study. For more details, have a look at this sample timetable.
Assessment (6-week course)
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 (Friday 19 August 2022). If you pass the Pre-sessional course at first attempt (as most students do), we will also report them to the Registry team on that date. The Admissions team will then need to review your main degree programme application conditions before confirming your place as unconditional.
If you are required to take resits, you should get the resit result by Wednesday 24 August and we will report it to the Registry team at the same time.
How and when will I get my CAS for my degree programme?
Your CAS can only be issued once the outcome of the Pre-sessional course is known and the offer for your main programme is unconditional. If you pass the Pre-sessional course at first attempt (as most students do), we will report your result to the Registry team on Friday 19 August. The Admissions team will then need to review your main programme application conditions before confirming your place as unconditional. After that, the College aims to issue your CAS within 5 working days, and sooner if possible to enable you to apply for your visa.
If you are required to take resits in the week beginning 22 August and pass, we should be able to report your result by Wednesday 24 August.
The dates of the 6-week course have been set in consultation with the teams responsible for admissions and visas to allow time for this process.
We ask you to ensure that you a copy of your passport has been uploaded to your MyImperial account before the end of the 6-week Pre-sessional course as this will be required in order for the Admissions team to issue your CAS.
Please also see the advice of the International Student Support team on visas and immigration.
For more information about your rights and how we will use your data, please visit the Imperial College London data protection website.