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Thursday, 19 February 2009

English as a Foreign/Secondary Language (EFL/ESL)

I'm pretty sure if you are able to read my posts and understand 100% of it then this post doesn't really apply to you. However, if your mother tongue isn't English or if you feel your English may be too weak, this post is for you.

UK Private Schools and Universities make huge amounts of money because they are allowed to charge non-EU or non-ECC students more than double the fee. (Basically, they want you!!!) They want to allow as many of these students to come here to do their studies. However many of them may lack English skills to cope with the demanding courses.

For universities, IELTS and TOEFL are accepted but for schools in the UK, it is a different story. For schools, there are no standardised tests but the school may need to test them further when they apply. Usually if the student is able to enter their school after passing an academic admissions test, then no further testing is required because the tests have shown that the student can speak and write to an adequate level of English.

Some private schools accept students even if they have only conversational English. An example would be Kent College. These schools specialise in providing EFL/ESL support. The academic standards of these schools can be quite low in comparison with Public Schools. At these schools, it is almost certain that the student will gain admission with little or no tests.

Another important information to remember is if you intend to compete your education and go on to a UK university and come from a non-native English speaking country, then you will need to do IELTS, TOEFL... (excluding native speakers eg. USA, Australia and S Africa...) only if you have been studying in the UK for less than 2 or 3 years. For IELTS you will need 6.5+ and for TOEFL 580+. for undergraduate programs.

A quote from the University of Kent:

"International students whose first language is not English are required to have an appropriate grade/score in an approved examination in English language before they can register on an academic programme. Exceptions are sometimes made for a student who have had their education entirely in the medium of English and where English is a well-established second language."
However the bottom line is please do not be scared off by these requirements! This is to just make sure if you can cope with the courses. Various TOEFL and IELTS training course are available out there.

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