The language and academic skills courses will support the students to develop their language and academic skills in key areas.  There are two levels for the students, the 'A' level and the 'B' level, with the 'A' level being the lower one, and the 'B' level the higher.  The courses are not aimed at beginner level students, as the entry level is Pre-intermediate (A2 on the CEFR) 

Aim of English and academic skills courses

English and Academic Skills courses aim to support Syrians hoping to re-enter university education.  This will be done by providing students with language support and academic coaching to allow the them to succeed when studying in English at university.  Students will also be able to sit for the IELTS or Aptis exam, both internationally-recognised certificates

Academic skills

The courses will prepare students to study at university in English, and will focus on core academic skills which are needed to succeed at university when studying in English.  These skills include:

  • Essay writing
  • Groupwork
  • Leadership skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Effective time management

The teacher will provide coaching, feedback and materials in these key areas to ensure the students can improve.

The 'A' level syllabus

The 'A' level syllabus is the lower-level syllabus, and it is for students who are at Pre-intermediate level (A2 on the CEFR).  As well as the key academic skills, students will also study:

  • Simple strategies for academic reading and listening
  • Giving longer desriptions of people and events
  • Writing letters of application and motivation
  • Discussing at length familiar topics
  • Strategies to help in everyday conversation


The 'B' level syllabus

The 'B' level syllabus is the higher-level syllabus, and it is for those who are at Intermediate level and above (B1+ on the CEFR).  As well as the key academic skills, students will also study:

  • Strategies for academic reading and writing
  • Structuring academic writing appropriately
  • Key vocabulary and phrases to help students at university
  • Speaking at length on abstract and unfamiliar topics


There are two four-hour classes every week on the face-to-face English and academic skills courses.  Classes last for 100 hours, or twelve weeks.   Students are expected to attend at least 70% of their classes.


Students will take a mid-term and end-of-term assessment on each of the four key skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing).  The performance of students on assessments will determine whether the IELTS or Aptis exam is taken by the candidate

Aptis and IELTS

Once students have completed 100 hours of face-to-face English and academic skills they can sit for either the IELTS or Aptis exam.  The students with the highest level of English (around 1/3 of the participants) will be offered the IELTS exam, while the students with the lower levels of English (around 2/3) will sit for the Aptis exam.

For more information on the Aptis exam please visit:
For more information on the IELTS exam, please visit: