Step 2 What sort of English do I need to be able to study at higher education level?

Figure 1
Photo: Richard Learoyd

You may well be confident in using English in everyday situations, but the kind of English you need for study is rather different. It is what is known as ‘Academic English’, or ‘English for Academic Purposes’ (EAP), and is the English you need to undertake the following activities:

  • read and understand university course books and materials;

  • identify (and make notes on) the main points from written and spoken materials – books, cassettes, video, DVD, CD-ROM, etc.;

  • express concepts and ideas in your own words;

  • organise your writing so that the meaning of your argument or description is clear;

  • use correct grammar, punctuation and spelling;

  • write in an appropriate style;

  • be able to check your written work for accuracy and meaning;

  • choose the appropriate structure for the task and use academic conventions, e.g. referencing;

  • understand the requirements of questions set for assignments and examinations.

Although you will develop these skills further as you study, you do need them to some extent before you start. The next section of this course will take you through a series of exercises on some of the above skills to help you reflect on and assess your present linguistic skills. The process of working through the various tasks will help you to decide whether you feel ready to start studying at higher education level.

Now go to Step 3 Self-assessment exercises: reading and understanding [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .