Being an international student is an amazing experience and the UK is one of the most popular places for international students to study at university. The quality of the institutions, chance to improve your English while studying, and easy access to interesting historic and cultural sites make it a perfect choice for overseas study. Is your English good enough to study in the UK, though? Read on to find out.
Most universities accept IELTS as an indicator of your English level and the score required will be anything from 5.5 at the lowest up to 8 if you want to study at a top university. Just getting a good mark in IELTS isn’t enough, though. Many studies have shown that even the most thorough English test doesn’t prepare learners for the reality of studying in an English-speaking country. Lots of universities offer support for non-native English-speakers and this support can be nearly as valuable at the main lectures in the course if you want to pass with a great grade.
Another popular option is a pre-degree or pre-masters English course. These are often provided by the university and run for several months before the main course starts. A good pre-masters English course will take you through all the specific English skills you will need for your course that you might not have studied before in a more general English course.
As well as your university entrance requirements, English is important for getting a visa to study in the UK. If you are a non-native speaker of English, you will need to prove your level of English in order to get the visa you need to study in the UK. As the specific requirements for this change from time to time, it’s best to check the Home Office website for the current regulations. The most common solution is to take one exam, such as IELTS, which will fulfil the requirements for both the university entrance and UK visa.
Many international students like to work while they are in the UK and this is a great way to get real-life work experience in an English-speaking country. Make sure to check your visa so that you know if you are allowed to work while you are in the UK and, if so, how many hours you are allowed to work. Most employers will not be interested in what score you have in your English exam, though. They will want to know if you can actually communicate with customers to it’s important to make sure your spoken English is as good as your reading and writing!
The most important thing to remember, though, is that your English will improve while you are in the UK. If you can reach the entry requirements for your university, dedication and hard work will mean you can complete your course and go back with the qualification you deserve. Your English can be good enough to study in the UK but only if you make it good enough!