Pre sessional EAP courses

Pre-sessional EAP courses….. bits and bobs

This post gives just a few tips on the whole pre-sessional EAP experience in the UK. So, before we move on you may ask, ” What’s a pre sessional EAP course?” In a few words, it is a summer course run by universities (usually their language centers) and the students attending these courses are international students (mostly Chinese) who have been accepted on an MA (or undergraduate program) by this or other universities. The aims of these courses are many but in a nutshell, the goal is to prepare learners for the university experience and help them improve their academic English. The courses are usually 4, 6 or ten weeks long.
I have taught on three courses at great universities with lovely managers and colleagues. It is a demanding but rewarding experience and I strongly suggest you try it. Some of my friends though ask me ” How can I do it?” which gave me the idea to write this blog post. Here are a few suggestions:
Where do I begin?

  • Draft a CV which is connected to your studies and teaching experience. Apart from a CV, it is important to write a cover letter too with a more detailed description of what you have done and how it is connected to the EAP job you want to get. Some universities have application forms and a CV or cover letter is not necessary, but having one always comes in handy, even if you just copy paste stuff from your CV to the application form!

Where can I find job adverts?

I go to two websites:

How can I prepare for an interview?

You can’t really prepare but if you want to read a bit on EAP, I would suggest reading EAP Essentials: A teacher’s guide to principles and practice by Alexander, Argent and Spencer. Of course you can always do a Google search and reads loads about EAP.

What should I expect before/during an interview?

First of all, don’t worry if you do not live in the UK because many universities hold telephone or Skype interviews. I only have experience of Skype interviews as I live in Greece. If you do live in the UK, well then you go to wherever the interview will be held : ).
If you get an interview invitation, some universities may ask you to do some tasks prior to the interview like provide a lesson plan of an EAP session you taught or assess a research paper.

What kind of questions do they ask?

Loads! Here are a few to get you thinking.

  • Describe a difficult situation with a teacher or student and how you dealt with it.
  • What are your three best teaching features?
  • Tell us about your education/qualifications and how they have shaped your teaching.

and some EAP questions…

  • What are the aims of a pre sessional course?
  • What’s the difference between an EAP course and an Ielts academic English course?
  • What do you consider plagiarism and how do you deal with plagiarism? How can you help your students avoid plagiarism?
  • What are the differences between EFL and EAP?
  • What technology do you use when you teach EAP? Tell us a few of the EAP websites you go to when you teach your students.

they may also ask

  • Why do you want to work for………. university?
  • What could you bring to our university? (yes, I got that one)

and many more questions.

So, that’s all for now. Good luck with your interview : ) Feel free to add any other suggestions and tell me how you did!

Till next time……



4 thoughts on “Pre sessional EAP courses

  1. Hi Joanna,
    I've just been offered a position at Newcastle university for this summer. I'm absolutely thrilled, but also a bit anxious. Thanks for the book tip, I'll give it a try. I've also heard good things about “Communicative Activities for EAP (J.Guse). Have you ever used it? Are you planning to work this summer as well? Good luck


  2. Hi Ana!
    Thank you for reading! I do not know the book you mentioned but I will look into it so thanks for mentioning it. Newcastle university is a great place to work at and I am sure you will have a great time. Everyone is very helpful over there so do not worry! I will be working at Sheffield university this year, but I will come to Newcastle to see my friends so maybe we will meet : )
    Have fun this summer and don't be anxious. Everything is going to be fine!!


  3. Hi Joanna,

    Thanks for the post – it was very enlightening.

    So, the summer pre-sessional approach seems like the way to go in terms of getting a foot in the door at a UK university, and I’ve read a few other blogs describing it as you have, but what I’ve never read in much detail is how people manage their work the rest of the year. The hurdle that I’m imagining is having sufficient, regular work for the rest of the year, but then being able to step away from that in order to do a summer pre-sessional program.

    So, for example do people like yourself hold multiple part-time teaching positions at language institutes?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s