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Is my English good enough?

You don't need a formal qualification in English to study with the OU, and your first module will help you develop the reading, writing and listening skills you need for effective learning. But before you start, you will need a reasonable standard of written and spoken English so you can:

  • make best use of study materials, including printed books, video and audio
  • communicate effectively with your tutor or fellow students
  • seek help from other OU staff (e.g. your Student Support Team or the Computing Helpdesk).
Two people having a conversation

What's my current level of English?

When you apply, you'll need to confirm that you are a ‘competent user of the English language’. This means that your English is at (or above) the level needed to get a GCSE grade A – C.

QualificationRecommended Minimum
GCSEs (or equivalent)Grades A–C
A levels/AS levels (or equivalent)Pass
National Literacy /Functional English/Key SkillsLevel 2
Institutional English Language Testing (IELTS)5.5–6.5
Common European Framework of Reference for LanguagesB2
Cambridge English Language AssessmentFirst Certificate in English
European BaccalaureateL2, 7.5
International BaccalaureateEnglish Language A1, Standard level Grade 5 or Higher Level Grade 4
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)87–109
Trinity7–9
Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)Listening (400), Reading (385), Speaking (160), Writing (150)
Certificate in English LanguageIntermediate
Business English Certificate (BEC)Intermediate
PitmanIntermediate 1st Class

No qualifications, or still not sure?

If you're still not sure if your English skills are at the right level, try this short activity.

Find out if your English is good enough

Look through the following statements about reading, writing, speaking and listening. For each statement, use the buttons to indicate your level of agreement. When you've shown your rating against each statement, we'll give you some advice about what to do next.

Reading

I can understand written material, both fact and fiction, dealing with topics that I am interested in.
Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree
I can read articles and reports about current issues and can identify the attitude or point of view of the writer.
Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree

Writing

I can produce a clear and detailed piece of writing on a wide range of topics related to my everyday life, my job or my interests.
Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree
I am ready to start writing essays or reports that present information and include well-argued reasons to support my point of view.
Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree

Speaking

While reading and writing are important skills, you'll also come across video and audio material in your study. You’ll also need to communicate effectively with your tutor and fellow students and may need to speak to a member of staff to get help. These skills are reflected in the following:

I can take an active part in discussions about topics related to my everyday life, my job or my areas of interest.
Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree
I can present my own and other people’s viewpoints on current issues, giving reasons and explanations for these differing opinions.
Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree
I can outline the plot of a book or film and describe my reactions in detail, with reasons.
Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree

Listening

I can understand most of a speech or a lecture and can follow even a complex argument, as long as the topic is reasonably familiar.
Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree
I can understand most films, TV news and current affairs programmes.
Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree



If you're a Welsh speaker

Efallai nad ydych yn hyderus ynglyn â defnyddio Saesneg academaidd yn eich astudiaethau oherwydd mai Cymraeg yw eich iaith gyntaf. Dan ein Cynllun Iaith Gymraeg fe allai fod yn bosibl trefnu i diwtor sy'n siarad Cymraeg farcio eich aseiniadau. I drafod beth allai fod ar gael cysylltwch â'r Brifysgol Agored yng Nghymru, os gwelwch yn dda, naill ai trwy'r Saesneg neu'r Gymraeg, cyn gynted ag y byddwch yn cofrestru ar y cwrs: 02920 471170 neu wales@open.ac.uk.

Perhaps you are not confident about using academic English in your studies because Welsh is your first language. Under our Welsh Language Scheme it may be possible to arrange for a Welsh-speaking tutor to mark your assignments. To discuss what might be available please contact The Open University in Wales, in either English or Welsh, as soon as you register on your course: 02920 471170 or wales@open.ac.uk.

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