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).
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.
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.
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:
We recommend you develop your English language further
You'll probably need to improve your language skills further to cope with university study. You could try one or more of the following options:
- to help you gain confidence in academic English, use the online resource available on the English for OU Study website.
- your local college or adult learning centre will offer English language courses.
If in doubt, contact our advisers and we'll be happy to talk through your options.
- Skills Development Scotland has a course search facility on its website, or you can call 0800 917 9000 for advice.
- ESOL Scotland provides details of courses on English for speakers of other languages.
We recommend an English language review
The statements you’ve ranked indicate that your language skills are at the minimum level required for university study, and you may find it quite demanding. How well you manage may depend on your experience and knowledge of the language and terms used in the subject you want to study, and the time you have available for study.
With this in mind, you may decide to improve your English language skills before studying with us. You could:
check your local college or adult learning centre for English language courses.
try our English for OU Study tutorial to help you gain confidence in academic English.
study a short Access module to build confidence and study skills. You'll also be introduced to your chosen subject area and the OU's style of learning, and by the end of your studies you'll be well prepared for a full OU course.
study our module English for academic purposes online, which is designed to help you develop the specific language skills you need for successful academic study in English. If you are studying for an OU qualification, you may be able to count this module towards it – check the qualification details carefully, or contact us if you're not sure.
Your English language skills should be able to cope with OU level 1 study
You should be able to cope with the demands of your first OU module, which will help you develop the reading, writing and listening skills you need for effective learning as you study. Your success may also depend on your experience and knowledge of language used in your subject, and the time you have available to set aside for study.
If you'd like to build confidence and study skills before you start, you could consider taking a short Access module first. You'll also be introduced to your chosen subject area and the OU's style of learning, and by the end of your studies you'll be well prepared for a full OU course.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.