Academic Preparation Programme (APP)


Learn English in OxfordThe Oxford Tutorial College Academic Preparation Programme (APP) has been designed to give international students the support they need to ensure success in their A-level studies.  As such, we have devised a detailed, rewarding and interesting syllabus of work to prepare students for the very different style of learning they will encounter in their future studies.

Students study core modules alongside elective modules which help them to develop independent learning skills and to become fully prepared for higher-level study.  Courses are specifically designed for international teenagers studying at Oxford Tutorial College and thus have just the right mixture of English, Study Skills and other interesting courses to help students learn how to study and live successfully in the UK.  Core modules include Core Language (a consolidation of prior English knowledge), Study Skills & Personal Development, Study UK (knowledge needed for living in the UK), Computing (including all major Microsoft programs and programming), IELTS Preparation, Reading Group, Intensive Writing, and Activity (sport and leisure in the UK).


We accept a wide variety of students on our Academic Preparation Programme.  Students who are enthusiastic about studying in the UK and who want to study on an enjoyable, varied and intensive English course to help them get ready for their future studies are invited to apply for a place on the Academic Preparation Programme.     


Sample Timetable


  9.00 – 10.30 10.30 – 11.00 11.00 – 12.30 12.30 – 1.15 1.15 – 2.45 2.45 – 3.15 3.15 – 4.45 
Monday Core Language Break Project Class Lunch Intensive Writing Break Elective
Tuesday Reading Group Break Study Skills Lunch Core Language Break Elective
Wednesday Computing Break Core Language Lunch Activity Break Elective
Thursday Core Language Break IELTS Lunch Study Skills Break Elective
Friday Study UK Break Core Language Lunch Reading Group Break Elective


Core Modules

Core Language Component

All students taking the Academic Preparation Programme take Core Language, which allows them to fill any major gaps in their knowledge and improve any weak areas.  The module aims to increase students’ confidence in their use of the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking, which also helps to improve IELTS scores. Core Language is central to the course, and it is imperative that students learn as much as they can from this module in order to be successful in the rest of their modules.

Study Skills & Personal Development

A critical part of completing the Academic Preparation Programme is learning how to study in the British A-level system. Methods of tuition and assessment are very different to those found in other learning systems around the world; at the start of their course students are expected to focus on only 3-4 subjects during their A-level studies and to do this work reasonably independently.  British A-level students will have undergone rigorous assessments at the GCSE level prior to the start of A-levels, with most students having taken at least 12 exams covering two years worth of material. Much of the revision for these exams is expected to have been undertaken by the student independently. Therefore, by the start of A-levels, most successful students have developed very good self-study skills and have a wealth of tools at their disposal to help them to study quickly and efficiently. They have learnt not only to memorise facts, but have also developed strong independent thinking skills. The aim of the Academic Preparation Programme Study Skills module is to help students to develop these skills and to give them the necessary tools to compete strongly in their A-level exams.  Our Study Skills and Personal Development course is unique in that it ensures that students are prepared for A-level and university study in every respect.  Students learn how to set goals and motivate themselves, how to set a budget and stick to it, and how to live as independent adults in the real world.

Study in the UK

Study UK

Study UK is a key component of the Academic Preparation Programme. During this module, students develop an in-depth understanding of British society and thought, through analysis of various parts of UK life and by interaction with people and institutions. A large part of the Study UK module is practical, and students have the opportunity to go on trips around Oxford to learn the skills they need to live as well-informed residents of the UK.  The first term teaches students about general life in the UK, and covers everything from banking to visiting the doctor and dentist.  As many students hope to live independently when they complete the programme and turn 18 years old, they are taught the skills they will need to interact with neighbours appropriately, solve everyday problems and understand how the various institutions they will have dealings with in the UK work.  They learn to look after their own health and what to do in emergency situations.  They will become familiar with the UK educational system, understand what is expected of them when studying A-levels, and know how to solve any school-related problems they might encounter.  In the second and third terms, the focus is shifted to UK politics and government and British music, TV and film.  Students will be taught a brief history of the UK and how the political system works.  They will learn about British media, and will become familiar with day-to-day references to famous music, television shows and films.


The ability to use computers and related technology effectively is now a prerequisite both for students at universities and for employees in the modern business world. The Academic Preparation Programme places technical skills at the heart of the course, with all students following a rigorous Information and Communication Technology module.  Students will be provided with the skills they need to use computers in English both for A-level and for future university study.  They will be taught the basic principles of Information Technology; however, most of the focus of this module is practical.  Students will be able to use the computer to manage their files, use word processing programs to write essays and letters, use spreadsheets to work with data, use specialist software to give class presentations, use publishing software, and construct a basic webpage using HTML programming.  The combination of the skills students learn in Computing prepares them for all computing-related tasks they will need to complete at A-level, university and beyond, and through using these skills in other modules to complete assignments, students will become confident in the use of all major programs.

IELTS Preparation

The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS as it is more popularly known, is the benchmark test of English language ability used by British education and by schools and colleges around the world. Designed and managed by Cambridge ESOL, the exam consists of speaking, listening, reading and writing papers aimed at testing academic English ability.  The majority of universities in the UK require a level of 6.5 prior to university entrance, with some universities requiring up to a 7.5 for some courses.  

In the IELTS Preparation module, students are taught the structure of the exam and how to achieve the highest mark possible.  The module is focused on each of the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking, and incorporates vocabulary building and accuracy practice.  For more information on the IELTS exam visit

Intensive Writing

The Intensive Writing module prepares students for the essays and exams they will need to do over the course of their future studies.  The module focuses on the development of sentence, paragraph and essay structure and guides students carefully through each stage of the planning, writing and editing process.  Students learn how to work both together and independently to complete assignments, and become confident at addressing and writing answers to exam questions, both for their IELTS exam and for their A-level exams.Learn English in the UK








Reading Group

A large amount of reading is required of students both at A-level and at university.  This module focuses on increasing reading speed and on understanding works of literature and academic books.  Students will become familiar with techniques for approaching texts, with methods of reading quickly and with understanding and knowing which new words are worth looking up whilst reading.  The course uses level-appropriate material for each individual student, so students read different works of literature at different times, choosing (within a framework) what they would like to read.  The course is highly individualised, and tutors work carefully with students to help them with any stumbling blocks to reading they find along the way.  Over the course of the module, students are expected to move from easier works of literature to more difficult ones progressively, and they should be confident with reading A-level academic texts by the end of the module.


Students take part in one activity session per week, in which they learn about common British sports and pastimes.  They learn the rules of various games and have the opportunity to try them out.  On rainy days, students learn the basics of a wide variety of British pastimes such as playing chess and sewing.  The Activity module aims to help students to identify their interests and strengths as well as ensuring that students are aware of the various activities available to them in England. This in turn helps students to make their university applications more interesting and to later choose activities to take part in at university. Extra-curricular activities have long been proven to improve students’ success rates at both A-levels and university, for this reason the Activity module is a very important part of the curriculum.