Many of the students who come to study English with us at the UCT English Language Centre are interested in going on to do undergraduate or postgraduate studies. If they are interested in doing this at an institution where English is the language of instruction, they will very often need to complete an IELTS or TEOFL test to prove their proficiency in English.
However, it is not as simple as just doing an IELTS or TOEFL exam. Universities specify what the minimum score needs to be. And if you were to join an IELTS exam class at the UCT English Language Centre you would need to have a minimum level of Upper Intermediate before being able to join. If your English level was lower, you would be welcome to join the General English courses and work towards a higher level.
Many students ask us, how long will it take me to go up to the next level?
This is a difficult question, because obviously this is very student dependent. Students who throw themselves into their English studies, take every opportunity to speak the language, read the language, use the language and ask questions will generally make progress faster than someone who rarely attends class and does not expose themselves to the language. This is often the case with students who tend to stay with their circle of friends speaking the same language and from the same country. Obviously, this is not really going to help you learn the language faster!
In general, we estimate that it takes between 120 and 180 hours of English lessons to move up to the next level. In other words, if you attended a General English course with us at the UCT English Language Centre and studied 30 hours a week (intensive English), it would take you between 4 and 6 weeks before you moved to the next level. This is obviously not the case for everyone, and there are exceptions. Some students need more time and to gain more confidence before moving up, while others will move up sooner.
Our highly qualified and experienced teachers are trained to recognise when you are ready to move up to the next level, and through our learner centred approach, we facilitate this process. They will never push students who are not ready, nor will they hold anyone back when they believe the student is ready for a challenge, or to embark on the next part of their English language learning journey.
It is important to remember that it makes no sense to simply move up through levels simply to have a certificate saying you are at an Upper Intermediate level, for example, when you are not. Take the time to do your studies and improve your level in your own way, and when you do manage to get through to that next level, you will know that this is a true reflection of your improvement and proficiency in the language. We are here to support you and your English learning journey.