Wondering which course is best for you? This blog article is for you. Understand the differences and make the right choice for you with the help of our Academic Manager, George Wilson.
So you’ve come a long way and have achieved a high level of English. What do you do next? The British Council offers different courses for teenagers with a C1 level of English or above. The course you choose will depend on your goals and your interests and requires some serious thought. The first step is to fully understand the options.
Cambridge Exam Preparation Courses
Many young learners around the world prepare for these exams each year. The most famous ones and the ones we offer are the Cambridge First (FCE), which certifies a B2 level of English, the Cambridge Advanced (CAE), which confirms C1 level, and the Cambridge Proficiency, which certifies the highest possible level of English (C2).
You can read more about each of these courses on our dedicated webpage.
Why choose these classes?
These classes and the ensuing exams are for second-language students of English who want to fine-tune their language skills and obtain a certificate proving their language level.
The focus of the exams is general English. They provide detailed training in grammar, vocabulary and the four skills of writing, reading, listening and speaking.
They give learners qualifications that are valid for life.
The Cambridge First (FCE) exam is currently accepted as proof of a B2 English level in the Parcoursup process for higher education in France.
The Cambridge Advanced (CAE) test is accepted by a majority of universities around the world as a proof of a C1 level.
University Preparation Courses
Our University Preparation Courses are specifically designed for learners who have a proven C1 level of English and are thinking of studying in English at university level. This might be in the UK, the USA, Australia, Canada, Ireland or another English-speaking country. It might also be in France or another country where higher-education institutions are increasingly offering classes taught through English.
You can read more about our courses on the University Preparation website and can hear directly from some of our students in this blog article.
Why choose these classes?
The courses are for students whose first language is English or for those who have learnt English as a second language and achieved at least a C1 level, often certified by a CAE exam.
There are two courses, one for students in Première and one for students in Terminale.
The focus is on academic English. We practise a whole range of academic skills such as:
- listening to lectures
- reading academic articles
- writing essays and reports
- critically analysing literature
- giving presentations
- participating in seminars.
We also offer guidance on applying to universities abroad, notably in the UK and the USA.
Students prepare for the IELTS test, which is the one most commonly requested by universities in the UK for visas and university entry. It is also widely accepted around the world.
Students complete activities designed to give them a foretaste of university life, such as debating championships and an online course (MOOC) offered by an English-speaking university in the subject of their choice.
Which one is best for you?
So you can see that these two sets of courses have very different aims: exam-preparation courses develop and certify your general English skills and university-preparation ones focus on the academic skills needed to succeed in an English-speaking higher-education institution.
Given the increasing prevalence of English in higher education, the most common route for our second-language students would usually be to complete their CAE course and then move into our University Preparation Section.
Ultimately, the choices you make should, however, be based on what you intend to do with the language and which course aligns best with your future objectives. Whichever course you choose, you’ll be taught by highly specialised teachers with a wealth of experience and expertise in their domain so there really is no wrong choice.
Need a little more help?
If you’d like to know more about our courses, please don’t hesitate to contact us or to discuss your options with your teacher.
If you’re not a yet a student with us, please book a consultation and a teacher will assess your level and help you make the right choice for you.