Online Pre-Sessional Course during the Coronavirus Pandemic

student studying an online pre-sessional course

Coronavirus and Online Pre-Sessional Course Classes

As you will know by now, LSI/IH Portsmouth made the important decision to move all of our courses online in order to keep our staff, students and host families as safe as possible. So far, our online classes have been a success and we have received excellent feedback.

Our Pre-Sessional courses have continued to run so that our current students can still continue with their plans to study here at a UK University in future. If you need to do a Pre-Sessional course, but are unable to travel due to the Coronavirus, then our online course is for you. You can study the course right now, from the safety and comfort of your own home, and use it to enter the following UK universities in 2020 or 2021:

I had a chat with our Pre-Sessional Director of Studies, Joe, who explained more about the online Pre-Sessional course. Read the interview below:

What are the online Pre-Sessional courses at LSI/IH Portsmouth?

The Pre-Sessional (or PSE) courses are university preparation courses. They cover skills such as essay writing, academic vocabulary, PowerPoint presentations, reading academic texts, critical thinking, note taking and taking part in lectures and seminars. They are specifically for students who have been given an offer from a UK university but have not achieved the IELTS score that the university demands. If the student takes and passes this PSE course, it will be accepted by the university in place of the required IELTS score.

How do our online PSE courses differ from face to face courses?

Well, there isn’t that much difference at all. I’d say that the only real difference between the courses is that teaching in the classroom is replaced by teaching via Zoom. The materials, teaching methods, assessments, class contact hours, attendance requirements (90%) and amount of homework are all the same, so you’re not missing out on anything.

Will universities accept an online Pre-Sessional course?

Yes, you don’t have to worry too much about this. Most universities will be flexible moving forward, as this is all completely new for everyone. There are currently four institutions who will accept our online Pre-Sessional courses. These are:

How long will the online courses be available?

Our online PSE courses will be available at least for as long as the current Coronavirus crisis continues, and maybe longer depending on demand. However, please check with us first that the online course will be running during the dates you want to study. You can get in contact with us by emailing

Is the online course more flexible than the face to face course?

No, it isn’t more flexible because it is exactly the same course and therefore all the same rules apply. Our Pre-Sessional course requires a lot of hard work and effort but don’t worry, our brilliant teachers are here to support you every step of the way and the hard work is always worth it in the end. That being said, you will be at home so it may be more comfortable and relaxing! The online PSE course costs exactly the same as the face to face course. For our price list, please see our website or contact us for more details.

How much does it cost?

The same as the face to face course. For our price list, please see our website or contact us for more details.

What do students need to study on this course?

a pre-sessional teacher demonstrating an online course

To study the online Pre-Sessional course, you will need the following:

  • A PC, laptop or tablet with keyboard (these are better than using a smartphone because you need a keyboard and a screen big enough to do your work on)
  • If you’re using a PC, then a webcam with a microphone is the best option
  • Microsoft Office installed, especially Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint
  • The Zoom app (you can also use it through your browser)
  • A course book (you can find out more about this by emailing the school)
  • A good Internet connection
  • A room where you can focus and not have people distracting you
  • The ability to attend every lesson (we have a 90% attendance policy – if you attend fewer than 90% of the lessons you cannot pass the course)

The time of the lessons will be from 09:00 – 15:45 (Mondays to Thursdays) and 09:00 – 11:45 (Fridays). Remember that these are UK times, so please make sure you know what these times will be in your particular country.

In addition to the lessons, what teacher support will students receive?

So, your teachers will give you tutorials every two weeks to check your progress and answer any questions that you may have about the course etc. Along with this, they will also be on hand to give you support and guidance, either by email, Edmodo (our classroom app) or Zoom.

Will students still receive a report and certificate if they pass the course?

Yes, students will still receive a report and a certificate, but this will be in a digital format.

Is there anything else you’d like students to know?

Yes – please remember, that the world keeps turning and Coronavirus will disappear. The situation will get better. Normal service will resume. And when, in the near future, life does get back to normal, the universities will be open and waiting for you.

So, keep safe, keep well, and keep studying.

Thank you very much, Joe!

We hope that this has answered all the questions you may have about our online Pre-Sessional course, but if not, please do not hesitate to contact us directly at

If you would like further information about our Pre-Sessional courses, then please visit our University Preparation page.

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English language teacher talks about pre-sessional courses online