How To Be Successful in Your Pre-Sessional Course

Presessional students visit LSI/IH Portsmouth

Elly, Majed, Csili, Anna Rita.                             Kosar and Antonio

Two Successful PSE Students Talk About Their Experience At LSI/IH Portsmouth

Here at LSI/IH Portsmouth, one of the most intensive courses we run is our Pre-sessional courses, which prepare students for their university courses.  It is not for the faint-hearted, it takes dedication, perseverance and a lot of work.  The students AND the teachers work incredibly hard, putting in so very many hours of preparation, study and course work. 
Last week was Graduation week at the University of Portsmouth and we were so proud to welcome back two very special students who had attended their graduation just around the corner at the university.  We thought it would be nice to interview them, so the lovely girls in reception, who get to know all the students spoke to them and got some fantastic pictures. They both gave some really good advice for prospective university students.

Regular readers of our blog will remember Majed, who did a rooftop interview video for us.

So, this is his second interview, and we couldn’t be more proud to speak to him today.


What is your name? 

Majed Alshehri

Where are you from?


When were you with us Majed?

September 2014 – July 2015

What courses did you do?

A bit of everything!  GE, IELTS, Cambridge and PSE

What did you go on to do at the university?

Advanced Manufacturing Technology MSc at UoP (And he got a Distinction!!!)

Majed, why did you choose to come to the UK to study?

I was able to go anywhere, but I decided either the UK or the US. In the end, I felt I would have better academic opportunities if I came to the UK.

Ok, Majed, what made you choose LSI/IH Portsmouth?

Because LSI/IH Portsmouth is the best!

😉 Thank you very much. So now, Majed what does the future hold for you?

I’m going back to work, I was just promoted because I now have this Masters.(Congratulations Majed)  Later on, I think I may do a PhD, and if so, I would really like to do it at the University of Portsmouth.

If you had one bit of advice you could give anyone who was coming to study English in the UK, what would it be?

It’s really important that you focus on your studies.  It’s only a couple of years and then you can do what you want.  I have seen quite a few people who have wasted their time, not doing the work, maybe because they weren’t paying for themselves, it’s a real shame and such a wasted opportunity.

Majed visited one of our current Pre-sessional classes while he was here, to share his experience and to give the students some encouragement.  To see how much they appreciated it, have a look at their faces!


What is your name?

Kosar Akram

Where are you from?


When were you at LSI/IH Portsmouth?


What course did you do?

The Pre-sessional course.

What did you go on to do?

Civil Engineering BEng Hons – (and she got a First!)

Congratulations Kosar. So tell us why did you choose to come to the UK?

Because of the culture.  I love the accent!  I felt that there were a lot of opportunities here.  It is also close to a lot of other places, which gave even more opportunities.

What made you choose to come to LSI/IH Portsmouth?

I did a lot of research before coming here.  I saw really positive reviews from other students. From the photos I saw it looked like a very multicultural place, and I could imagine myself in one of those photos. Before I came I had a lot of contact with the school, through emails and phone calls and I was very impressed with how helpful and friendly everyone was.

So, Kosar, what does the future hold for you now?

Ah so much; My first aim was to get a graduate job, and I did it, I got a job with the UK’s largest construction company! (Congratulations again). I also want to work in women’s rights.  I would love to become one of the inspiring personalities in the world and encourage women to follow their dreams.

I would really like to write a book about my life and experiences and of living through two wars. I would like to work with Kurdish people in the UK, we have a lot of challenges.

If there was one bit of advice you would give anyone coming to study English in the UK?

The absolute most important thing is to INTEGRATE!  You MUST make friends with everyone, no matter who they are or where they’re from.  It’s not just about going to classes.  I believe it is honestly one of the best things I have done since I have been here.

(The lady who interviewed Kosar said the following: “I cried multiple times while talking to her – thank god it wasn’t on film.  I am so incredibly proud of her.  When you think about everything that she has overcome and how hard she has worked to get to where she is, it really makes you feel like you need a kick up the backside and get out and do something with your life.  Truly inspiring.)

Kosar gave the speech at her graduation ceremony watch from around 1:11:00.

Majed and Kosar, thank you so much for coming back to see us and for talking to us today. We are so grateful and so happy that you got what you deserved, you both worked so hard, and showed what can be achieved when you really want something.  Please keep in touch

Thank you Elly and Csili for doing the interviews and photos.


For anyone thinking of following a Pre-sessional course – here is a brief list of what they study:

  • The language and study skills that are needed for a BA/BSc, MA/MSc or PhD taught in English
  • The expectations and culture of British universities
  • How to become a successful independent learner
  • How to adapt to living and studying in the UK Course Content:
  • Research skills
  • Academic writing including grammar, vocabulary, referencing and avoiding plagiarism
  • Academic reading
  • Listening and note-taking
  • Speaking, for example in seminars and tutorials
  • Presentations
  • Critical thinking
  • Time management
  • Independent study skills
  • Basic IT


For more information about the courses have a look at this PDF