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General English

Students have been learning English for everyday life in UEC’s General English classes since 1988! That’s tens of thousands of students over 35 years! That’s a lot of study and a lot of fun!

CRICOS Course Code: 0101700

start date

any Monday

course length

up to 60 weeks

course hours

20hrs/week + 2.5 hours of optional


day & evening

start date

any Monday

course length

up to 60 weeks

course hours

20hrs/week + 2.5 hours of optional


day & evening

What is this course about?

The General English course is designed to help students be comfortable using English in the real world. The focus is on communication skills and developing language for common situations and needs. Classes include lots of speaking, listening and reading with a little writing. Developing grammar and vocabulary will be important, but the focus is on learning the grammar and vocabulary for real communication.

What you will do each day?

Every day you’ll speak English with your classmates – mainly in pairs and small groups. Every lesson covers a variety of practice activities where you need to communicate. Your teacher will guide you in your practice and help you improve your grammar and vocabulary and help you become more comfortable and be accurate using it. You’ll read and listen to a variety of articles and discussions and then talk about them with classmates.

You’ll laugh, learn, make friends, and build your confidence and skill for using English outside the classroom.

What you will do each week?

Every week you will do different activities, study different topics and learn different things, but you will study at the same times. The table below shows a typical week.

Lesson and breakMonTueWedThursFri
Lesson 1Vocab: How people travel -A to Z review game on the boardVocab: Holiday activities - Miming in pairs for reviewVocab: Different travellers “tourist, migrant, student…etc”Vocab: Phrases and phrasal verbs about travel “jet lag, check in…etc”Vocab: Phrases and phrasal verbs about travel “jet lag, check in…etc”
Lesson 2Grammar: Imperatives: understanding language at the airport. Listening: Announcements at the airportGrammar: Future tenses to talk about future plansReading: World News Stories about different Types of TravellersGrammar: future tenses to talk about future plans (continued)Listening:TED Talk: Traveling with no money, Edouard Jacqmin -Discussion about travelling on a budget
Lesson 3Speaking: Role-play talking with CustomsWriting: Digital postcard to your best friendSpeaking: Interview and Survey the class. Writing: Traveller Profile of students in classSpeaking: This or That? About travel and holidaysEnd of Week review activities

How you will benefit from this course?

  • Increase your confidence in using English in the real world
  • Speak more easily, fluently and accurately
  • Read more quickly and effectively
  • Understand spoken English more easily – even native-speakers
  • Increase the vocabulary you have for real life situations
  • Improve your grammatical understanding and accuracy

When you can study?

You can start General English any week you like! Just choose the Monday that suits your plans. You can choose to have lessons in the morning and lessons in the evening. There are no weekend lessons. You can enroll in General English for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of 60 weeks!

Who can take this course?

You must be at least 18 years old at the start of a course at UEC

There are no English or academic requirements to join General English at UEC, because General English classes are separated into six levels:

  • Starter – for students who have only a few words of English
  • Elementary – for students who have enough English to manage in simple daily activities
  • Pre-Intermediate – for students who can have conversations, are comfortable in typical daily situations and can manage some less predictable situations
  • Intermediate – for students who can have a conversation about most things and have enough language to find a way to say what they want to say in most situations
  • Upper Intermediate – for students who can speak quite fluently, including about more complex topics, and who can use English quite accurately and appropriately for different social situations
  • Advanced – for students who can use English fluently, accurately and effectively in a broad range of situations

How is the course delivered?

Like all the courses at UEC, the General English course is all live, timetabled lessons with up to 18 students and 1 teacher in a classroom at the UEC campus in the centre of Sydney. The lessons are very interactive – you will talk and learn with your classmates and the teacher in every lesson.

All classes are delivered face-to-face at the UEC campus.

What learning materials are used in this course?

Each level of General English has a core textbook that is the basis of the learning activities. You will get a copy of the book to use and keep. When you change level, you’ll get a new book for that level too.

It will change from week to week and day to day, but normally about 80% of your lessons will be based on the book. Your teachers will also use other materials from other teaching resources and from the real world and sometimes they’ll design materials specifically to suit the needs of the lessons.

What you’ll need for this course?

You will need pens and pencils and note books in your lessons – every day.

All your lessons will utilise online resources so you should have your own laptop or tablet to access these resources. You can take the General English course without your own laptop or tablet, because we do provide you with a physical book for the lessons, but you will find a laptop or tablet makes it much easier and more effective to learn.


Teachers assess students in General English by observing them during lesson activities every day. Teachers also do brief weekly progress tests to assess how effectively students are learning and progressing.

Students are able to progress from one level of General English to the next, any week – as soon as they and their teacher feel they are ready for the higher level.

Prior learning

UEC uses an online test to assess students’ English level before they arrive to start their course. This allows us to know what level of General English you should start in so you can start class on your first day at UEC.


All students who study at UEC will get a certificate to show what course they studied and for how long and what level of English they achieved at the end of their studies.

Further study pathways

Students who reach Intermediate level of General English or higher can join the UEC Academic English Program.

Students who reach Upper Intermediate or higher can join the UEC IELTS Preparation course or the Cambridge B2 Preparation course.

UEC has been helping its graduates find and start courses at colleges and universities in Australia for more than 30 years. We have partnerships with more than 50 institutions that recognise UEC graduates and accept them into courses with a UEC certificate instead of requiring the student to take an IELTS exam. Some of these institutions accept students with a General English certificate while others require an AEP certificate.  See the Pathways page for more information.