Academic Preparation Course

The Academic Preparation Course (APC) at DLD College London prepares international students for either GCSE, BTEC, A Level or International Foundation Programme (IFP) study at the school. This is a one-year programme for the academic year prior to them joining the relevant course. The target exam is IELTS, the result of which will determine which pathway the students will follow.

Core aims

The course aims to develop English language skills and also to help students to familiarise themselves with the challenges of learning in a typical British classroom environment. This includes skills development in areas such as pair work, group work, independent reading and discussion work. Overall, the aim of the Academic Preparation Course is to give students a solid foundation of academic skills and academic expectations, and to familiarise them with the demands (including pastoral needs) of a UK-based study course.

Course Content

Academic Preparation Course students study:

  1. Academic English
  2. Mathematics
  3. Social Sciences (Understanding the world around us)
    • British identity & values
    • Types of businesses
    • Education & Healthcare
    • Types of family and gender roles
    • Diversity (cultures, professions, government)
  4. Art
  5. Communication Skills – focusing on elocution and English pronunciation
  6. Digital Skills – to develop tools for deeper learning
  7. Reading – to widen their English vocabulary
  8. PHSE – encouraging good health and social wellness

These classes help the learners to develop essential academic skills, while at the same time they are gaining an in-depth understanding of the variety of lesson content that will become available to them after they have successfully completed the course.

In terms of Reading, students are provided with authentic newspaper articles from quality newspapers, written in graded language, rendering the articles suitable for English language learners. This practice assists in the development of the students’ vocabulary and reading skills, at the same time providing them with an insight into world events as they develop their reading skills.

Students make weekly visits to the school library where they choose a book to read as part of homework. After reading their chosen book, they must complete a review before the next week’s library visit. The Online library is also available to broaden their range of reading while making meaningful use of e-technology and on-screen information. Finally, students use a weekly magazine to stay in touch with world events as they develop their reading skills.

To help the students develop into healthy, responsible and socially aware young adults, Sport and Personal Health and Social Education (PHSE) also form part of the Academic Preparation Course curriculum.

Digital Skills

Digital Skills is a strand from Computer Science and is defined as a range of abilities to use digital devices, communication applications, and networks to access and manage information. They enable people to create and share digital content, communicate and collaborate, and solve problems for effective and creative self-fulfilment in life, learning, work, and social activities. The digital age is expanding to all areas in our lives, not just for those who work in IT.

In this course, students learn important aspects of the digital age, including topics such as eSafety, the Cloud, social media, eCommerce, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, digital research methods, UI and UX, Digital Career Pathways, Ethical Hacking, and more. As well as some practical lessons in using Office 365 (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc), Introduction to Animation, Coding in HTML and CSS, Video Editing, and Virtual/Augmented Reality.


There is also an ‘enrichment’ element of the course, designed to enhance the experience of studying in central London – ‘London is our classroom’.

This enrichment programme is incorporated into the Communication Skills element of the course and involves a regular interactive session (often in the form of an external excursion) that requires the students to explore and interact with aspects of British culture. For example, students attend local art galleries and museums to enrich their understanding of British history, creativity and innovation. These sessions also provide an abundance of opportunities for the students to practise their English in real-life contexts, helping them to grow in confidence and to feel part of the local community.

All of these activities aim to diversify the range of educational experiences; they also enrich the range of language contexts to which the students are exposed. The increased range of contexts and vocabulary building this promotes, helps students to get ready for their IELTS test as it prepares them to express themselves on a variety of topics.


Students have regular tests in the four skills (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) and sit an IELTS exam at the end of the winter term to experience sitting an external exam, and for official evidence of progress made after one term. The final IELTS exam is taken at DLD College at the end of the summer term. Progression is dependent on the result of this final exam.

Progression depends on English scores and previous studies:

For: IELTS score
Year 10 4.5
Year 11 5.0
IFP 5.0
A Level 5.5*
BTEC 5.5*
Medicine IFP 6.0

(* Students must have 5.0 minimum in reading and writing components)


Equivalent to 4.0 IELTS/B1/OPT 40 to 46 minimum.

Academic Preparation Course Booklet

Browse our Academic Preparation Course Booklet here: DLD College London APC Leaflet.