How to succeed on your pathway course: Xi's story

16 May 2018 - Fiona Raleigh

Xi is a Pre-Master’s student at the University of Nottingham International College. He recently passed his English language exams, guaranteeing him a place at the University of Nottingham. One of his teachers at the College, Katie Suvandzhieva, spoke to him to find out the key to his success.

Here is how Xi did it.

Katie: Hi Xi, thank you for being here. Your recent success is inspiring and as one of your teachers, I want to tell you how happy I am to see that you are one step closer to achieving your dreams. Will you share some of your experiences with me? When did you start studying here at the College and what classes did you take?

Xi: I am a Pre-Master's student and I started studying here last September. At the beginning, I was studying Extensive English and Skills (EES) and I had classes such as ‘Speaking and Listening’, ‘Reading and Writing’, ‘General English’, and ‘Research Skills’.

Katie: EES is an intensive course that forms part of your Pre-Master's pathway course. It's designed to help students improve their English language skills. How did you find it? Was there anything that you found difficult?

Xi: In my first class, I only knew the teacher’s name and I didn’t understand what she was saying! [Xi laughs] I knew when she told us the page number, so that was very helpful at least! Listening and speaking were the 2 skills that I found most difficult. I think these were challenging for me because I had lived in China for 23 years and I didn’t have to use English much until now.

Xi Zhang from China
Katie: I see. That must have been a big challenge for you. What classes did you take after you finished studying EES?

Xi: In January, I had different modules such as ‘Study Skills'. I am on the Business, Law and Social Sciences Pre-Master's course, and part of the curriculum involves ‘Language For Study’. This is a mandatory module that every student must take, as part of their pathway course.

Katie: Did you feel like your English had improved by the time you took your ‘Language For Study’ exam in April?

Xi: Yes, definitely. The module helped me to practise my speaking skills, and I passed the exam with great grades!

Katie: That’s brilliant news. What did you do to improve?

Xi: Firstly, I went to all of the Enhancement classes that were on offer. I also have an app which helps me to learn new vocabulary and hear the pronunciation of different words. I use this every day. I also spent 5 hours a day on my language studies, and really focussed on my goal.

Katie: What do you think made you push yourself to succeed?

Xi: The thought of passing my exam motivated me more and more as time went by. Also, the idea that if I passed then I could go to university!

Katie: What advice would you give to future students?

Xi: You shouldn’t think about your final grades too much. At the end of the day, you can only do your best. You can’t control everything so don’t worry about the end marks. Just do the exam.

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