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Curtin University

Frequently asked questions about UniEnglish

Please be advised that the following answers are of a general nature and in all cases the actual policy/cover limits, conditions and exclusions will prevail.

What is UniEnglish?

It is a set of language tasks which will help you to assess your strengths and weaknesses in English. It consists of three sections: Use of English/Reading, Listening and Writing. If English is not your first language, we strongly encourage you to complete UniEnglish - it won't take long and it is completely free of charge.

Why should I take UniEnglish?

By taking UniEnglish, you'll find out your language strengths and weaknesses, so you'll know what aspects of your English you need to improve most. That will help you to use your study time most effectively.

How can I improve my English at Curtin?

First you need to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. You can assess this by participating in UniEnglish, and it is strongly recommended that you do this early in the semester. For additional support, The Learning Centre provides a range of possibilities to help you improve your English.

When will I get my UniEnglish results?

The first two sections of UniEnglish are marked automatically, so you will be able to see your results instantly online. The Writing section is marked by a trained English language expert, and the results are sent to your student email address.

Who will know about my UniEnglish results?

Only you and the Manager of UniEnglish have access to your full results. The results will not be passed on to any of your lecturers or tutors, and are not recorded in your academic records. The expert who marks the Writing section will have your student number (so that the result can be emailed to you), but will not have any of your personal details.

I have problems understanding what is said in my lectures. What can I do?

If your lecture notes are on WebCT or Blackboard, make sure you read them before you attend the lecture so that you are prepared. If the notes are not available, then do some background reading on the topic before the lecture (preferably from the list of references in your unit outline). You will find that this helps with your listening comprehension. If your lecturer uses i-lectures, try listening to the lectures again at home, so that you can get used to your lecturer's voice in a stress free environment. And don't forget to try the listening activities on the UniEnglish web pages. Finally, practise listening to everything you can: TV, radio, conversations on the bus, everything!

I find it difficult to speak in tutorials. What can I do about it?

It depends why you are having problems. If you feel shy, why not begin by asking a factual question just to practise talking in front of everyone? For example, you could ask your tutor to explain a particular technical term. Or you can begin by agreeing with something another student has said, and explaining why you agree. Once you have participated once, it becomes much easier the second time. If you don't know how to get the tutor's attention, try sitting up straight and looking at your tutor; you could also raise your hand.

What is 'academic writing'?

Academic writing includes a particular way of organising the text you want to write (how you link your ideas), a particular type of vocabulary you need to use (more formal than everyday language), and the use of a particular set of conventions (such as referencing your sources). You will find many links and activities on these web pages to help you improve your academic writing.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism involves using other people's words, ideas and data without appropriate acknowledgement. It is not always easy to know what 'appropriate acknowledgement' is; you can find out more through the Student Guidelines booklet from the Office of Teaching and Learning. You can also find out more from Curtin's Assessment and Student Progression Manual.

Which referencing system should I use at Curtin?

It depends on your course of study. Check with your unit coordinator which system is appropriate for your discipline. If you need help using a reference system, go to the library's referencing pages.