Credit points


Campus offering

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Unit rationale, description and aim

International students studying health sciences in Australia may require an external English language proficiency test result for entry into undergraduate studies, or for professional registration or employment purposes. To perform competently in an external test, candidates must have appropriate language proficiency as well as test-taking strategies and task experience.

This unit supports students with the skills development needed to achieve the required proficiency in an external English language test. The focus is on developing accuracy and fluency of language, flexibility and extension of language, and on the students' ability to respond to a variety of topic and task types. This unit provides students with test-taking strategies and the opportunity to apply skills and strategies to timed and controlled practice tasks. Students are required to reflect on feedback and implement approaches to promote their language learning, skills development and task fulfillment.

The aim of this unit is to build on the English language proficiency developed in first semester and to provide students with test-taking strategies and experience in the various tasks and macro-skill components of an external English language proficiency test.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 Recognise the personal language skills development required to improve language proficiency and perform competently in English proficiency test tasks. [GA8]

LO2     Reflect on feedback and employ strategies to further develop language learning and proficiency. [GA4, GA8]

LO3     Identify and extract points of view, main ideas, or relevant details in written and auditory texts and graphic information. [GA4, GA8)

LO4     Express ideas in speaking and writing on a range of topics demonstrating accuracy and fluency of language. [GA9] 

LO5     Apply appropriate structure, organisation and cohesion to task–specific writing.

 [GA8, GA9]

  LO6    Apply strategies and skills to language test tasks in a timed and controlled setting. [GA8, GA9]

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:

  • A variety of general knowledge and academic topics
  • Understanding external test requirements, strategies and time management
  • Interpreting test questions
  • Predicting, skimming and scanning
  • Reading and listening for opinions, main ideas and details
  • Reading and listening to understand purpose, value, inference and organisation of texts
  • Pronunciation and fluency
  • Building grammatical accuracy and extending vocabulary
  • Paragraph and essay structure, content and organisation
  • Interpreting and describing graphic information and processes
  • Online and paper test taking
  • Timed practice tasks 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

In order to promote independent learning and the development of language proficiency, active learning is a focus of the learning and teaching strategy. Students are encouraged to reflect on their language learning needs and be inquisitive and active in pursuing strategies to promote proficiency. In this unit there is also a focus on cooperative learning, utilising small and large group discussions, and peer teaching and learning. This supports the understanding of tasks, broadening of general knowledge, interpersonal interaction, and the development of communication skills.

Face-to-face mode

This unit is delivered face-to-face on campus in a 3-hour weekly workshop. The workshop format is designed to allow students to explore content and language, and subsequently engage with content and apply skills in a classroom setting. It is aimed at maximising the students’ opportunities for interaction and communication with the tutor and with their peers, and provides practice and feedback on impromptu language use. Face-to-face mode is supported by online resources and activities available on the Learning Management System.

Online Mode

In online mode, a 3-hour synchronous weekly workshop is utilised. The workshop is broken up into sections, combining flipped classroom approaches (individual and group) with tutor-led activities and peer work. This promotes independent learning and online learning activities, but provides a supported online experience for offshore pathway students. The tutor-facilitated components would be dedicated to extending student understanding, more personalised learning and “hands-on” activities. The aim is to maximise the students’ opportunities for interaction and communication with the tutor and with their peers, and provides practice and feedback on impromptu language use.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessments have been designed for students to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the learning outcomes and developed and applied the knowledge, skills and strategies targeted in the unit.

Improving English language proficiency requires students to understand and reflect on feedback, and to implement strategies and practice in order to build on learning and skills. The hurdle task (Learning Statement and Planner) is completed early in the semester and encourages students to look with specificity at the language features or tasks which they need to improve, and to speculate as to how that might be achieved. The Reflective Portfolio is a compilation of weekly statements on learning and encourages students to reflect on what they are doing, how they are doing it, and their degree of success achieving their goals. The task serves to structure and support students’ responses to feedback

and development of proficiency, as well as promoting independent learning.

To demonstrate English language proficiency, a student’s skills require assessment in “real-time” contexts. This is the purpose of Assessments 2 and 3, which are evenly weighted so that the macroskills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are addressed equally for proficiency assessment. The assessments have been designed to include a receptive and a productive skill. The reading-writing assessment has been scheduled as the third assessment and in the exam period as its format more closely aligns with the format of final exams and it allows additional time to focus on writing accuracy.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Hurdle: Learning Statement and Planner

The purpose of the task is for students to identify the specific language skills and features that they personally need to develop in order to improve English proficiency. Students are required to complete a template in which they must recognize their strengths, weaknesses, and learning goals. This should include an indication of the strategies and resources students plan to use to support the development of their skills.


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA8

Reflective Portfolio

Students will be required to submit a portfolio containing short reflections on their development of each of the four macro-skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing). The portfolio should include samples of work and weekly comments from the student on achievements and challenges. The purpose of this task is for students to analyse their progress and look at implications for future practice, and to promote independent learning.


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA8

Listening and Speaking Assessment

This task is designed to assess listening and speaking proficiency. The format of the test will align with common proficiency test tasks and students will be required to execute the tasks in a controlled and timed setting.


LO3, LO4

GA4, GA8, GA9

Final Exam

The purpose of the final exam is for students to demonstrate

their level of proficiency in the macro-skill areas of reading

and writing under exam conditions.


LO3, LO4,

LO5, LO6

GA4, GA8,


Representative texts and references

Bailey, S. (2015). Academic writing: A handbook for international students (4th ed.).


Hewings, M. (2007). English pronunciation in useAdvanced. Cambridge University Press.

Hewings, M. (2015). Advanced grammar in use. A self-study reference and practice book for advanced learners of English. (3rd ed.).  Cambridge University Press.

McCarter, S. (2011). Ready for IELTS. Macmillan Education.

Oshima, A., & Hogue, A. (2014). Longman academic writing series 4: Paragraphs to essays. (5th ed.). Pearson Education.

Pearson. (2012) The Official Guide to PTE Academic. Pearson Test of English Academic. (2nd ed.). Pearson

 NOTE: OET resources (official, Cambridge-endorsed texts yet to be published)

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