Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

Education Pathways

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. Being able to reflect on, and continue to develop, language and communicative competencies, contributes to success in tertiary studies, as well as in interpersonal and professional interactions.

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 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 - Describe the personal language development required to improve language proficiency (GA4)

LO2 - Extract points of view, main ideas, or relevant details from written and auditory texts and graphic information (GA4, GA8)

LO3 - Apply strategies and skills to language tasks in timed and controlled settings demonstrating accuracy and fluency (GA4, 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

Reflecting on personal learning plans and skills development

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

Assessment will be equitable for students undertaking either face-to-face or online classes. 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 Reflective Portfolio includes the identification of a skills area that the individual student needs to develop. It is also comprised 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 in achieving their goals. The task serves to structure and support students’ development of proficiency, encourages them to look at applicability of learning in relation to other skills, and promotes independent learning.

To demonstrate English language proficiency, a student’s skills require assessment in “real-time” contexts in which students must be independent in their demonstration of skills. This enables assessment of students' skills and responsiveness in impromptu settings, which is important in determining readiness for the degree. This is the purpose of Assessments 2 and 3, which are evenly weighted so that the macro-skills 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. The exam tasks mirror the style of assessment students may encounter in external proficiency tests undertaken for the purposes of entry to the degree or for registration or accreditation purposes. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Reflective Portfolio

Students will be required to submit a portfolio containing short reflections on their development of one of the four macro-skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing). The portfolio should identify the specific language skills or features that the student personally needs to develop, include evidence of completed language activities, 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. Students will also look at applicability across skills.




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.


LO2, LO3

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.


LO2, LO3

GA4, GA8,


Representative texts and references

Academic Skills Unit. Accessed through Canvas: Unit: Academic Skills Unit (

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 useA 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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