The Preparatory English Program (PEP) is responsible for developing the English proficiency required in a university where English is the language of instruction. This intensive five-course (half-semester) program, to which all new students are initially admitted, is designed to consolidate and develop the basic ability in English acquired in school. Four hours of English instruction per day are given. The course is specifically designed to help students develop the language skills, reading, listening, writing and speaking, needed to succeed in their academic studies. Grammar and vocabulary instruction support these skills, as do projects and computer-based exercises. Alongside the development of language, PEP courses also aim to help students develop the study skills and self-discipline necessary for success in their academic careers.
The Modules are aligned on a continuum, where objectives and learning outcomes are progressive throughout the entire program. The skills developed in one module become the means for advancing onto the next module. At the lower levels, Modules ENGL00 and ENGL01 incorporate General English course books with the inclusion of ESP supplements. Modules ENGL02 and ENGL03 focus more on Academic Skills development, and by Module ENGL04, students have the working grounds for engaging in Integrated Skills practice. The objectives for reading, listening, use of English, speaking and writing do in fact overlap from one Module to the next, which ensures that the students continue building upon the skills they have developed throughout the program.
Through the integrated Preparatory English Program, the students' ability to cope with university-level work in a technical environment is improved. A particularly advantageous aspect of the Preparatory English Program is that some of the course materials are designed, written and produced by the program's own staff for the specific needs of KFUPM students.
Students who successfully complete the program are equipped with a solid basis of English, on the strength of which they are able to commence freshman studies. However, students who demonstrate English at an already high-enough level on entering the Preparatory Year, either by their performance in internationally-recognized examinations or by passing the PEP promotion exams, bypass some or all of the five PEP courses, with some proceeding directly to freshman studies.
Other Features of the PEP
The PEP is well equipped with modern educational aids. Facilities exist for recording and playing both audio and video material. English language instruction also takes place in the Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Labs. There are six labs, with 180 workstations connected to a server on a Local Area Network (LAN). Students have access to a range of material prepared by faculty members as well as commercial software and the facility to produce printed copies of written assignments.
The program serves both the KFUPM community and the community at large in a program of continuing education. Evening courses in English are offered each semester, and other, specialized courses are produced to meet the needs of local industry.
The English Language Center also provides professional editing services through the University Editing Board. Papers, theses and other documents prepared by professors and lecturers at KFUPM published in academic journals and elsewhere, are edited by experienced Preparatory Year English faculty members.
The Program also conducts examinations to check the English proficiency of non-KFUPM graduate students who apply for post-graduate studies. Based on these results, recommendations are sent to the Dean of Graduate Studies about their proficiency in English and their ability to pursue graduate studies at the University.
The Preparatory English Program does not grant a degree but, for all Preparatory-Year students, success in the PEP (a grade C in all courses) is a requirement for promotion to the freshman year.
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