Adapting to the British education system

Author: LeeAnn

Transitioning to a new school system is difficult, especially in a foreign country. Luckily, your tutors and induction program will give you all of the information you need about grading, assignments, exams, and anything else relevant to the education system here in England. Some of the major challenges I personally faced when I first arrived in the UK included: getting used to the different grading scale and the assignment timeline. While I’m able to understand my grades quite easily when I get back papers or exams now, I still need to check the actual grading scale sometimes since it’s so drastically different than what I’m used to from home. In many cases, an assignment may be returned to you with a grading scale on it that breaks down why you earned a certain score. This is extremely useful for understanding your score and for future improvements. Additionally, the way grading works here was foreign to me when I first arrived. Each assignment must be turned in at an academic centre and is then graded by multiple individuals who must agree on a mark. I find this system very fair, however it is quite slow and you must wait a few weeks before an assignment or exam is returned to you.


Furthermore, it also took a bit of time to get used to the assignment timeline in the UK. Before arriving at KCL, I was used to having assignments for every class each week. However, in my experience in the UK, there are fewer assignments per class. This means a bit more self-motivation is necessary in order to get the most out of every course you take. This self-directed learning can be very rewarding because it allows you to explore the material interesting to you in the most depth, while still garnering an overview of the material. Some ways to motivate yourself include setting up meetings with your tutors to further discuss the material or forming study groups. I prefer study groups to revising alone anyway, because it promotes positive socialization and helps you to get a much more well-rounded view on the topic at hand. Sometimes the unique perspectives of your friends or peers can deepen your understanding of a course on an unexpected new level.

Overall, I haven’t found it to be too hard to acclimate to the British education system, it just took an open mind and little bit of adjustment! However, I come from an English-speaking country, which made it much easier for me to adapt. If you are coming from a country where the primary language is not English or you are finding it especially challenging to succeed in your modules due to the language, I would suggest finding a group of students who are in the same situation as you so that you can all support each other. Additionally, the more time you spend with students who natively speak English, the more you will improve. It also never hurts to ask your friends questions about the language or to help you review your work for spelling and grammar – most people won’t mind a bit. Finally, remember that London is a very diverse city and that everyone finds their place here!