English Language

The medical course at Peradeniya is taught entirely in English. All evaluations and examinations, both written and oral, are conducted in English. Therefore a good knowledge of English is a great advantage when it comes to academic work.
English language skills are divided in to four components. These are reading, writing, listening and speech. Skill levels are classified according to a banding system which is tested using a standardized test approved by the University Grants Commission.

UTEL Banding

The University Test for English Language (UTEL) tests the four component skills and bands are given according to the performance. The bands are from 1 to 9 with 9 being the highest band you can achieve. Details of UTEL banding

Students are expected to reach a minimum band of 5 in all components by the beginning of their clinical appointments in the 3rd year. All Medical graduates are expected to reach band 7 by the time of graduation.


An English course conducted by the English Language Teaching unit (ELTU) is available to help the students to achieve the required bands.

English course

Intensive English course
As soon as students enter the Faculty of Medicine, a placement test is done to evaluate the current level of skill of students.  An intensive English course is then held for 4-6 weeks where students are trained in all four skills. At the end of the intensive course an Achievement test is held. All students are expected to achieve a UTEL band of 5 for all components at this test.

Ongoing English Course
All students are required to follow the Ongoing English course which is conducted as part of the Communication, Learning and Research (CLR) academic module.
In addition Special English classes are held weekly for those students who do not achieve band 5 in one or more skills. They are required to follow weekly special English classes IN ADDITION to the ongoing course.

At the end of the first semester of the first year, UTEL banding is repeated for the students in the special English class. Those who achieve band 5 or above in all skills are then exempted from special classes in the second semester. Those who do not achieve band 5 must attend special classes in the second semester as well. Any student from the batch can sit for this test if they want to improve their scores.
At the end of the first year, the end semester (first year, second semester) examination of the CLR module is conducted in the same format as the UTEL.
A pass in this module (ie: band of 5 or above in all skills) is required.
Any student who fails to achieve the required level can sit a repeat exam at the end of the second year, second semester. Failure to achieve band 5 in this exam will result in referring the CLR module and the student cannot advance to the 3rd year.

At the end of the second year all students get a certificate stating the highest band they have achieved in each skill. Students in the special class who achieve bands of 7 in any component, and other students who achieve a band of 9 in any component will be awarded letters of special achievement from the Dean of the Faculty.

If you don’t think your language skills are up to standard, you have 2 years to improve them. During those 2 years you will be listening to lectures in English, reading textbooks in English, writing answers to questions/ reports in English and speaking in English during discussions and practical classes. So you have a lot of chances to practice!
In addition, the staff of the ELTU is always there to help you in any way they can. You can ask for additional help and participate in the special classes if you want to improve.
The academic staff is always ready to help with problems in understanding the course work and any student can ask for help at any time.
There is a lot of group work during the course and you can always learn from your friends who have good language skills.

Helpful websites

If you think you would like to improve further, have a look at these books/ websites which are a good way of improving your skills.

Students who were awarded letters of special achievement


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