Commonly asked questions – and answers – about studying at Kensington Academy of English, KAE.

Jump directly to the relevant section using the links below.

If you have a question that isn’t covered here, then please contact us; we’re happy to help.

Questions about the College

Is the College easy to find?
Yes, the college is in Central London (Zone 1) and very close to Aldgate tube station. Take a look at our maps to help you – and if you have any problems, give us a call on +44(0)207 221 6665.

Can I use the Internet at the college?
Yes, free unlimited fibre optic Internet access is available to all our students at the college and in our residences.

What self-study facilities are there?
Each student is given access to our e-learning platform where they can practise grammar, vocabulary and all of the skills. The membership lasts for one year.

Can I buy food and drink at the college?
There is a cafe for students where they can buy hot and cold drinks as well as light snacks.

Do I need to take a placement test to see which class I should be in?
With your final booking confirmation you will be sent a link to our online grammar and vocabulary placement test. If you are unable to do the test online, you can do the test when you arrive at the college. On your first day you will be given a short writing test and you have an oral interview where your spoken English will be tested. Once we have the results of the grammar and vocabulary test and the feedback from the oral interview, we will assess which level is right for you.

What do I need to bring on my first day?
You will need to bring your passport.

What time does KAE open and close?
The reception is open from 9am – 5pm.

Can I come in for a trial lesson?
Yes, we can arrange a trial lesson for you. You will need to do a level test before the class so come in and speak to a member of our Admissions Team

Can I take holidays if I am a long-term student?
Yes you can, but make sure you tell the School Manager in advance. You can take up to 4 weeks’ holiday if you are enrolled on a 36 week course.

Can I borrow books?
You can borrow books from our Book Club on Wednesdays. We have books for learners of all levels. This is a great opportunity to improve your reading skills in English.

Questions about Courses

How long do courses last?
Students can choose to study either a short course for a minimum of one week, or a longer course for anything up to one year or more.

Is there a difference between General English morning and afternoon classes?
The aims of the morning and afternoon classes are different. In the morning classes you focus on grammar and vocabulary using a course book which also helps to develop your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills as well.

In the afternoon classes you focus on improving your fluency in reading, speaking and listening using a range of materials such as newspaper articles and film clips. The afternoon sessions also focus on improving your pronunciation and your knowledge of natural English expressions

Do I need to buy a book?
All new students on full-time English courses qualify for one free course book when paying the registration fee. If a student changes level, they will need to buy a new course book. The cost of a course book at KAE is £30.

How many students are in each class?
The maximum number of students that we can have in a class is 15. However, in the year the average number of students that we have in the classes is 10.

Where are the students from?
Our students are from all over the world. Every year we have students from more than 50 nationalities studying at KAE. So, you will have plenty of opportunities to practise English with new international friends. See the pie chart on the homepage for more details about the top 20 nationalities that study with us.

How much homework will I get?
Students are given homework daily.

What happens if I want to change level?
If you feel like you are in the wrong level, speak to the Director of Studies and we will re-examine your level to ensure that you have been placed in the class that is best for you

How can I check my progress?
Your weekly test results will show you both the areas you have improved on and the possible areas that you may need to review.

What exam preparation does the College offer?
The College offers exam preparation courses for IELTS, C1 Advanced (CAE) and B2 First (FCE). We are not an examination centre but we can help you to book an exam in an examination centre. However, we cannot guarantee availability.

Questions about Accommodation

How do I decide what accommodation is best for me?
Most of our students stay in the college residences. These are great places to meet other students and are very central. However, some students prefer to stay in a homestay to find out more about English culture and to practise their English. Please contact us if you want help in deciding which type of accommodation is right for you.

What happens if I have a problem with the accommodation?
You should talk to the Accommodation Officer. Once we know about the problem, we will try and resolve it. If it is not possible to work out the issue, we will arrange for you to be moved as soon as possible.

Will I get meals?
Homestay hosts provide half-board, with 2 meals a day, while our college and student residences are self-catering.

How far are the homestay providers from the College?
Most of our homestay providers are within a 45-60 minute journey from the college by public transport.

Questions about Support

Do I need a visa to study English in the UK?

  • Studying in the UK for 6 months or less:
    If you are an EEA or Swiss national or a national from a country on the UK’s non-visa national list, you do not need a visa to study in the UK for up to 6 months. (From 01 December 2020)
    If you are not sure whether you will need a visa or just want more information please see
    Students from all other countries must apply for a Standard Visitor visa (from 01 December 2020).
    For more information on the Standard Visitor visa see:
  • Studying in the UK for 6 months to 11 months:
    You will need to apply for a Short-term study visa (English Language) before you come to the UK.
    This also applies to all EEA and Swiss nationals from 01 January 2021.
    For more information on the Short-term study visa see:

How do I get a visa?
In order to apply for a visa:

  • You will need a letter from the college confirming that you have booked the course.
  • You will need information on your accommodation in London.
  • You must be enrolled on a course of a minimum of 15 hours per week.
  • You must be able to show that you have enough money to pay for your studies and be able to support yourself in London.

Speak to your local British Embassy for more information.

What happens if my visa is refused?

If your visa application is refused, you will need to send us the original documentation confirming the refusal. We refund in line with our terms and conditions. The registration fee is not refundable. Please see our TERMS AND CONDITIONS PAGE for further information.

Will I be met at the airport on arrival?
Yes, if you have booked an airport transfer with us in advance.

If you have not booked this service, you will have to make your own way using the information given on your final booking confirmation.

(Students under the age of 18 travelling alone will need to book the transfer service.)

Do I need to register with the police?
This scheme ended 4th August 2022. For more information see:

Can I get a Student Oyster Card?
Yes, if your course is for 14 weeks or more. You can apply for a student Oyster card through the TfL website

The student Oyster card gives you 30% discount on adult travel card rates (not pay as you go).

You will need to pay £20 to apply for your student Oyster card. The application needs to be made with the Kensington Academy of English Admissions Officer (Room A207).

Can I open a bank account?
You may be able to open a bank account in the UK if you are a long-term student.

You should check with the bank you want to open an account with what documentation you need to provide. A letter from the school is usually required.

What happens if I am ill?
We advise you to take out adequate health insurance before you travel to the UK.

If you come to the UK on a Short-term study visa (English Language), you will have to pay the Healthcare Surcharge which entitles you to use the National Health Service (NHS).

From 01 January 2021 you will no longer have free access to healthcare if you are an EEA or Swiss national. You will need to have private health insurance before you travel.

For more information see:

How can I get insurance?
KAE strongly advises all students to organise their own travel and medical insurance.

Will I be able to work in London?
No. Students on Standard Visitor visas and Short-term study visas have no right to work in the UK.

From 01 January 2021 this also applies to EEA, Swiss and other non-visa nationals.

Can I use my mobile phone in the UK?
Yes, but make sure you speak to your service provider for more information before you travel.

We recommend that long-term students buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card in the UK.

What’s the weather like in London?
The weather in London is very changeable. So, whenever you come, it is a good idea to bring a variety of clothes – and, of course, an umbrella! In winter (December to February) it can get quite cold and you might even see snow. We advise that you bring warm clothing, including a hat and scarf.

It is a good idea to check the weather forecast regularly to be prepared.

Questions about the Social Programme

I’m new in London. How can I make friends at KAE?
Talk to other students from your class in the canteen at break times. Take part in excursions and activities. Ask the KAE Administrators to introduce you to other students.

What social activities do you organise?
We arrange a varied social programme including trips to famous London attractions as well as walking tours to allow you to experience different parts of London.

We also regularly organise weekend day trips to places of interest outside of London, such as Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, Stonehenge, Windsor and Brighton.

The social programme is a great way to make friends and practise your speaking skills.

We publish details of our weekly programme on our noticeboards around the school.

Questions about Fees

How do I enrol?
It is easy to enrol on one of our courses. You can enrol online by clicking ‘Enrol’ for an individual booking. For group bookings you will need to email us and explain your circumstances: Our email address is

Your booking is not confirmed until we have received full payment for the amount invoiced. If you have any questions or concerns please ask the enrolment team for advice, we will be happy to help.

How can I pay for a course?
You can pay your fees by bank transfer or Flywire. To pay by Flywire use the Flywire link on your invoice.

Do I need to pay in full before I receive a school acceptance letter?
Yes, if you need a visa, we will issue an acceptance letter after you have paid the fees in full. For a course longer than 6 months, fees may be paid in two instalments as an exception on a case to case basis. The balance of your fees will be due once you receive your visa. You may prefer to pay the full fees in advance as the amount paid and the amount outstanding are shown on your acceptance letter.

When can I start my course?
Students can join classes on any Monday. (Except Bank Holidays – where begin on a Tuesday).

What about accommodation?
To reserve a place in our residences or in homestay for the duration of your stay you will need to pay your invoice in full.

What are the terms and conditions?
Please refer to our terms and conditions here.