After IELTS helps students prepare to study in English at university

What my students wish they had known before starting university.

After IELTS is a 12-week e‑course and workbook for students who have passed IELTS Academic in preparation for studying in English.

Courses start on the 1st of each month.

After IELTS helps students prepare to study in English at university

Embarking on your university journey after acing the IELTS is a significant achievement, but the challenges that follow can be overwhelming.

Despite meeting the required IELTS grade, many of my students found themselves facing uncertainty and stress. The main problem was language as well as time management, understanding the universities’ expectations, and thinking academically.

They worried about letting down friends, family, and colleagues. And themselves! I want you to enjoy your university studies to the max! My dream is to help you realise your dream.


Adapting to new writing styles
Processing extensive reading materials
Grasping general academic principles
Critiquing experts and peers
Constant fear of failure

The Solution: "After IELTS"

This comprehensive book and e‑course go far beyond IELTS, delving into vital language and academic concepts often overlooked in most courses. They offer fresh perspectives and innovative learning methods, empowering you with the skills you need for success.

Why choose After IELTS

  • This course understands the position of non-native speakers starting university courses in English.
  • It respects your intelligence and your ability to learn how to learn.
  • It engages your higher-order thinking skills.
  • It challenges you to think creatively and critically.
  • It trains you in academic skills and introduces key academic concepts.
  • It develops your understanding of language and meaning.
  • It equips you to participate in English at university level.

The course continually challenges you in new and exciting ways. I believe you will enjoy it! You'll never be bored.

Why choose After IELTS

One of my students commented

Professor James Thomas was one of my first teachers in my Master’s degree journey, teaching us “English for Academic Purposes”. I come from a strong IELTS background, however, during the EAP course, I realized that there was still much I was missing. The textbook he prepared, “Discovering Academic English” was a battle, and I mean this in a positive sense. The in-class lectures and activities greatly helped us understand the main ideas, and the book served as the support. Since then, I keep getting impressive results. I’m positive this course helped me get beyond C1 level, which is a challenge for even the highest IELTS test-takers. 

Akbarjon Abdulkhamidov


the book

The 150 page workbook is full of information and tasks:

  • How to study this course
  • ​Chapters on language learning and useful online tools
  • How and what to learn about academic vocabulary
  • Essential concepts for university study
  • Becoming a member of the academic community


the e‑course

The 12 week e-learning course supplements the After IELTS course book. Use it for:

  • presentations
  • quizzes
  • links to resources​
  • discussion forums
  • pronunciation practice
  • study buddy search​

​Weekly two-hour sessions. These are opportunities for

  • discussion
  • group work
  • queries
  • presentations
  • problem solving

The Process

After IELTS is a twelve-week course.

Complete the application form and receive an email with instructions for joining.
Download the e-book from the course. There is one chapter per week.
Work through the texts and the tasks in the book and the e‑course.
Participate in the weekly live sessions.

Course outline

the 12-week course

  • Week 1: Getting started

    • Introductions
    • Using this course
    • Active study
    • Knowledge creation
    • Reflecting
    week 1

    To do list

    • Register for the e-course
    • Download the 150 page PDF workbook
    • Print and bind the workbook
    • Read and do the Week 1 tasks in the book
    • Do online activities in the e-course
    • Attend the online session
  • Week 2: ​Being a student

    • Synergy
    • Study buddy
    • Brainstorming
    • Six degrees of separation
    • How to win friends … 
    week 2

    Each week, students:

    • Read and do the tasks in the book
    • Do online activities in the e-course
    • Share with your study buddy
    • Attend the online session
  • Week 3: ​General English

    • About English​
    • About words
    • Online dictionaries
    • Improving pronunciation
    • Using SkELL
    • Collocation
    • Taxonomies, hierarchies and paradigms
    week 3

    A wordsketch by SkELL showing verbs that collocate with experiment.

  • Week 4: Academic vocabulary

    • Academic words in texts
    • Versatile Academic Wordlist
    • Using CorpusMate
    • Grammar Patterns
    • How to study academic vocabulary 
    week 4

    Concordance of intervention from CorpusMate.

  • Week 5: Six Pillars of Vocabulary

    • The properties of words
    • Modes of study
    • Higher and lower order thinking skills
    • Product and process
    week 5

  • Week 6: Learning language from language

    • Genre and register
    • Using VersaText 
    • Features of texts
    • Word constellations
    • Consensus view of language
    • Cherry picking
    week 6

  • Week 7: Mid-term break

    • Revise
    • Catch up
    • Read ahead
    • Reflect
    week 7

    Catch-up time

  • Week 8: Chunks, hedging and triangulation

    • Chunking
    • Sentence stems
    • Academic Phrasebank
    • Hedging
    • Triangulation
    week 8

  • Week 9: Learning from texts

    • The nature of text​
    • Top-down and bottom-up preparation
    • Sections of texts
    • Academic structures
    • Collocation
    • Discovery learning
    week 9

  • Week 10: Key features of academic texts

    • Objectivity
    • Gender neutral language 
    • Post-modification
    • Subjunctive
    week 10

  • Week 11: Scientific Concepts

    • Humanism
    • Observation
    • Hypothesis
    • Data analysis
    • Peer review
    • Correlation and causation
    week 11

  • Week 12: Cognitive biases

    • Cognitive dissonance
    • Confirmation bias
    • Recency bias
    • Social desirability bias
    • Anchoring
    week 12

    Course round up

    • Overview
    • Feedback
    • Farewell and good luck!

The author and course tutor

I am James Thomas, the author of the After IELTS book and e-course. I was motivated to help non-native speakers of English who are about to start studying university courses in English when I was Visiting Professor and Director of MA TESOL at Webster University in Tashkent (2021–2023).

For more information about me, my background, work history and publications, see About Me at my Versatile ELT website.

The author and course tutor

Teachers and students

who have worked with me say

  • In 2013, I attended a training course for university teachers at the Norwich Institute for Language Education, and James was our instructor. I was absolutely fascinated by his classes as they were so different from what I had seen before, both in terms of the form and the content. He demonstrated how to use corpora for teaching English, as before that I had only used them for research purposes. 

    Elizavata Smirnova
    PhD in Linguistics, Associate professor of foreign languages at the HSE University Perm
  • I would like to express my gratitude for the time you spent teaching me in the MA TESOL course. Your approach to teaching is unique. You are the type of educator who is dedicated to his profession, and this leads to excellent results of your students. I learned many different approaches to teaching students and how to adapt and adopt materials for different types of students. This knowledge makes my lessons much more interesting and work load easier. Thank you for your contribution to my self making!

    Albina Waabach
  • Teaching two distinct cohorts at Webster University in Tashkent, I had the special opportunity to use James Thomas’s “Discovering Academic English” in two different academic terms: the first edition in the Fall term of 2022 and the second edition in the Spring term of 2023. This experience allowed me to witness firsthand the enhancements in our academic curriculum, particularly in areas related to academic writing and presentation skills.

    Dinara Toktasheva
  • I worked with James Thomas for about two years and he never ceased to amaze me with his vast knowledge of ELT methodology, instructional design, and pedagogical creativity.  The courses and materials he designed were highly comprehensive, innovative, and miraculously responsive to his students’ current language needs and much beyond. As a teacher educator, James manages to keep both perspectives in mind, which is why his materials are equally useful for teachers and students as a supported or self-study resource.

    Ella Maksakova


For 300 GBP, you will get
Access to the 12-week online course
Discussion and support
The fully-formatted taskbook
Weekly two-hour group Zoom sessions with the author and course tutor

Course cost

The course usually costs £300 (GBP) and is payable in full two weeks before your starting date. Upon receipt of your fee, you will receive access to the e-course from where you will be able to download the course book.

As After IELTS gets started, there are some enticing offers:

April course £250

First 5 sign ups 20% discount off the £250.

May course £275

First 5 sign ups 15% discount off the £275.

June and successive courses £300

First 5 sign ups 10% discount off the £300.

Application form

Places in this course are limited at this time. Please complete this questionnaire to be considered for a place. If you are accepted, this information will be used to place you in the appropriate group.

    What user name would like to use in the e-course? It should be lower case only, one word only.

    Preference is definitely not given to people with higher scores. Be honest.

    After IELTS requires a considerable time commitment. When you were preparing for your IELTS exam, how many hours a day on average did you study?

    You can select more than one.

    If you know anyone who might be interested in doing this course, please forward them the link to the After IELTS site. And share the webpage on social media.

    If you have any questions about the course, write them here.