ESAS for Undergraduate Students

In 2016, UNSW is piloting the English Skills for Academic Success (ESAS) program. The ESAS program is designed to help all students succeed in their studies at UNSW. Through ESAS, UNSW will provide opportunities and support for students who need help with their English language communication skills early in their academic studies.

All students enrolling in the following degrees, regardless of their language background, residency status or what school they attended, will complete the initial screening and depending on the outcome, may be asked to undertake a more comprehensive language diagnostic:

  • 3543 Business School - Economics
  • 3521 Business School - Commerce/Economics

How does ESAS work?

1. ESAS Screening

All commencing students enrolled in the above degrees are required to complete a 30 minute online screening. The screening is simply a quick 'health check' of your English language communication skills. It consists of vocabulary and timed reading tasks.

Your results

The results from the screening will be emailed to you and we will let your faculty know if you have completed the screening and if you have to undertake the diagnostic.

You may learn that:

  • Your academic English language skills are appropriate for beginning university study
  • Your academic English language skills are satisfactory and be directed to appropriate support to improve them
  • You are required to complete the ESAS Diagnostic for a thorough check of your academic English language skills

The screening is not a test and does not count as marks towards your degree. Your screening results will not appear on your Academic Transcript.

2. ESAS Diagnostic

Depending on your screening results, you may be asked to do a follow-up two-hour diagnostic. There are three paper-based tasks to be completed in the diagnostic: Listening, Reading and Writing. About a week after your diagnostic, you will receive an email from the ESAS team. It might tell you that your English language skills are satisfactory for university level or you may be asked to make an appointment with a Learning Advisor at our Learning Centre. Your Learning Advisor will discuss with you the most appropriate support available.

Don't forget: The diagnostic is not a test and does not count as marks towards your degree. Your diagnostic results will not appear on your Academic Transcript.

3. ESAS Support

Depending on your results, the Learning Advisor will talk to you about the best way to improve your English language skills. This might be a referral to online resources or enrolment into an English communication course within your faculty. The COMM1001 Communicating in Business and Economics is a discipline specific communication course designed to enrich students’ academic English. COMM1001 will count as 6UOC towards attaining your final degree, so you won’t be disadvantaged. Making the most of this support will give you a good start to studying at UNSW.

For further information about ESAS including example tasks for the screening and diagnostic you can read the ESAS Student Handbook (PDF, 800kb, 12 pages).

Book your screening

You will be automatically enrolled in the ESAS screening through Moodle before the start of O-Week. However you will not be able to complete the ESAS screening in your own time. When you log into Moodle, you can find additional information about the task, including the ESAS Students’ Handbook, with more examples of what ESAS tasks involve.

Students enrolled in 3543 Economics and 3521 Commerce/Economics are required to complete the screening by Thursday 28 July Week 1, Semester 2.

The ESAS screening will be available during O Week and Week 1. The screening only takes 30min and you can book a screening session online.

After the screening, if you are asked to complete the diagnostic you will be advised of the times available in an email.

Preparing for your screening

To prepare for the ESAS Screening you will need to do the following:

  • Get your student ID Card. Instructions on how to do this can be found here on the Getting Started website
  • Set-up your student email account. This is how we will correspond with you.
  • Access the English Skills for Academic Success Screening course in Moodle.
  • In preparation for the screening you can access the ESAS Student Handbook in Moodle which contains example tasks for both the screening and diagnostic:
    1. Go to
    2. Log in to Moodle using your zID and Password.
    3. Select the course 'English Skills for Academic Success.
    4. Under 'Welcome to English Skills for Academic Success (ESAS)' will find a link to the handbook.

I have more questions

Q. A number of UNSW staff have told me I need to complete the screening. Does this mean I have to do it more than once?

A. No. You only have to complete the screening once.

Q. Does it cost me anything to do the screening and diagnostic? What about if I need any follow-up support?

A. No. The screening, diagnostic and academic support from the Learning Centre is a free service to students. The COMM1001 Communicating in Business and Economics course is a credit bearing course that will count towards your final degree as such normal tuition fees apply. For more information please see the 2016 course handbook.

Q. I’ve already completed and scored well on the ELISE Quiz, so why do I have to complete the screening for ESAS?

A. The ELISE course and quiz is designed to help you prepare for study at UNSW. ESAS is designed to specifically assess your overall English language proficiency and connect you with the most appropriate support if needed.

Q. What happens if I don’t want to do the screening and/or the diagnostic?

A. All commencing students in the identified courses must complete the screening, and diagnostic if required. It is an opportunity to help you identify and resolve any areas you may struggle with in the future.

Q. I have a disability and I am registered with the Student Equity and Disability service. Do I have to complete the screening?

A. If your disability or medical condition may impact you being able to do the screening, please contact us to discuss whether an exemption or adjustment might apply to you. If you do register with Disability Services, they will be able to advise you whether educational adjustments are required or if you will receive an exemption. They will also be able to provide you with ongoing support throughout your time at UNSW.

To register for disability support please visit the Disability Services page.

If you have already registered , please contact your Disability Adviser directly if you have any concerns.

Q. Are the results published anywhere and who has access to them?

A. The results from the screening and diagnostic are not published anywhere, which means they will not be included on your official Academic Transcript. They are used to find out what type of English language support you might need at UNSW and help the project office improve ESAS in the future. ESAS complies with the Student Privacy Code of Practice


If you have some more questions you can email or visit the Learning Centre:

Lower Ground Floor, Chancellery Building

Phone: 02 9385 2060


Opening Hours

  • Monday to Thursday: 9am - 5pm
  • Friday: 9am - 2.30pm

Map of Learning Centre location