The IEOP curriculum focuses on the academic skills international students will need to be successful in their undergraduate or graduate studies in the United States. These skills include

  • Reading efficiently
  • Writing clearly
  • Taking notes from lectures
  • Participating in class discussions (seminar skills)
  • Communicating with people on and off campus

Students may pursue these goals by taking IEOP Skill classes (see below) or by requesting to enroll in IEOP’s Exit Program.

Skills Classes

IEOP offers courses in Grammar, Reading, Writing, and Listening/Speaking for Level 1 students depending on enrollment numbers.


Grammar classes review and teach structures of English language so that you can use them correctly in writing and speaking. The grammar structures studied are based on learner outcomes for that grammar level. Lower level classes focus on grammar for spoken English. Upper level classes focus on grammar for academic purposes, including analyzing grammar in outside reading.

Listening and Speaking

In listening and speaking classes, you practice speaking English, learn strategies for pronunciation, and learn how to take good lecture notes. Lower level classes focus on speaking English and participating in conversations. Upper level classes focus on listening to academic topics, taking notes, participating in discussions, and making oral presentations.


In reading classes, you learn a variety of reading strategies to help you read faster and with better understanding, and IEOP students of all levels work on learning vocabulary to increase reading comprehension. Lower level classes use both nonacademic and academic materials to focus on basic reading strategies. These materials are based on the General Service List. Upper level classes use academic materials to learn strategies of recognizing patterns of discourse and figurative language. For vocabulary, students at the upper levels use materials based on the academic word list to target the vocabulary they will need for understanding academic texts.


In writing classes, you learn to effectively use elements of the writing process to plan, draft, and revise your writing. Lower level classes focus on non-academic language and topics, sentence and paragraph construction, and basic spelling and grammar skills. Upper level classes progress into academic language and topics, performing and incorporating research into writing assignments, and understanding American academic conventions.

Optional Classes

Business English

Purpose: to aid international students in making a smooth and successful transition/entry into the Iowa State University College of Business.

The Business English courses will help you

  • Improve levels of self-confidence in English skills as you prepare to enter a new learning environment and possibly a new cultural environment by seeking to address language deficiencies and by providing abundant practice opportunities with regular class discussion
  • Make the transition to an American higher-education system by helping you become familiar with an orientation to the American academic process and its accompanying terminology
  • Prepare and present both individual and group presentations about business-oriented topics
  • Learn business terminology and idiomatic expressions used in business
  • Analyze and solve basic business case studies
  • Prepare an effective resume and cover letter
  • Write business e-mails
  • Practice note-taking techniques

IEOP offers the Business Courses when enrollment allows.

Test Preparation

The Test Preparation Course/Workshops is an excellent complement to the IEOP core curriculum. You will learn about the iBT TOEFL, the pBT TOEFL, or the IELTS tests and will be able to practice answering questions and doing tasks from each of the test skill areas: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

The Test Preparation course/workshops will help you

  • Understand the test format,
  • Become familiar with the test tasks,
  • Develop test taking strategies, and
  • Practice answering test questions.

More information about this class is available here.

IEOP offers the Test Preparation Course/Workshops when there is sufficient interest.

Teaching Methods

IEOP classes use the most current approaches to teaching English as a second language. These methods may differ from those used in your home country and require that you adjust to new ways of learning. Classes are frequently student-centered, informal, and casual. You are encouraged to share information about your culture in class. You should expect to be asked to participate often and to ask questions when you do not understand.

Assessment—Learning Outcomes

Learner outcomes have been developed for each level in each skill at IEOP. The outcomes are based on course goals and descriptions of language proficiency at each level in the program. Achievement tests are administered at the end of each semester to measure performance on the outcomes. You must demonstrate successful performance on level-appropriate outcomes in order to advance to the next level.

Sample Schedule

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9:00 am ENGL 14 Grammar ENGL 14 Grammar ENGL 14 Grammar ENGL 14 Grammar ENGL 14 Grammar
10:00 am ENGL 11 Reading ENGL 11 Reading ENGL 11 Reading ENGL 11 Reading ENGL 11 Reading
11:00 am ENGL 12 Writing ENGL 12 Writing ENGL 12 Writing ENGL 12 Writing ENGL 12 Writing
12:00 pm Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
1:00 pm Test Prep (if enrollment allows) Test Prep (if enrollment allows) Practice TOEFL Test (a few Fridays)
2:00 pm ENGL 13 Listening/Speaking ENGL 13 Listening/Speaking ENGL 13 Listening/Speaking ENGL 13 Listening/Speaking
3:00 pm Open computer lab Open computer lab Conversation Club (optional) Open computer lab