EAP stands for English for Academic Purposes, which is English that is needed for studying or conducting research in a more formal, constricted manner that is much different from regular or spoken English. It is most associated with Undergraduate study and is taught over a short period of 4 to 12 weeks through pre-sessional courses. These are courses that take place before the study or session begins. There are some EAP contexts separately existing as well like the ones that include courses to prepare students for their post-graduation. These are longer courses like foundation year programs and may take place at the same time as the main session, called in-sessional courses.
EAP also has subcategories and can be divided based on the content that is taught. EGAP – English for General academic purposes, or ESAP, English for specific academic purposes. If students are learning a more generalized course with a range of disciplines, then the course can be more general. However, if the students aim to learn a more common discipline, then for them the course can be more specifically tailored.
Many EAP instructors and writers consider EGAP to be the same as study skills as these courses need excellent notetaking, taking part in debates and discussions, referencing skills, etc. – which are all traditionally looked upon as study skills like speaking or writing section particularly.
EAP vs. General English
The areas of fundamental difference are mainly in the aims of these courses and the reasons they are studied. The aim of EAP is to help meet the needs of some learners in contrast to General English which aims to improve overall English in almost every area – speaking, vocabulary, reading, etc. most students who opt for EAP is because they plan to study a different subject in English and may need to gain university admission. On the other hand, GE is a compulsory course (mostly at schools) because it relates to the needs of every student.
There is also a difference between the two in terms of focusing skills. For example, EAP courses are likely to devote more time to reading and writing exercises since these are the two most crucial areas for assessment in university. On the other hand, GE courses dedicate more time to speaking as well as listening. The type of texts and approaches also differ accordingly. While EAP uses more academic texts based on genre, and increased complexity they tend to be explored fully. GE texts on the contrary are interesting and not explored in depth. They are more conversational.
Another area of difference is the expression. In EAP, more emphasis is put on objectivity and clarity whereas, in GE, more importance is given to self-expression, creativity, and the likes.
Figure out what your academic and English needs are and enroll on an EAP soon.