You can start whenever you want - on any day. 

1. Contact us, apply online or come to the school. Click here for opening hours.
2. Take the level test.
3. Make your payment.
4. Start classes.

Yes. Enrolment is completely free for all our courses. Yeah! :)

You will take a Written Test when you enrol. You will also have a Speaking Test with a teacher at the school.
Our level test is not an exam, it just tells us which is the best level for you. You cannot ‘fail’ the test. There are 120 questions in the Written Test and it takes up to one hour. The Speaking Test takes 10 minutes.

Yes. Just ask at reception... But be careful, our classes are addictive. :) 

For adult courses, 16 years old. We have had students from age 16 to age 72. Most students are in their 20s or 30s.


It depends. For most classes, our maximum class size is 12 but there are usually less students that this. Afternoon Small Group classes have a maximum of 4 students.
You can ask at reception for the number of students attending class this week.

1 hour and 40 minutes (50 minute lesson + 10 minute break + 50 minute lesson).

Yes. 100% of our teachers are native English speakers.

Yes. We have General English classes from Beginner to Advanced. We have Starter (A1), Elementary (A2), Pre-Intermediate (B1), Intermediate (B1+), Upper-Intermediate (B2), Advanced (C1) and Proficiency (C2). We also have exam preparation classes (FCE, CAE, CPE and IELTS). Find the best course for you here.

It depends. Do you study at home? Do you practise your English outside of class? Do you speak English at work? Are you living with English speakers?

Your level is assessed every week by your teacher and the Portal class tests. When your English reaches the next level, your teacher or the Academic Director will speak with you directly.

If you want to change level, fill in an ‘Assessment Form’ at reception. Your English will then be assessed and the Academic Director will decide if you should change level.

Make sure you take your Portal Class Tests. These help you to remember the language.

Students may retake classes if they don’t pass the Class Test.

Students have different knowledge and abilities so sometimes you may combine classes from two different levels at the same time (depending on what grammar and vocabulary you need to practise).

It depends. How much time do you have? How much money do you want to spend? Do you want to improve quickly?
- Studying for a few weeks? Most people choose 10 – 15 classes (16 hours 40 minutes – 25 hours) per week.
- Living and working in Edinburgh long-term? Most people choose 2 – 5 classes (3 hours 20 – 8 hours 20 minutes) per week.

Yes. You can take 1 – 5 private lessons per week.

Flexibility and Timetables

Yes. You must take the same number of classes per week, but you can change the day and time you take your classes. 

Book your classes on the Student Portal.
If you have any problems, email or call reception:
0131 668 4336

If you are studying for longer than 4 weeks, you can take a holiday and not lose your classes. Talk to us at reception or email info@albaenglish.co.uk at least one week before you want to pause your classes.

You don’t lose your money. You can take your classes over a longer period of time. For example, 2 classes/week for 10 weeks instead of 5 classes/week for 4 weeks.

Yes, within the same week. You cannot...
- cancel on the same day as your class.
- cancel after you missed your class.
- move classes forward to a future week.


- Homestay Accommodation: It depends. Some families may be able to offer this. There is an extra charge for food which needs to be specially bought.
- Hostel: Yes.

Yes. Some of our homestay families don't have children or pets.

Payments and Cancellations

You can pay by cash, credit card or bank transfer.

In the UK/Edinburgh:
- You can pay by credit card at reception or online.
- You can also pay in cash at reception.

From outside the UK:
- You can pay by card (in pounds £) online. Non-UK registered cards are accepted too.

- You can pay by bank transfer.

Not for credit cards (except the cost of currency exchange). For making a bank transfer, your bank may charge you.

If you cancel within the first 7 days of your contract, you will be given a full refund (less any classes taken). If you need to cancel after this time, you will be refunded if there are exceptional circumstances (if you are leaving the UK for example).

For Pay Monthly courses, you can cancel your payments at any time directly by going to the WorldPay website.

For courses booked from outside the UK, your refund depends on when you cancel.
- more than 28 days before the start of your course: We retain only the Deposit. All other moneys paid will be refunded, less any credit card fee or bank charges incurred.
- 28 – 7 days before the start of your course: We retain 50% of the total course price.
- less than 7 days before the start of your course: We retain 100% of the total course price.

Please make sure you have insurance to cover the cost of unexpected circumstances such as illness.

Please see the Terms and Conditions for our full cancellation policy.


Yes. Please tell reception and your certificate will be prepared before you finish your course.

It depends on your level and your reason for taking an exam:
- IELTS is often a requirement for visa applications and university applications.
- FCE, CAE and CPE are often requirements for university applications and can enhance your CV/Resume.

- Make sure you book in plenty of time.
- The test centre for Edinburgh is Basil Paterson College.
- IELTS exam information.
- FCE, CAE and CPE exam information.


Yes. We are accredited by the British Council and can provide a enrolment letter for your  Student Visitor Visa application.

Find out quickly with the UK Border Agency questionnaire.

If you are a non-visa national, you can get your passport stamped as a student visitor (allowing you to study for a maximum of 6 months) free on arrival in the UK.

Non-Visa Nationals include:
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, South Korea, Taiwan, and Uruguay.

Social Program

Many kinds. We have events from live music gigs and Ceilidhs to BBQs, cinema visits and climbing Arthur’s Seat:
- See events happening soon.
- See past events on Facebook.

Our current and former students. You can also bring your friends or family (unless it is an ‘exclusive’ event for current Alba students).

It varies. We make sure some are free for those on a tight budget. They rarely cost more than £10. Alba English School does not make any profit from the Social Programme.

Sign up on Facebook or tell reception that you want to attend.

CV Workshop

It is a weekly session where a teacher meets with students to check their English CVs.

Please come to reception. You will receive a CV checklist, email us your CV and then have a one-to-one revision session with a teacher.

Student Portal

The Alba Student Portal is our wonderful online learning portal for our students. You can:
- book your classes and see your schedule
- see the curricula and preparation activities
- see useful feedback and web links from your teacher
- take your end of class tests
- see your payments

Don’t worry, come and talk to us at reception. We can show you!