FAL: Frequently Asked Questions

What will I learn in FAL X99?

FAL X99 will provide you with an opportunity to build confidence in your ability to communicate effectively in writing; to understand, develop, and practice a variety of ways of presenting your thoughts and ideas; and to receive and apply constructive feedback on your writing and academic literacy skills. These skills will help you in all your SFU courses, and particularly as you take W and B courses.  The skills gained in FAL X99 will help you better understand the hallmarks of effective communication in both your own discipline and in other disciplines.

When and where is FAL X99 offered?

You will find the FAL X99 listings in the course catalogue under F.  You can register in any section of FAL X99 that still has space available through goSFU using the same process that you do for your other courses. FAL X99 is offered each and every semester at the Burnaby and Surrey campuses, and, occasionally, at the Vancouver (Harbour Centre) campus.

Who is eligible to take FAL X99?

Any SFU student who feels that they would benefit from an opportunity to become more comfortable and confident in their academic literacy skills is welcome to register in FAL X99. 

Who is required to take FAL X99?

Any new SFU student who does not meet the SFU Literacy Requirement when admitted to SFU is required to take FAL X99 or meet the Literacy Requirement via one of the other options listed on the SFU Admissions Standards website here: www.sfu.ca/ugcr/for_students/new_admission_standards/english_competency.

Is there a deadline for me to meet the SFU Literacy Requirement if it is a requirement for me upon admission to SFU?

If you have not met the SFU Literacy Requirements upon admission to an undergraduate degree program at SFU, you are required to do so before you will be eligible to register in your first writing intensive (W) course. If you decide to take FAL X99 in order to meet this requirement, you must register in and successfully complete the course during your first three enrolled terms at SFU or within the first 45 credits of your undergraduate degree program.

Students who fail to meet the SFU Literacy Requirement by the above deadline will be hard blocked from further course registration until this requirement is met. Please see the SFU Student Services webpage here which outlines in more detail the FAL hard block process: www.sfu.ca/students/academicadvising/FAL_FAN. For this deadline reason and to avoid being hard blocked from future enrollment in one’s undergraduate program, students are strongly advised to fulfill the SFU Literacy Requirement as soon as possible.

I am coming to SFU directly from Grade 12. How do I meet the SFU Literacy Requirement using my English 12 final grade?

If you are a British Columbia high school student, your English 12 final grade is provided to SFU by the BC Ministry of Education. Your English 12 final grade is calculated based on a combination of your final grade in your English 12 course work and your provincial exam grade (for more information about your final grades, contact SFU Student Services Academic Advising [www.sfu.ca/students/academicadvising/contact_us] or the BC Ministry of Education).

If your final grade in English 12 was 75% or higher, you are eligible to register directly into writing intensive (W) courses. If your final grade in English 12 was between 60%-74%, you must meet the SFU Literacy Requirement through successful completion of FAL X99 or through one of options listed on the SFU Admissions Standards website: www.sfu.ca/ugcr/for_students/new_admission_standards/english_competency.

I am currently completing Grade 12, so I don’t know what my English 12 final grade is. How do I figure out whether or not I will need to take FAL X99?

If you think your final blended grade (i.e., course work combined with the provincial exam) might fall below 74%, you may want to consider making arrangements to write the LPI (“Language Proficiency Index”) while you wait for your English 12 grade to be processed.  The final decision about whether or not you will be required to register in FAL X99 will be made more quickly if both your English 12 grade and LPI score are submitted as early as possible during your SFU admissions application process.

What is the LPI?

The LPI, or “Language Proficiency Index”, is a standardized test designed to measure an individual’s English language ability.  For more information about the test and what it measures, visit the LPI homepage here: www.lpitest.ca/

If you opt to write the LPI instead of taking FAL X99 to meet the SFU Literacy Requirement, you must achieve a minimum score of 4 on the “Essay Writing” portion and a minimum of 50% on each of the three remaining parts (i.e., “Sentence Structure”, “English Usage”, and “Reading Comprehension”) to achieve FAL credit and be eligible to register in writing intensive (W) courses.

My final blended grade in English 12 ended up being less than 74%. I wrote the LPI and scored below the threshold grade. What do I do now?

You may re-write the LPI with the hope of meeting the threshold grade, but re-writing the LPI will take time and cost money with no guarantee that you will meet the minimum grade needed to fulfill the SFU Literacy Requirement.  You will likely benefit more from completing FAL X99 and taking the opportunity to gain more practice and confidence in your academic literacy skills.

I am transferring to SFU from another college or university. How do I meet the SFU Literacy Requirement in this transfer process?

If you have completed a post-secondary English course that is transferable to SFU for English credit or one that has been certified by SFU as a transferable writing intensive course with a grade of “C-“ or better, you will be deemed to have met the SFU Literacy Requirement. If you do not meet either of these conditions, you must meet the SFU Literacy Requirement through successful completion of FAL X99 or through one of options listed on the SFU Admissions Standards website: www.sfu.ca/ugcr/for_students/new_admission_standards/english_competency.

I am coming to SFU from outside Canada.  How do I meet the SFU Literacy Requirement?

If you have written the IELTS Academic test and have achieved a minimum overall band score of 7.0 or better with no sub-test band score less than 6.5, you have met the SFU Literacy Requirement and achieved FAL Credit. You are, therefore, eligible to register in a writing intensive (W) course. Alternatively, you can fulfill the Literacy Requirement by successfully completing the LPI Test (see the previous FAQ, “What is the LPI?”) and achieving the minimum acceptable required score. 

If you do not achieve the minimum acceptable IELTS Academic test score, you must meet the SFU Literacy Requirement through successful completion of FAL X99 or through one of options listed on the SFU Admissions Standards website: www.sfu.ca/ugcr/for_students/new_admission_standards/english_competency.

Do I receive credit for FAL X99?

FAL X99 is an “additive credit” course. This means that while it counts towards your GPA/CGPA, it does not count towards your credits required for your graduation. More specifically, a student needs 120 credits to complete an undergraduate degree at SFU. However, as FAL X99 is an “additive credit” course, you will end up graduating with 124 credits if you take this course.

Where do I go if I still have questions about FAL X99?

Contact our office by e-mail at fal-office@sfu.ca, and we will do our best to answer your questions or assist you in finding answers to your questions.