Do you have any questions about booking your next language course with Cactus?
We have tried to answer as many frequently asked questions (FAQs) here to help you start your language learning journey as easily as possible.
Booking & Availability
How do I book?
Book Course: Follow this link to book securely online.
Payment: Full payment is required at the time of confirming your course. We do not take deposits for language courses in the UK.
Confirmation: We will send you a confirmation email to confirm payment and later with the course details by email.
Course Materials: The final confirmation will include the information about your course book and purchase options.
Online Level Test: If you like we can send you an online level test to complete, so that we can determine your exact language level before you start the course.
Pre-course Pack: Prior to your course you will be sent a pre-course information email, containing all course information.
Student Confirmation: Prior to your course you will be sent a confirmation email which will contain the address of our partner school where your lessons will be held
What is the profile of the students on Cactus courses?
Our evening courses are for adults of all ages (min 16 years old) and nationalities and, where offered, for all levels from beginners upwards. For most courses, the average age range will be mid 20s to mid 40s. However many younger and older students also take these courses.
How soon do I have to enrol?
The earlier the better, to allow us to plan the classes and numbers efficiently. If we don’t receive enough bookings for a course, we will regrettably have to cancel it and the course you wanted may be removed from the site.
Can I join a class in the second week?
Yes, if there is space in the classes we can take bookings for students to join the class in the second week, although there will be no discount to the price. You will need to call us to check availability. After the second week we do not allow any students to join the course as this is too disruptive to the learning program.
How do I know there is space on a course?
All courses with dates showing have spaces left. If there are no spaces left on a course, a date will not show up next to it.
What is the minimum number of students?
The minimum class size refers to the number of students required to run a group course. This number varies depending on the course and location. The minimum class size is usually 4 students. When there are 3 students in a group the course will usually run for 8 weeks. The vast majority of our courses meet this requirement, but on occasion some course variations do not. In these instances, it is at Cactus’ discretion whether the course will run. We always aim to run all courses as advertised, but cannot guarantee that this will be possible where the minimum class size is not met.
What happens if the minimum class size is not set?
Should your course be affected, we will contact you directly to discuss your options, which may include:
- Moving onto an equivalent course in a different location.
- Re-configuring your original course to an intensive course, taught in a smaller group. The course duration in this instance will be reduced, due to the significantly intensified learning experience and progress achieved in such small groups, which will mean that you will cover the course material in a much shorter amount of time. The reduction of hours due to reduced class size works as follows: 3 students – 8 weeks.
- Deferring a term and starting your course at a later intake date.
- Converting your course fee to a Cactus credit, which can be used as full or part payment for any of our products worldwide.
- A refund of your course fee in line with our general refund policy.
Can you issue a letter of invitation in order for me to get / extend a visa to study with Cactus?
No, we cannot offer such letters as all our courses are part time and are not eligible for this process.
If you have further questions regarding Booking & Availability please contact us.
When do the next courses start?
Please visit our booking page to see all courses, prices and start dates.
Why learn a language?
People learn languages for a number of reasons: some for work or business, some for education or to put on their CV’s, and some merely for the pleasure of being able to communicate with different people and cultures. Any trip abroad is greatly enhanced if you can say a few words, let alone if you can actually have a conversation with the locals!
How much will I learn during my course?
What will I learn?
Our course outlines give an overview of the content and learning framework of Cactus group language courses and include themes, grammar and vocabulary you can typically expect to cover. These are intended as a guide only and our teachers may at times adapt the course content to suit the specific level, aims and interests of the class.
What progress will I have made by the end of the level?
Our levels provide a guide as to what you can expect to achieve at each level and also show what progress you can expect to make if you stick with it and carry on studying subsequent levels. These are guides only and other factors will affect your rate of progress, e.g. your prior language skills and base level, how proficient you are at picking up new languages, your level of participation in class and revision (and homework) outside of class. It will partially also depend on how difficult (or dissimilar) the language you are learning is (from your native language).
What is the difference between Beginner Courses and Basic Conversation Courses?
Our 10-week beginner courses are aimed at those with little or no previous knowledge or experience in the language they have chosen. Our Beginner 1 courses are tailored to those with no previous knowledge whatsoever and are perfect for absolute beginners.
Our Basic Conversation Courses are also designed for those with very limited knowledge of the language and allow for an opportunity to practice and develop your speaking skills. However, it is required that you have completed at least 10 hours of lessons prior to signing up for these courses. Having this prior knowledge will allow you to participate and interact with your tutor and other students sufficiently during your Conversation Course.
How do you choose your teachers?
All our teachers are native speakers or have native-speaker fluency in the language they teach. They have specialist qualifications and experience in Teaching a Foreign Language to Adults.
Do teachers speak English during the lessons?
Very rarely, because the most effective way to learn or improve your language skills is through complete immersion in the language. However, the occasional explanation or vocabulary term may be explained in English, and teachers are very used to teaching – and making themselves understood by – students who may have little or no prior knowledge of the language.
Do I receive a qualification or certificate?
At the end of your course you receive a certificate of participation. This confirms the language and level of course you have taken. Our course levels are based on two internationally recognised systems, so you have a universally accepted reference for your studies. Read more about our levels for each language on each dedicated language page. (Important: Please note that you must complete the online end of course questionnaire sent to you in order to get your certificate! This questionnaire will be sent to you by email at the end of your course.
How much homework is typically involved?
Your teacher will give you approximately one hour’s worth of formal homework per week but we would recommend you do ten minutes per day of self study in order to assimilate and retain the information you are learning.
Do I need a course book?
You will need a course book to accompany your course. Course books are not included in the course fees, and we therefore ask that you purchase your own course book separately before your course starts. We will let you know which course book you will require and advise where you can purchase this.
Please note that a course book often covers more than one level. So if you progress to the next course, you may not necessarily need to buy a new book. Again, we will advise you of this at the time.
The course book is chosen by our teachers and academic team based on which book is most suitable for the level of the class whilst offering the most communicative approach.
What should I do if my class is too easy / difficult for me?
If you have just completed your first lesson and are feeling a little overwhelmed, then don’t worry. Cactus language courses are taught in the target language, as full immersion is widely recognised as the most effective way to learn a language. You may find this a little daunting at first, especially if you have previously been used to bi-lingual tuition.
However, if you are attending a 10-week or 5-week course and find that you are really struggling to keep up, or finding the course content too easy, you can switch classes up until your 2nd lesson. Please speak to your teacher and contact us via email prior to your third lesson. We will assess the situation and look to move you to a class more suited to your ability (subject to availability).
Will I get a copy of the CD / listening materials that are used in the class?
No, our course book CDs are designed to be used in class and with a teacher; they are not designed for self study. However, if you would like to buy a copy of the listening material that goes with your course book, you can either order online or at the European Bookshop in London www.europeanbookshop.com. You will get a 10% discount on books and dictionaries if you mention that you are a Cactus student!
What do I do if I am going to miss a lesson during the course?
If you are unable to attend a lesson, please send a direct message to your tutor through MyCactus (our online platform for evening language students) so they are informed about it. By accessing MyCactus, you will also be able to check your teacher’s notes regarding the missed lesson and any homework set. In the interests of course continuity, please note you will not be able to take an alternative lesson with another class at another centre.
What do I do if I am going to miss the first lesson?
You can let your teacher know by sending them a message through MyCactus (our online platform for evening language students) and you will be able to check the first lesson notes on MyCactus as well.
What if my teacher is ill during the course?
If your teacher is ill during the term we will organise a cover teacher to take your lesson. If no cover teacher is available, we will either reschedule the lesson to take place on a different day or give you a refund for the class (depending on the circumstances).
How big are the classes?
To ensure optimal course quality and enjoyment, our maximum class size is 12 students per class for face-to-face courses. If our group course takes place online the maximum class size is 10. Note: Cactus cannot offer any lessons on a trial basis.
How do I know what level I am?
If you are unsure where to start or progress to, take our online level test and read our level descriptions for guidance.
Where can I study the language I want to learn?
Mouse over the languages tab in the top menu to see the locations where we offer language courses. You can then click on your preferred location to see courses that are running.
Payments & Refunds
Cactus Refund Policy
For full information on cancellations and refunds, please refer to our Terms and Conditions.
Am I allowed a discount if I book two courses?
We do not offer a discount for bookings for two people / courses but we do offer regular discounts on our courses throughout the year. Please see our Pricing page for current offers.
Can I get an NUS discount?
No we do not offer any NUS discount.
Can I pay a deposit and then pay the rest later?
No, you must pay the entire amount by card at time of booking. You can also use PayPal pay in 3 – check our Pricing page for more details.
What is covered by your course fees?
All prices include VAT and school registration fees. Students should purchase their own course book prior to their course and Cactus will advise on this.
I am already doing an evening course with Cactus, can I get a discount for my next course?
We offer regular discounts on our courses throughout the year. Please see our Pricing page for current offers.
I like my teacher and classmates, can I continue with them next term?
Please do tell your teacher if you would like to continue with them in the next term and we’ll do our best to assign them to your next level. We can’t guarantee that your teacher will be available though, as it does depend on their availability.
Cactus School Info & Procedures
Can I talk to a real person about the course I am taking?
How can I find out the exact address of the school?
You can check the locations on our website for each school. When you book your course online you will receive all of the course details by email, including the school address.
Are Cactus’ schools accessible by wheelchair?
The following schools are accessible by wheelchair: Brighton, Manchester, Oxford, Islington, and Kings Cross. If you require wheelchair access please inform Cactus in writing at the time of booking. Some schools only have one classroom that is wheelchair accessible. The following schools are not accessible by wheelchair: Cambridge, Leeds, Liverpool, Holborn, Victoria, and Wimbledon. If you need wheelchair access unfortunately you will not be able to book a course at these locations.
Cactus is the leading provider of language courses and language holidays in the UK and abroad. Since 1998 we have helped more than 8,000 people every year learn a language. We’re still as passionate as ever about languages and committed to making learning enjoyable and easy for everyone. Over the years we have become experts in delivering high quality language training solutions, both off-the-shelf and tailor-made, to individuals and businesses in over 30 languages, 60 countries and 500 destinations worldwide.
Our comprehensive range of courses underlines our recognition of the diverse needs of our clients and our company motto “Learn a language your way!”
- Evening and part-time courses across the UK
- Language courses and holidays abroad
- Private Tuition Courses
- Remote tuition: Online, Skype & Phone
- In-company language & cultural training
- English as a Foreign Language: Evening & Part-time and English Courses Worldwide
- Course types and levels to suit you
With thousands of courses all in one place, at Cactus, you really can learn a language your way.
We run evening & part-time courses in the UK and online for over 20 languages. Via our international network of partner schools and organisations we can offer language courses & holidays in over 30 countries worldwide, covering some 200 destinations. Easy online booking puts thousands of courses at your fingertips and with a range of options you can customise your course to suit you.
At Cactus, we strive to provide value for money. That means not only competitive prices, but courses we are happy to put our name to.
Our schools – are personally checked by Cactus staff or affiliates and subject to ongoing quality checks and school visits.
Reviews – we ask our students for feedback at various stages throughout their course to ensure we are meeting their expectations and the course is tailored to their needs a much as possible.
View latest customer feedback Read what our students have said about our courses, our teachers and our customer service.
Leave us your feedback If you have a comment to add about your experience with Cactus, please contact us.
To start new conversations
With friends and colleagues, while travelling, with the in-laws
To enhance your career
Build your CV, look for overseas opportunities, travel more
To exercise your brain
Expand your mind, take on new ideas, set yourself new challenges
To open cultural doors
Discover new places, new experiences, new tastes
To make fabulous new friends
Meet like-minded people in a communicative, participative and fun environment
How to book with Cactus
Simply select which language you would like to learn and from the box below and click lets go.
Take level test
This is a quick test to help you find the right course for your current level of knowledge.
Book your course
Use our simple online booking system to select your course.
Frequently asked questions
What will I learn?
Our Course Outlines give an overview of the content and learning framework of Cactus courses. Includes themes, grammar and vocabulary you can typically expect to cover. These are intended as a guide only. Language teachers may at times adapt the course content to suit the specific level, aims and interests of the class.
How do I know what level I am?
Are you unsure where to start or progress to? Then take our level test and read our level descriptions for guidance.
Do I receive a qualification or certificate?
At the end of your course you receive a certificate of participation. You will be able to be download it from your MyCactus account. This confirms the language and level of course you have taken. Our course levels are based on two internationally recognised systems. You will have a universally accepted reference for your studies. (Important: Please note that you must complete the end of course questionnaire sent to you to be able to get your certificate! You will receive the course questionnaire by e-mail at the end of your course.)
Do I need a course book?
You will need a course book to attend your course. Course books are not included in the course fees. We recommend that you buy your own course book separately before your course starts. We will let you know which course book you will require and advise where you can purchase this. Please note that a course book often covers more than one level. So if you progress to the next course, you may not necessarily need to buy a new book. Again, we will advise you of this at the time. The course book is chosen by our teachers and academic team. This is based on which book is most suitable for the level of the class whilst offering the most communicative approach.
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