Preparation for Russian ab initio

If you would like to apply for History and Modern Languages with Russian from scratch (or Russian ab initio as we call it here) as your preferred language, then we will welcome your application whether or not you are studying a foreign language for A level, IB Higher or equivalent.

For students who are not studying a foreign language at school, we realise that it can be difficult to know how to prepare for the Russian language side of your application. This page provides some preparation recommendations to give you some experience with the Russian language in particular. We strongly recommend that you give some time and thought to what learning Russian will involve by doing some independent study to introduce yourself to the language, as Russian is a challenging language and requires dedication to learn.

The suggestions and links below should help you to make sure that Russian ab initio is the right choice for you, and to develop your language interests for a strong application. Of course, please feel free to use other books and resources as well if there are other materials that you find helpful - none of this is compulsory.

Learning to read and write read and write the cursive Russian script

Absorbing some of the basics of Russian grammar

We recommend the first six lessons of the ab initio course textbook, Colloquial Russian by Susan E. Kay and Svetlana Le Fleming (Routledge, 2009 or later editions). The course includes paperback and audio materials available separately. 

Exercises to help you learn vocabulary from the first six units are available from Quizlet: Chapter 1a; Chapter 1b; Chapter 2; Chapter 3; Chapter 4; Chapter 5; Chapter 6.

Exploring landmarks of Russian history, literature and culture

If you are not sure where to start, you may like to choose according to your interests from this list:

Additional online resources

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