I just checked online, to audit as a verb in AmE means to attend a class without being tested at the end of semester, only going to the class informally. I wonder which word do English people use?

  • 1
    There is no single BrE word equivalent. Attend a class as an external or similar phrases will do.
    – user 66974
    Mar 3, 2020 at 20:31
  • In Britain, the main use of audit is for a financial check. Students have an assessment but it's not about attending formal classes. Mar 3, 2020 at 20:31
  • Do British universities offer a pass/fail option? Usually in the US, the professor has to grant permission to a formal request to audit a class. But, I think it can still go on the transcript, and the professor may take attendance and not grant transcript credit if attendance did not meet the standard.
    – jxh
    Mar 3, 2020 at 22:12
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    In the US "audit" also means a financial check. But this is another meaning of the word. Joe audits the course means Joe is permitted to come to class and participate, but Joe will not be evaluated on how well he learns the material, and the class will not be counted on Joe's record. "Audit" is from Latin meaning "listen". So Joe listens to the course.
    – GEdgar
    Mar 3, 2020 at 22:30
  • @GEdgar: Generally no credit I agree, but it could go on your transcript. Audited courses do not appear on your permanent record, unless you make a special request through your academic adviser and can demonstrate active participation in the course. Iowa State University
    – jxh
    Mar 3, 2020 at 23:19

1 Answer 1


The British don't use "audit" in that sense (listening to academic lectures without doing assignments or taking exams) nearly as much as North Americans. In most British universities all lectures are open to all students of the university, so you can "audit" a course simply by turning up at the lectures whenever you feel like it. Therefore it doesn't really need a special word.

The best equivalent is to "sit in". For example

I sat in on Professor Smith's lectures on nineteenth century realism.

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