FAQ

Most of the answers to students’ questions regarding their studies are already available in the English Department’s online publications (the Wegweiser(838.7 KB), the Studienordnungen) and on the University website and univis. Therefore, in order to avoid unnecessary correspondence and long queues during office hours, we would strongly encourage you to consult these sources first. In addition, there are official Studienbeauftragte who should be able to help you with specific questions regarding your course of studies. Further information can also be garnered at the Einführungsveranstaltung, which usually takes place on the Tuesday before the semester begins. Only if you have failed to find the answer to your question elsewhere should you seek out Kenneth Wynne in his office hour. In general, please do not send emails which require lengthy replies and/or further correspondence. It is much better to talk to Mr Wynne or to your course instructors in person during their office hours!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Einstufungstest?
  2. When and where do I receive the results of the Einstufungstest?
  3. I began studying English elsewhere and have now transferred to Bamberg. Do I still need to take the Einstufungstest?
  4. When and where do I sign up for the Grundkurse?
  5. What is being tested in the Grundkurs exams?
  6. Do I have to register for exams?
  7. Why do I have to take exams on Saturdays?
  8. I have failed GKI. What should I do?
  9. If I fail a course, how often can I repeat the exams?
  10. May I attend two Grundkurse at the same time?
  11. May I attend any courses at the same time?
  12. When do I receive my grade for the Grundkurse?
  13. Do I receive a Schein for each Grundkurs?
  14. Where/How do I register for my Zwischenprüfung/Vordiplom?
  15. When and where do I sign up for the Oberkurs?
  16. Who may attend the Oberkurs?
  17. When may I take the Oberkurs?
  18. May I attend the Oberkurs and the Translation class at the same time?
  19. When and how often may I attend the Repetitorium?
  20. When and how do I register for the Sprachbeherrschung/Studienbegleitende Leistungsnachweis exam?
  21. I am a beginner in English. Which courses should/may I attend?
  22. I don’t study English but would like to attend some courses for practice. Is that possible?
  23. I need proof of my English skills for an internship/study abroad programme, etc. How do I go about this?
  24. I need to have a reference/certificate translated or an essay proofread. Will the LektorInnen do this for me?

What is the Einstufungstest?

The Einstufungstest is a two-hour diagnostic placement test which must be taken by all students beginning to study English at the University of Bamberg. This test must also be taken by all exchange students whose mother tongue is not English and who would like to take classes in the English Department.In addition, Masters from other subjects with English as their Erweiterungsbereich and Joint Degree students whose mother tongue is not English are required to take the test as well.
The test consists of 100 multiple choice questions on vocabulary and idiom, grammar, and reading comprehension and it serves to give the staff (and students) an indication of the student’s level of English. Although those who perform poorly in this exam cannot be prevented from studying English, those who receive less than 40 points in this test are encouraged to seriously (re)consider their suitability for studying this subject. Those who achieve a very high score, on the other hand, may be allowed to skip some of the foundation language courses after discussion with Kenneth Wynne.

The Placement Test usually takes place on the Tuesday before the semester starts. See link.

When and where do I receive the results of the Einstufungstest?

The results of the test are posted on the noticeboard in U9 on the first day of term at the very latest. Information will be provided on the publication of results during the test. Students with an asterisk (*) beside their name should see Kenneth Wynne in his office hour to discuss their exam performance.

I began studying English elsewhere and have now transferred to Bamberg. Do I still need to take the Einstufungstest?

Yes. Anybody transferring to Bamberg during their Grundstudium is required to take the test, even if they have taken a similar test elsewhere. As outlined above, the test serves a diagnostic purpose and thus enables us to give students the best advice regarding their studies. Those transferring during their Hauptstudium do not need to take the test, but should have their Scheine/ECTS accredited by Kenneth Wynne.

When and where do I sign up for the Grundkurse?

Students should sign up for Einstufungstestall classes using FlexNow (for registration dates/dealines, see univis). Since there are always numerous parallel classes to choose from, themwe try to distribute students evenly between the classes. It is in students’ interest as much as in the staff’s for the classes to be of an equal size. Not only does a smaller class allow its members to participate more, but smaller classes also mean that the instructor is able to give more precise feedback and it ensures that corrections are done efficiently, thoroughly and on time.

You are not allowed to register for more than one parallel class (as this means that someone else may not have to the chance to be in that class; your name will be removed from all the parallel courses you have signed up in as a consequence!), but you can be on a number of waiting lists. You will receive an email before classes begin telling you to move to another class if the courses are unequal in distribution or the class you have chosen is full. In such a case, you will need to re-register for the new class you have joined or been moved to; failure to do so may result in FlexNow registering you with a fail for the class you were originally registered for as the system assumes you did not take/pass the exams! If you switch courses or are moved too late to access FlexNow yourself, make sure you send Kenneth Wynne an email at the beginning of the semester so that he can move you into the right class.


Note: Classes start in the first week of term and students who are not there will lose their right to a place in that course. Those who have not registered in advance will not be admitted into classes at all! Furthermore, it is important that you take responsibility for checking whether you are eligible for a particular class (for example, have you completed everything in the Basismodul before taking classes in the Aufbaumodul?) or whether the class is even needed for your course of study.

Registration is not possible by e-mail or telephone. What is more, in the interest of fairness, members of staff will not register anybody in advance for these courses. Therefore, please do not ask them to do so.

What is being tested in the Grundkurs exams?

Activities in Grundkurs I focus on the three fundamental skills in the English language (reading, listening and writing). The aim is to make participants more proficient in understanding spoken and written English and to write with confidence. In this respect, Grundkurs I should be seen as an introduction to the skills necessary for the study of English and as a clear indicator for the participants' further progress in their university studies. It is fair to say that much that is being tested in GKI is, to a great degree, based on skills that students should have gathered at school. Students are expected to have bought the course book before the classes begin!

Grundkurs II continues and expands the skills which were dealt with in Grundkurs I. The course uses the same course book, but works at a faster pace, demanding more participation and more preparation from the students. Students should have reviewed the first five chapters of the course book, studied chapters 6 and 7 at home in the vacation and have learnt the vocabulary and grammar structures from these seven units in preparation for the examinations in this course. Grundkurs II also offers students the opportunity to pick up points for in-class presentations and participation. It also includes an oral exam.

Grundkurs III is concerned with the development of basic writing skills in English, including organizing ideas, paragraph structure, vocabulary, spelling, and punctuation, and editing and revising written work. Assignments practice and assess these various skills and also focus on the types of tasks found in the new Textproduktion examination in Staatsexamen, such as summaries, analysis of statistics and cartoons.

Do I have to register for exams?

After a trial phase in the past semesters with all the complications in registration, etc., it has now been decided that all students (except those re-taking GKI ‘externally’ (see below)) must register for the exams at the appropriate time in the semester. There is a slight problem in the fact that many of the exams, quizzes, etc. in the classes in Sprachpraxis take place before FlexNow allows registration for exams. Nevertheless, you should register for exams when FlexNow allows you to do so as this registration gives us the opportunity to enter your grades more efficiently at the end of the semester. If you do not register or forget for some reason, send Kenneth Wynne an email as soon as possible and he will add you to the list of exam participants at the end of the semester. It should be self-evident that attending any form of examination within the classes constitutes an official attempt to pass the course. Failure to take all the exams will mean a fail grade being entered into FlexNow as students cannot just take one of the exams as some sort of practice or ‘trial run’!

Why do I have to take exams on Saturdays?

At the University of Bamberg, we pride ourselves on our continuous assessment and regular feedback in our foundation language courses. However, since our Grundkurse are parallel courses preparing for the same exam for all classes, it is necessary to have the exams at a time when all students can be present. Unfortunately, this is only possible on Saturdays, when there are no clashes in students’ timetables and when appropriate-sized rooms are available. We therefore ask for your understanding and cooperation.

I have failed GKI. What should I do?

Students who were not successful in passing Grundkurs I should bear the following points in mind:

  • Consider your options carefully: if you failed by a large margin (20 points or more), it will be difficult to make up these points in a second attempt without a great deal of time and effort being invested!
  • Consider your course of study: for example, can you complete your Grundlagenprüfungen in time or, if you are studying according to the ‘old’ system and have to take a Zwischenprüfung/Vordiplom (usually after 4 semesters), will you have a realistic chance of obtaining all the GK-Scheine (for all three courses) within the time allowed?
  • After the next semester has started, register your participation in the GKI exams (the dates of the exams are on the notice board in U7) by going to the Secretary’s office in U9 (room 102) to sign your name! Do not register for a GKI class or for the exams in FlexNow as the system cannot register repeaters in this way! Your name and grade will be entered into FlexNow by us when you have passed the course as a ‘repeater’.
  • Download additional practice material from U9the Virtueller Campus! You should register with Virtueller Campus to receive any additional information for Grundkurs I.
  • Be honest with yourself regarding your suitability for and commitment to the study of English, especially with regard to your abilities in using the language!

If you have any further questions, please see Kenneth Wynne in his office hour.

If I fail a course, how often can I repeat the exams?

There is no simple answer to this question, as it all depends upon your course of studies. Those who are studying the ‘old’ (non-modularised) Lehramt (Unterrichtsfach) can repeat the exams as often as they need to pass them, although it has to be said that there comes a time when one has to question the merit of attempting an exam for the umpteenth time! In such cases, perhaps the student would be better suited studying something else.

Those who study the ‘old’ (non-modularised) Lehramt (vertieft), or Magister/Diplom are under a little more pressure timewise, as they must have attempted their Zwischenprüfung by the end of their fifth semester. Therefore, assuming that a student fails GKI twice, he/she will have to pass it at the third attempt and then subsequently pass GKII and GKIII at the first attempts in order to still be eligible to sit the ZP exam. An alternative scenario would be someone who fails both GKI and GKII at the first attempt, passes each at the second attempt and would have only one attempt to pass GKIII.

For BA students, the regulations are such that Grundkurs I exams can only be repeated once!

For those studying for the ‘new’ Lehramt (both Unterrichtsfach and vertieft), the regulations are still subject to official approval. The ‘provisional’ version states at present (August 2009): Im Falle des Nichtbestehens sind die nicht bestandenen Teilprüfungen (within a module) zu wiederholen. Eine zweite Wiederholung ist zulässig.

Obviously, you should try to pass classes at the first attempt and not rely on being able to repeat exams one or more times!

May I attend two Grundkurse at the same time?

This question is frequently asked by desperate students, particularly those studying according to the ‘old’ (non-modularised) system, but the answer is NO! Students have to pass one GK before they may attempt another. The reason is that these courses follow on from each other. Students are advised to invest the time they would have spent in doing a second course in ensuring that they pass the course that they are actually allowed to take.

For those studying according to the modularised system, it is important that you complete the Basismodul (in Sprachpraxis before taking classes belonging to the Aufbaumodul! This means, for example, that it is not possible to take Grundkurs II at the same time as Englisch-Deutsch Übersetzung I as they belong to different modules!

 

May I attend any courses at the same time?

Students may attend GKI and the introductions to literature, linguistics and/or cultural studies at the same time, for example. In addition, they may attend classes belonging to the same module in the same semester, such as the Landeskunde I courses and and Grundkurs I, for example. Passing GKI, however, should be seen as a student’s priority, as it serves as a passport into attending a number of other classes. Only when students have passed GKI may they take the subsequent Grundkurse and the Phonetics and Phonology.

When do I receive my grade for the Grundkurse?

We pride ourselves on the fact that we usually provide the results of all of our exams personally to you before the end of term in order to give you the best possible feedback. Please do not send an email requesting exam results as it is not the University’s policy to divulge such information by email.

Your grades will be still entered into FlexNow, of course, but you should still go to your instructor to receive your grade. He or she will probably have valuable feedback to give you at the same time!

We also insist that ‘repeaters’ of Grundkurs I should collect the results of the first exam <strongbefore</strong> taking the second exam. This will again give the person who marked your exam to give you some feedback so you know where you stand.

Do I receive a Schein for each Grundkurs?

‘Old’ (non-modularised) Lehramt/Magister students receive one Grundkurs-Abschlußschein at the end of the three Grundkurse. The grade is determined by the average of the results from the three courses. The Scheine should be collected from the Secretary’s office in U9 at the times posted on the office door (U9/102). The LektorInnen do not keep the Scheine after they have been issued!

Students who are studying according to the ‘old’ Lehramt/Magister and need a Schein quickly to register either for Zwischenprüfung or Staatsexamen should make sure they inform their instructors of this fact (in either Grundkurs III or Englisch-Deutsch Übersetzung II respectively) at the beginning of the semester. It is particularly important that the ‘old’ Lehramt students collect their sprachpraktischer-landeskundlicher Oberkursschein from the Secretary in U9/102 after attending their last class in Sprachpraxis (usually the translation course) as grades entered into FlexNow cannot substitute for this paper Schein!

Where/How do I register for my Zwischenprüfung/Vordiplom?

Registration for these exams takes place at the Prüfungsamt and not with the staff of Sprachpraxis. It is imperative that students ensure that they register in time for these important exams. For further details see: Link.

However, having registered with the Prüfungsamt, it is important that the students then consult their examiners regarding dates and topics for their oral exams. Usually, students will do this within the framework of the Landeskunde II classes. If you cannot attend such a class, make sure you contact your prospective examiner well in advance to find out details of the exam procedure!

Dates for both of the oral exams are usually set by the LektorInnen and students should be aware that they have to sign for a date in person before the semester ends. Your examiners receive forms from the Prüfungsamr for this purpose and they will inform you when you need to sign them (usually two or three weeks before the end of term). The individual requirements of the linguistics and literature oral exams should be clarified with the respective examiners from those departments. (Link)

When and where do I sign up for the Oberkurs?

As with the Grundkurse, registration for the Oberkurs takes place via FlexNow (for registration dates/dealines, see univis). Only those eligible for the course may attend (see below).

Who may attend the Oberkurs?

The Oberkurs serves as practice for the Textproduktion and Sprachbeherrschung exams which Lehramt students will have to take for their Staatsexamen. In order to ensure that these candidates receive the attention and feedback they need and deserve, all non-Lehramt students are excluded from the course. Joint Degree students should attend one of the Oberkurs (Unterrichtsfach) classes

When may I take the Oberkurs?

As noted above, the Oberkurs has been designed as realistic practice for Staatsexamen and thus should be seen as such by students. Ideally, it should be taken after the 6th semester, and as close to the student’s final exams as possible, preferably after the student has spent a longer period abroad. We strongly disapprove of the trend of students attending this course before going abroad in order to be “scheinfrei” when they return. Our experience shows that this is not a good idea, as it creates additional work for the instructors who have to repeatedly correct the types of basic mistakes which students ordinarily would have eliminated while abroad, and, more importantly, it means that students often have absolutely no Textproduktion practice again until they take the Repetitorium, which is reserved for students immediately before their Staatsexamen.

Our advice to students is to first go abroad to improve their English in a native-speaker environment, then to return and take the Oberkurs. In the semester before their final exams, they can then attend the Repetitorium. This is the proven recipe for success!

May I attend the Oberkurs and the Translation II class at the same time?

No. In order to ensure that students put the necessary effort into two such demanding classes (the Oberkurs is a four-hour class with texts to prepare and with a variety of writing tasks and exams throughout the semester), we have decided to prevent people from attending these courses parallel to each other. In line with the staff capacities available, the Oberkurs must be taken first and, only when that has been successfully completed, may a student progress to the translation course Englisch-Deutsch Übersetzung II. This rule will be strictly enforced as we do not have the capacity for students to be taking these classes parallel to each other and, with the necessary degree of planning, there is no need for students to do so!

Should students be unsuccessful in passing the Oberkurs at the first attempt, we have decided to allow only such students to take the translation course while retaking Oberkurs. This arrangement ensures that students do not lose too much time in progressing towards their final exams.

Please note that old MA, Diplom and WiPäd students do not have to take the Oberkurs and should attend the class entitled Übersetzung E-D II (MA, Diplom, WiPäd) once they reach Hauptstudium level.

When and how often may I attend the Repetitorium?

The Repetitorium should be taken in the semester immediately before students sit their Staatsexamen so that they receive realistic feedback about their level before taking these high-stakes exams. In order to keep the volume of correction involved in this course to a manageable level, students may only attended this course once.

When and how do I register for the Sprachbeherrschung/Studienbegleitende Leistungsnachweis exam?

Registration for the Staatsexamen, including the Sprachbeherrschung/Studienbegleitende Leistungsnachweis part, takes place at the Prüfungsamt. Exam dates are offered twice a year. (See Link). Students are prepared for this exam in the Oberkurs and Kenneth Wynne offers an additional practice class/mock exam every semester in the first session of the Repetitorium.

There is usually a choice of examiners (Kenneth Wynne, Katharina Beuter and possibly one of the other LektorInnen). The Prüfungsamt may ask you to take the exam with an examiner who may not be your first choice; this measure helps to ensure that not all of the candidates end up with one examiner. We ask for your understanding in these cases and assure you that the content of the exam is largely the same, irrespective of which examiner you have.

I am a beginner in English. Which courses should/may I attend?

Please note that all courses in Sprachpraxis are designed for students who have taken their Abitur in English; and, even then, some students have difficulty with the level required. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer any beginners' courses at all. Please check with the newly founded Sprachenzentrum for any courses offered in this field!

I don’t study English but would like to attend some courses for practice. Is that possible?

No. Unfortunately, due to increasing numbers of students studying English, it is impossible for us to admit students who are not registered students of English. Those who would like to have practice in English may perhaps participate in one of the holiday courses offered in English by the university’s Sprachenzentrum. For details of these courses, see the Sprachenzentrum homepage.

I need proof of my English skills for an internship/study abroad programme, etc. How do I go about this?

Students studying in the centre of town (the GUK faculty, etc) can make appointments for a language test with the LektorIn responsible for such tests in the Sprachenzentrum, while those studying at the Feldkirchenstrasse campus should approach our colleagues in the Business English department for such tests.

Students should make appointments in person well in advance of the deadline for applications to ensure that they can be accommodated, and should bring along the appropriate forms from the Auslandsamt. The test itself consists of a short interview and a reading comprehension exam and should take no longer than 20 minutes.

I need to have a reference/certificate translated or an essay proofread. Will the LektorInnen do this for me?

No. Ours is not a translation office. The LektorInnen are not obliged to take on any additional work as translators or proofreaders for students, colleagues or members of the public. Any member of staff who decides to do so, is doing so of their own volition and will have to be paid accordingly.

Links: Newspapers, magazines, TV and Radio Stations

  • The Guardian
  • The Observer
  • The Independent
  • The Times
  • The Daily Telegraph
  • The Daily Mail
  • The Economist
  • The Sun
  • BBC
  • The New York Times
  • International Herald Tribune
  • The Washington Post
  • USA Today
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Time
  • Newsweek
  • CNN
  • National Public Radio
  • The Irish Times
  • The Irish Independent
  • The Irish Examiner
  • RTE

Useful links for GKI

Useful links for GKIII and Oberkurs

  •  Potential sources for German-English summaries/translations
    • Spiegel.online
    • Süddeutsche Zeitung
    • Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Recommended Reading

  • Britain, (revised and updated), J. O´Driscoll, London: Oxford University Press 2000.
  • American Civilization: An Introduction, 4th ed., D. Mauk and J. Oakland, New York: Routledge 2005
  • New Progress to Proficiency, Student’s Book with Answers. Leo Jones (Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521007895) 2002,
  • English Grammar in Use - Third Edition: English Grammar in Use. With answers: A Self-study Reference and Practice Book for Intermediate Students of English. Raymond Murphy, Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Staff members

see Literature and Linguistics pages for format

Important dates

  • Einführung
  • Einstufungstest
  • Registration dates
  • Exam dates

Extracurricular activities

  • BUEDG (Link)
  • English Film Series