Frequently asked questions

Index to the frequently asked questions:

1. PROFICIENCY LEVELS / LANGUAGE COURSES

2. REGISTRATION

3. CANCELLATION

4. PAYMENT OF COURSE FEES

5. EXAMS

6. LANGUAGE CERTIFICATE

1. PROFICIENCY LEVELS / LANGUAGE COURSES

What do A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 stand for?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) differentiates between six different levels of language proficiency.

A Basic User

A1 (Breakthrough

A2 (Waystage)

B Independent User

B1 (Threshold)

B2 (Vantage)

C Proficient User

C1 (Effective Operational Proficiency)

C2 (Mastery)

Here you can find more detailed information about the CEFR.

How long does it take to complete a level?

In our language courses a level is comprised of approximately 90 – 120 units (one unit = 45 minutes). About 80 units are class time; the remaining units are to be completed as self-study units).

 

You can choose between two types of courses:

1.     Semester-long courses in the evening: they take place twice a week and are comprised of three units per evening (German levels A1-C1; English B2-C1, beginner level varies).

2.     Intensive courses during the lecture-free period: they take place four times per week and are comprised of four units per day (mostly German A1 and A2; German A1, A2, B2 during the summer; English varies).

Plan your time for language study wisely! If you practice steadily and invest sufficient time, it is possible to cover four levels within one academic year. This would require combining semester-long courses and intensive courses.

 

Example of possible German course sequence:

A1 during the winter semester (October – January)

-> A2 during the lecture-free period (February-March)

-> B1 during the summer semester (March-July)

-> B2 during the lecture-free period (August – September)

We recommend sufficient time for practice and usage of newly acquired knowledge. It is also possible to take a more relaxed approach and just cover one proficiency level per semester. Ultimately you will need to choose the level of intensity depending on the type of learner you are and your level of motivation.

Are there prerequisites for attending a course?

There are no prerequisites for attending a beginning-level course (A1). For all other levels (A2-C1) you will need to have completed the preceeding level of proficiency. You will not be asked to provide proof but please take a placement test in order to determine your level. (Links to some placement tests in the question before.)

Where can I find the course details?

The course schedules and additional course information can be found here under each level:

German courses

English courses

2. REGISTRATION

How can I register for a language course?

In order to register for a language course please follow the link to the relevant level. Click on the orange orange button reading “register now“. In case the button is grey, registration is not possible at the given time. Registration periods can be found below the button. If the button is dark grey, you can be placed on a waiting list.

When can I register for a language course?

Please note the following registration periods:

Summer semester:

10.03. - 20.03. for semester courses.

(late registration possible until 31.03. if there are still spots available)

10.07. - 20.07. for intensive courses

(late registrations possible until 31.07. if there are still spots available)

Winter semester:

30.09. - 09.10. for semester courses.

(late registrations possible until 23.10. if there are still spots available)

10.01. - 20.01. for intensive courses

(late registrations possible until 31.01. if there are still spots available)

What will happen if I have missed the registration period?

Once the registration period has passed, you can be placed on a waiting list. If the waiting list is still open, you will see the button "waiting list" under the course. If a spot opens up, we will contact you.

Is it sufficient to register online or is there anything else I need to do in order to complete my registration?

Usually yes. If not, we will contact you.

In any case, after registering for the course, we will send you an email confirmation. If you do not receive this email, please contact us via our contact form. Maybe there was a typo in your email address.

Please note, that the registration is binding. You agree to pay all fees included in the course.

3. CANCELLATION

How can I withdraw from a course?

Please note that your registration is binding and that course fees are due unless you withdraw from the course within the cancellation period (within 14 days after registration). This is also the case if you do not attend the course.

Withdrawal is possible only within 14 days after registration. This is also stated in our terms and conditions you have accepted upon registration.

In order to withdraw from a course, please use the withdrawal form.

In case the 14-days cancellation period has passed and you still need to withdraw from the course for a valid reason, please contact us via the contact form. It might be possible to find a person who will take your place.

What if I want to withdraw outside the cancellation period?

According to our terms and conditions, a cancellation is only possible within 14 days after your registration (see previous question).

With the registration you agree to these terms and conditions and thus commit yourself to keep the deadlines and to pay the course fees.

Unfortunately, our hands are tied here.

What happens if I cannot attend the course I registered for?

Withdrawal from a course is only possible within 14 days after registration (see previous questions). 

If you are unable to attend the course but the cancellation period has passed, we recommend the following:

  • Try to take part in the course as much as possible.    
  • Complete the exercises posted on the e-learning platform (FHWS-Moodle-platform) autonomously.
  • Work through the textbook by yourself.
  • Take the final exam at the end of the course, even if you did not take the course.
  • Note: You must register for the exam before you can take it. If you don't pass the exam the first time, you can retake it for free within one year (see the questions about exams).

By following our recommendations, the required course fee is not wasted.

4. PAYMENT OF COURSE FEES

How do I pay for the course? What type of payment methods are there?

An invoice will be emailed to you by Campus Sprache (sender: campus.sprache[at]fhws.de) with the subject line “invoice - fee for language courses) some weeks after the course started.

The course fees can only be deposited (you cannot pay in cash!). When depositing the money be sure to include the transfer code stated on your invoice.

We recommed using a German or EU bank account in order to avoid service fees.

When will I receive my invoice? When do I have to pay the course fees?

The email with your invoice will be emailed to you usually four to six  weeks after the course started (unfortunately it can sometimes take even longer).

The payment period is stated in your invoice. You are asked to pay your bill within four weeks after receipt of your invoice.

Make sure to deposit the money in time in order to avoid reminder fees.

What happens if I "forget" to pay my course fees?

No worries; this happens at times. First you will receive a payment reminder. If you still have not payed your fees after the first reminder, a second reminder will be sent to you including reminder fees. So, be sure to pay in time!

5. EXAMS

5.1 Before exams - preparation & registration

How can I prepare for the exam?

You can best prepare yourself for the exam by regularly attending your language course and by actively participating! In addition, we recommend completing all exercises on your elearning platform (FHWS Moodle platform), where you can find additional materials and usefull links (e.g. Deutsche Welle - DW Deutsch lernen)

Is it possible to attend the course but not take the final exam?

Yes, it is possible to attend the course and not take the final exam. The exam is not obligatory but included in the course fee. Therefore the course fee stays the same, no matter if you take the exam or not.

We would recommend taking the exam regardless. It’s good practice for you and you can find out where you stand. Not to mention that it is always useful to own a language certificate, for instance when applying for jobs.

Is it possible to take the exam without having attended the course?

Yes, it is possible to take the exam in the case of no or irregular attendance. But it is crucial that you sign up for the exam. You will receive an email with all necessary information and the link for exam registration some time during the second half of the course. So, make sure to always check your emails sent by the Center for Language Proficiency (Campus Sprache)!

(Note that in case of irregular attendance you will only receive an FHWS Language Certificate but you cannot receive the UNIcert certificate; in order to obtain it, you need to attend a minimum of 75% of course meetings).

Is it possible to take a language exam without having been registered for a course?

Yes, it is possible, In case you urgently need to obtain a language certificate you can sign up for an exam only. However, exam only fees are higher than the combined package (course + exam).

Registration form for exams without a course

Is it possible to take the exam at a later point?

No. The exams are always scheduled on fixed dates. No additional exam dates are offered.

However, if you do not pass, you have the option to retake the exam or the sections of the exams you did not pass (for instance, just the section "listening comprehension" or "reading comprehension") within the period of one year. We will inform you 2-4 weeks after the exam, if you have passed or not via email. In case you have to retake some parts, we will inform you about the retake date and registration.

Note that a final exam can only be retaken by students who have taken the initial exam!

In case you have registered for the exam but cannot take the exam due to illness you will be offered an alternative test date if the following two conditions are fulfilled: a) you send an email and inform you instructor BEFORE THE EXAM (state your reason for non-attendance), b) you provide a medical certificate ("Ärztliches Attest") at the latest ONE DAY AFTER THE EXAM.

If these two conditions are not fulfilled, we are unfortunately unable to offer you an alternative test date.

 

 

How do I register for a language exam?

The final exam always takes place at the end of a language course. All course participants will receive an email containing all necessary information regarding exam registration and the examination process. Make sure to check your email regularly (your private as well as your student account)!

In case you urgently need to obtain a language certificate and you are not registered in an ongoing course, you can sign up for an exam only. However, exam only fees are higher than the combined package (course + exam).

Registration form for exams without a course

 

 

Is there a deadline for exam registration?

Yes, there is a registration deadline. But there is no such thing as a deadline for registration cancellation, meaning that once you have registered for an exam, you can only cancel your registration in case of illness or for other severe reasons (a medical certificate is needed)! See next question.

What happens if I cannot attend the exam?

In the case that you have registered for the exam but cannot take the exam due to illness you will be offered an alternative test date if the following two conditions are fulfilled: a) you send an email and inform you instructor BEFORE THE EXAM (state your reason for non-attendance), b) you provide a medical certificate („Ärztliches Attest“) at the lastest ONE DAY AFTER THE EXAM.

If these two conditions are not fulfilled, we are unfortunately unable to offer you an alternative test date.

5.2 During exams - format & content

How many sections does an exam consist of?

The final exam consists of four sections:

1.     Listening comprehension

2.     Reading comprehension

3.     Written expression

4.     Oral expression

Each of these sections makes up 25 % of the entire exam. In order to obtain a course certificate, you will need to pass each individual section.

 

Sections 1-3 make up the written part of the exam. Section 4 – the oral exam- is usually scheduled on a separate day.

What contents are covered in the exam?

The content of the examination is determined individually for each proficiency level. Usually the topics on the test align with the topics covered in classbook.

 

In order to inform yourself about the specific content of each proficiency level, please refer to the global scale of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

What is the oral exam like?

Typically two students take the oral exam together. You will be evaluated by two instructors.

There are two parts: The first part is made up of a monologue, the second part of a dialogue with another person.

The oral exam take between 10 and 20 minutes.

What is the duration of the written exam?

The written exam takes three hours total, one hour per section (“listening comprehension“, “reading comprehension“, “written expression“).

Do you offer open book exams?

No, we don’t! You are not allowed to use any outside sources like dictionaries or translation tools.

5.3 After exams - evaluation & examination results

What happens if I fail the exam?

We will send you an email approximately four to five weeks after the exam date and let you know which sections of the exam you have passed/ not passed. You are not required to retake the entire exam but only the sections of the exam you did not pass. This email will also include a link to our re-examination registration form. On this form you can check all the boxes of the exam sections you are required to retake; in addition, all possible test dates are listed. Usually our re-examination dates are offered during the lecture-free periods. 

Assuming I only failed certain sections of the exam, am I required to retake the entire exam?

No. You are not required to retake the entire exam but only the sections of the exam you did not pass. We will send you an email approximately four to five weeks after the exam date and let you know which sections you have passed. This email will also include a link to our re-examination registration form.

(See previous question)

How often can I retake an exam?

It is possible to retake the exam for free once within the period of one year (if you have failed certain sections). Only in rare instances an exception can be made. You would need to file a formal request.

What score do I need to obtain on the exam in order to pass?

The final exam consists of four sections:

Listening comprehension, reading comprehension, written expression, and oral expression.

Each of these sections makes up 25 % of the entire exam. In order to obtain a course certificate, you will need to pass each individual section.

Passing a section requires that you receive a score of at least 50 %. To examplify, if a section consists of 25 credit points, you will need to score a minimum of 12.5 credit points in order to pass that section.

6. LANGUAGE CERTIFICATE

What type of language certificate will I obtain after passing the examination?

Once you have passed all sections of the examination, you will obtain either an FHWS language certificate or a UNIcert® certificate. There are different prerequistes for each certificate. Please inform yourself for the relevant proficiency level under certificates or through the page certificates.)

What does UNIcert® stand for?

UNIcert® is an international system of certification and accreditation for various languages learnt in a university context. It is particulary relevant for future graduates. More detailed information can be found on the Webside of UNIcert®.

What’s the advantage of acquiring a UNIcert® certificate compared to an FHWS language certificate?

UNIcert® is an accredited certificate that is signed by the university president. Many universitites and other higher education institutions are members of the UNIcert® training and certification system and thus the certificate is recognized by many German universitites.

An FHWS language certificate is not as well-known and it is possible that some other universities may not recognize it. However, if you plan to continue your studies at FHWS, an FHWS language certificate is sufficient in order to fulfill the A2 language requirement needed during your second semester of your studies or for other fields of study. You can find more information under certificates.

How and when do I obtain my language certificate?

We will inform you about your result as soon as the exam has been graded (usually 2-4 weeks).

For the FHWS language certificates to be issued it takes usually four to six weeks. It will be sent to you digitally via email.

Issuing a UNIcert®-certificate can take up to three months. We will let you know once it has been issued. The certificate can be picked up in person in our Schweinfurt office during the office hours. If you live far from Schweinfurt, please contact us via the contact form. (It is also possible to have the certificate scanned and emailed to you, or we can mail it to you by post to other locations in Germany (but not within the Schweinfurt city area). 

I urgently need a language certificate. What should I do?

In urgent cases we are able to provide you with a written confirmation of participation and successful completion of a language course, or –if needed- that you have registered for a course. Please use the contact form to write to us.

I have lost my language certificate. What should I do?

It is possible to obtain another copy. Please use the form certificates to request it.

I need a translation of my language certificate. Who offers translation services?

Please contact a translation agency ("Übersetzungsbüro") or certified translators ("beeidigte Übersetzer") in the area. Unfortuntaly we are not allowed to give you recommendations.

Is the language certificate recognized internationally? How long is it valid?

Regulations differ greatly. Please contact the institution directly that is asking for a language certificate.  It is impossible for us to know the specific requirements.

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