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GEA1: Introduction to the German Language 1 - Listening Comprehension and Writing

This paper consists of two sections:

GEA1 C: Listening Comprehension

The paper consists of an authentic German listening passage of no more than 5 minutes in length. It counts for 30% of Paper GEA1. Candidates have to answer a number of questions in English. The examination lasts one hour.

GEA1 W: Comprehension of German

The paper consists of an authentic but adapted German reading passage of ca 500 – 600 words in length. It counts for 70% of Paper GeA1. Candidates have to answer a number of questions in German and translate 5 sentences from English into German. This is a two-hour examination.

Aims and objectives: 

Listening Comprehension (30%)

The aims and objectives of this paper are to help ab initio students of German develop listening comprehension, one of the four core skills of language learning, during their first year of study. They are expected to be able to follow the gist of an authentic German listening passage and retain information selectively in order to answer the questions.

Comprehension of German (70%)

The aims and objectives of this paper are to help ab initio students of German develop core skills of language learning: reading (a text), writing (in response to a text) and translating during their first year of study. The 'W' examination of the paper is designed to test grammatical accuracy through translation.

Course materials: 

We use a course book for the first two terms of the course. This is 'DaF Kompakt NEU' (Klett 2016), by Ilse Sander et al.

Course materials for listening comprehension exercises come either from the CDs which accompany the ab initio course book or they consist of past papers which are available on the website of the University of German Language Centre ('online resources').

In the third term, they consist mainly of past papers.

Teaching and learning: 

Listening Comprehension

Students are introduced to the exercise in the second term of the ab initio course. They are taught how to develop the basic skills in listening comprehension: how to distinguish between listening for the main idea and specific information, how to relate the information to the questions, how to sift relevant from irrelevant information. The teaching is incorporated into the weekly schedule of four classes per week, but students mainly practice on their own, with guidance from the teachers and regular assessment of homework.

Comprehension of German

Teaching is done by two teachers in alternating weeks in four classes per week. Students are introduced to the reading of short texts right from the beginning, although the main aim in the first term is the teaching of standard grammar (exemplified by examples from texts); in the second term the focus shifts to the teaching of reading comprehension (longer texts), written expression and advanced grammar through a variety of methods. Students are also instructed as to how to talk about the topic of a text in German and formulate answers to questions on the text. Progress is assessed through regular homework assignments; these include translation exercises to test grammar.

Learning resources:

Learning resources can be found on the ab initio German Moodle.


Listening Comprehension

Assessment through regular homework assignments. Examination at the end of the first year. The passage for listening is played twice; candidates read the questions before the first playing. They then have five minutes before the tape is played a second time. The examination lasts an hour from the start of the first playing. Candidates answer the questions in English.

Comprehension of German

Assessment through regular homework assignments throughout the year. Two-hour examination at the end of the first year, consisting of textual comprehension (answers in German), including a broad question requiring 120-150 words of responsive writing. In addition, this paper requires explanation of words and phrases in the context of the text and the translation of 5 sentences into German, based on the vocabulary in the text, and aiming to test grammatical knowledge and accuracy.

For all German past papers, see here. Examiners’ Reports can be found here.

Course Contacts: 
Silke Mentchen
Maren de Vincent-Humphreys