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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Oral Examinations A in Modern Languages 2024

Part IA Option A

Information for Candidates

The oral examinations for Part IA/A will be in May 2024 and will consist of two parts:

  1. reading aloud a passage taken from a text chosen by the examiners
  2. a conversation based either on the subject-matter of the text or on a prescribed topic announced by the Examiners on the first day of the Full Easter Term 2024.

A 'fail' in the Oral will not in itself disqualify a candidate from passing the Tripos examination. 

Preparation for Candidates

1. The examination will be held online, using the platform MS Teams. 

2. You will be given a time slot for each of your examinations.

3. Before your examination, you will spend 15 minutes perusing the passage.

4. Open or log into the MS Teams app around 25 minutes before the exam, then log into Moodle to collect your passage.

5. Your passage, will be released on Moodle 20 minutes before your examination (5 extra minutes are provided to obtain the passage, download it and print it out, if necessary; the allotted reading time is 15 minutes). Refresh the page if you cannot see the passage at your assigned time.

6. Examiners will call you into the Oral examination by initiating a video call with you, but please check the chat to see if there is any delay (examiners will try to contact you by chat if they are running more than 10 minutes late).

7. You are allowed to print out the passage if you find this more convenient.

8. Please note that sharing this passage with anyone will be treated as academic misconduct.

9. If you cannot access the passage or enter MS Teams, please contact the Faculty Office ( immediately.

Candidates can use dictionaries during the perusing time.

Candidates may make notes, but should bear in mind that during the exam they are expected to speak freely, rather than read out whole sentences from their notes.

For candidates in all languages except for Italian the oral examination will be based on a passage chosen by the examiners and will consist of:

Reading aloud: Examiners will indicate a section of the text for the candidate to read during the examination.

Conversation: The issues discussed will arise in the first instance from the text itself. The passages, which will be of not more than 300 words in length, will be available to candidates on Moodle 20 minutes ahead of their scheduled online interview with the examiners.

For candidates in Italian the oral examination will be based on topics and will consist of the following:

Reading aloud: The reading passage, which will be of no more than 100 words in length, will be available to candidates on Moodle 20 minutes ahead of their scheduled online interview with the Examiners.

Discussion of a topic and conversation: Candidates should prepare and be ready to discuss any one topic from the list announced by the examiners on the first day of full Easter Term.

Candidates may bring brief notes (one sheet of A4 paper) into the exam, but must not read a prepared speech.

The Examiners will assess the candidates' pronunciation and intonation, accuracy, range of vocabulary and idiom, fluency and response. 

The total time for the examination will not exceed 15 minutes.

Full details of the schedule of interviews with examiners will be sent to Colleges well in advance of the examinations.