Foreign Language Compentency for Business Students

General Information

Each fall and spring semester, the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures (FLL) administers the Competency Examination to International Business Students. The examination is given in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese. Students with competency in other languages must make arrangements for alternative assessment. Such arrangements must be approved in advance by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and the Cameron School of Business (CSB).

Students must pass both the written and oral portions of the exam in the same semester.  If a student passes one portion but fails the other, she or he must retake both the written and oral exams. 

The exam is not administered during the summer.

Procedures


Students should go to the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in Leutze Hall 279 to fill out an “Application for Foreign Language Competency Exam” at least one week prior to the date of the written exam.  By filling out the application, students will be registered for the exam.  At this time, students will also be given information as to how to sign up for the oral exam.  Students are responsible for scheduling oral exams in a timely fashion.

Step 2

The written exam is scheduled for the first working Friday of November and April, usually in Leutze Hall. (Students should sign up for the test in Leutze Hall 279)

Dates for the 2014 written exam:

Spring 2015
/ Friday, April 10th, 2015 / 3:30-5:30 Leutze Hall Room 136.


Call 910-962-3340 two weeks before the exam if location information is not posted.

Step 3

The oral exam is given between November 1-20 or April 1-25.

What is the written exam like? 

You will be asked to write four short essays in the target language. You may not use a dictionary, verb wheel, or any other ancillary materials for the exam. Paper will be provided at the exam.

The topic will be presented in English and you will write an appropriate paragraph in the target language. For example, the following situation may appear on your exam. “You have bought a birthday present for your father but you now wish to return the item. Explain to the clerk what the article is, when you bought it, and why you want to return it.”

You will choose 4 out of 6 topics.

What classes should I take in order to do well on the exam?

FLL strongly encourages students to complete the intermediate sequence (201-202) as minimum preperation for the exam. If possible, take at least one 300-level course before taking the exam.

How do I prepare for the exam?

Learning a language is similar to using building blocks. Therefore, you must have a solid foundation if your building is going to stand up. It would be a good idea to review all verb tenses, vocabulary, and basic grammatical patterns from your intermediate textbook for the month prior to the exam.Remember, it is better to review for 15-20 minutes each day.  It will do you little good to cram for the exam the night before.

In addition to reviewing grammar and vocabulary, you should try to immerse yourself as much as possible in the language and culture.  Read a newspaper online.  Watch a foreign movie.  Randall Library has a quite impressive collection of films.  Watch the news in a foreign language.  Attend a language table.  Practice with a conversation partner.

What is the oral exam like?

The oral exam will be an interactive conversation, not a monologue.  Your assessor(s) may present you with a description of a situation for which you will create a conversation in the target language. You should be able to maintain a conversation over a wide range of familiar topics, such as biographical information or descriptions of family, friends, school, hobbies, likes, dislikes, employment, health, and travel.  Moreover, you should have the vocabulary and grammatical expertise to perform certain tasks in the target language, such as introducing yourself, ordering a meal, asking directions, and making purchases.  The oral exam will last 15-20 minutes.

Some Don'ts

  • Don’t use English as a substitute for an unknown word.  Use circumlocution.
  • Don’t produce a monologue.  You will be holding a conversation with your assessor(s). 
  • Don’t memorize full paragraphs.  You will only get flustered if you memorize, and then forget, certain responses.  You should try to use spontaneous speech as much as possible.
  • Don’t stop as “yes” or “no.”  Elaborate.  Expand.  Describe.  Explain and provide details.  

Contact Person

For further information concerning the competency exam, contact Dr. PJ Lapaire via email at lapairep@uncw.edu or call at 910- 962-3340.

 

 

 


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