Proficiency Exam Dates: November 15, 16, 17.
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Eligibility for Undergraduates
SFS undergraduates must have completed 112, 151, 161, 215, 250, 251, or any course beyond the Gateway (250/251).
If you are currently enrolled in any of the above courses and it is the first French course you are taking at GU, you may sit for the proficiency exam in November or April.
SFS undergraduates who plan to study abroad should be aware that their direct matriculation into a Francophone institution will automatically fulfill their oral proficiency exam requirement (assuming students pass all courses abroad). Students who directly matriculate thus need not sit for this exam.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the BSFS Proficiency Exam?
The French Proficiency Exam is an oral language exam. Candidates will be judged on their ability to outline the given article and sustain a conversation on topics in international affairs, politics, economics, culture, and civilization, relating specifically to the French or Francophone worlds, while using a wide range of vocabulary, correct grammar, proper pronunciation, and a professional level of language. The content (See the list of themes attached.) is the basis for the conversations, and as such, it is an integral component of the exam. A student who is not able to discuss topics because of a lack of general knowledge will, in all probability, not pass the exam.
The candidate will be provided with an article taken from a recent issue of a French or Francophone newspaper or magazine and will be given fifteen (15) minutes to read it. The candidate will then go into an office where two (2) examiners will listen to the candidate give a short outline of the article, after which the examiners will ask questions about the article and proceed to a discussion (which the candidate is expected to sustain) of several topics taken from the list of themes. This portion of the exam will last between fifteen (15) and twenty (20) minutes.
BSFS candidates will be evaluated on a Pass/Fail basis by the SFS. The French Department will distribute certificates to students who pass the exam with a more detailed assessment of their performance (Good, Very Good, Excellent).
When is the exam offered?
The French Proficiency Exam is offered in September, November, and April (check the French Department web site: french.georgetown.edu, for actual dates). A $50.00 fee will be charged for students needing to take to the exam outside of the regular examination periods.
Who is eligible to take the BSFS Proficiency Exam?
All are required to take the Placement Exam offered by the French Department as a first step to proper placement and determination of language preparedness. Students must have completed FREN 112, 151, 161, 215, 250, 251, or any course beyond the Gateway (250/251). French 151 is acceptable but not recommended, as it is not the best preparation for this exam.
Students must complete at least one French course at Georgetown prior to taking the exam. First-year students and students enrolled in their first GU French course are ineligible for the September exam.
Students planning to go abroad should be aware that their direct matriculation into a Francophone institution will automatically fulfill their French oral proficiency requirement.
How should a student prepare for the BSFS Proficiency Exam?
All students must review and become familiar with the topics (French, Belgian, Canadian, or African studies) on which the discussions might be based (see included list). The list of themes covers material on the French and/or the Francophone World which students cover in Advanced French I and II (as well as more advanced courses such as Topics for Oral Proficiency, African Self-Perceptions, Contemporary French Canada, etc.). Candidates may obtain additional information from Professors Guieu or Roman, SFS Core Faculty members. Dictionaries may not be used during any portion of the exam. Students may consult the article in front of them, write notes, or underline text.
What content will the exam cover ?
For the reading comprehension component of the exam, selected articles will be made available to the student fifteen (15) minutes prior to the exam.
Along with the article itself, students should be able to discuss all topics or themes listed below.
In order to prepare for the content component of the exam, students should consult Edmiston & Duménie, La France Contemporaine, Fourth Edition.
Students should be familiar with the following chapters from La France Contemporaine:
- La France et les Etats-Unis
- L’Union européenne
- La République française
- Les partis politiques et les élections
- Le travail et le temps libre
- La protection sociale
- Les religions
Results of the exam will be emailed to students by the SFS. French Department certificates will be available for pickup after students are notified by the SFS of their scores.
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