German Oral Exam: Personal Inteview and Conversation

Deutsch 102: Oral Exam 1
DONNERSTAG und FREITAG, 26. und 27. Februar

Place:        209 Van Hise       Time: ______________________Day: ______________________

This oral exam is only about 5-6 minutes long, so there’s no reason to be nervous. You’ll be paired with a partner from another section of German 102, and you’ll simply need to have a short conversation with him/her. Here’s a short description of the setting we’re imagining for you:

• Imagine you’re an exchange student in Berlin. You can use your real identity as an American UW-student, but it’s often more fun to make up a fictitious identity or celebrity, for example the son of Bill Gates, or a Moroccan prince or something.
• You’ve been in Berlin for about a month, and are taking classes at the university and living in the dorms there. You and your partner from the other section of 102 are waiting outside a lecture hall before class. You recognize your partner from seeing him/her in the same dormitory (Wohnheim) as you, so you strike up a conversation in hopes of getting to know him/her better. You should have a short conversation with your partner, covering whatever issues you want to talk and ask about. In general, you should be prepared to talk (and ask your partner) about:
 •Your background: introduce yourself, say where you come from, how old you are, talk about your family and interests/hobbies, and how long you’ve been studying German.
• University life: including your own living situation in Germany (dorm -- how is your room, what you have or don’t have, what the general living arrangements are like), why you’re studying in Germany and what kind of classes you take, meals you eat, extra things that one might find interesting (parties, sports, etc.).
• Anything else you find interesting, e.g. if you want to talk about politics, current events, traveling, German culture, etc. -- this isn’t specific, but to fill up 5-6 minutes, you’ll probably need to move a little beyond just introducing yourself.
• Please do be considerate of your partner and don’t throw totally unfamiliar concepts/words around, but as long as you can explain things well, anything goes. If there are particular things you want to say or ask and you don’t know how to phrase them, please ask your T.A. beforehand, but NOT during the oral exam itself. During the conversation, we don’t want to hear any English! If you can’t think of a word you need, try to talk around it and explain yourself in a different way, but don’t simply use the English word. Feel free to ask your partner to explain unfamiliar words, but don’t ask your T.A. -- you’ll have to pretend we’re just not there at all.
• You should use the ‘du’ form of address with your partner, as German university students would do in reality. Please do not use the ‘Sie’ form to address your partner, since that would seem unnecessarily formal (and switching back and forth between ‘du’ and ‘Sie’ is unheard of!).
• You should be prepared to ask about 10 good questions of your partner, and also to answer that same number.

We will mostly be grading your ability to communicate your ideas so that your partner (and your T.A.) can understand them -- without lapsing into English or taking long pauses to think your phrases through. If your grammar is very good, that will be a plus, but several mistakes here and there are to be expected (and no one should be expected to get all of their accusative/dative/etc. details absolutely perfect when speaking spontaneously!). We will, of course, count off for major grammar problems or breakdowns in communication. The same goes for accent and pronunciation: if we can understand you and think that a native German would comprehend you, that’s good; if it is very difficult to make sense of, we will count off, and if it’s perfect, that will count extra. In short:

Plus points:Negative points:
natural conversational flowuse of English!
good vocabularylong awkward pauses or communication breakdowns
good pronunciationmajor difficulty in pronunciation
good grammarmajor grammar problems

If you want to, you can bring a small notecard with key vocabulary or phrases on it (no more than one index-card sized paper). No, there’s no extra credit for NOT having a notecard! :) However, please do NOT write out entire sentences or paragraphs, just small hints to help you remember troublesome words or phrases.
At some point during the next two weeks, we’ll have time in class for you to practice an interview with a partner, so start thinking about your identity, what you might want to say, and feel free to come up with questions or things you’d like to know how to express.
Remember, it’s not at all meant to be stressful, just to show off your ability to communicate in German and think on your feet in an approximately real-life situation. Viel Glück!

To help you prepare a bit for the exam, you should think about whether you want to ‘play’ yourself or a fictitious identity. Fill out the following table with brief notes (in German) so that you’ll have a better sense of your background information. (Remember that during the oral exam you will probably still need to invent some answers to questions that you may not have anticipated!)


Familie: groß/klein? Geschwister? Eltern? Haustiere? 

Heimatstadt (=home town): 

Alter (=age): 

Interessen und Hobbys: 

Wie lange lernst du schon Deutsch? 

Wie lange bleibst du in Berlin? 

Wohnlage (=living quarters) in Berlin: groß/klein? gut/schlecht? billig/teuer? Mitbewohner/in? 

Studium: Hauptfach (=major) und Interessen? 

Welche Kurse hast du dieses Semester (in Berlin)? 

Was für einen Job möchtest du nach dem Studium finden?