Semester CoursesFAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to take the placement test?

The placement test is generally mandatory, as this is the best way to determine the most suitable course for you. This holds true also if you have attended a German course at a language school or with us at the International Study Centre. You may be exempted from the test only if you fall under one of the exceptions stated under “Step #2: Placement test” on the semester courses information page.

What do I do if I cannot take the placement test?

Please inform us as soon as possible by email: koordination@isz.uni-heidelberg.de

We will try then to find an alternative solution.

Can I attend a General German Semester Course on Mondays and Wednesdays at different times? Can I attend the course just on one of these days?

Neither is an option. For both your individual learning success and efficient teaching, it is crucial that students attend a given course on a regular and continuous basis.

How fast can I improve my proficiency level in the General German Semester Courses?

How fast you progress always depends on your motivation and your individual learning conditions as well as on the selected course type (standard or intensive course). Typically, you complete one course and, therefore, one level (e.g. B1.1) per semester. In the next semester, usually, you will be taking a course for the subsequent level (e.g. B1.1 → B1.2). You may be allowed to skip a level (e.g. B1.1 → B2.1) only after demonstrating exceptional learning progress in your course or after scoring particularly well in the placement test.

Can I change course levels during the semester?

A transfer to a higher or lower level is possible during the first two weeks; it needs, however, to be suggested by your instructor upon consultation with the course coordinators. Should you feel that the course you are attending might be overly demanding or not challenging enough for you, please always talk to your instructor first.

How can I withdraw from my course and get a refund of my fee?

You can cancel your registration during the first three weeks of classes and reclaim your course fee by using the cancellation form to be obtained from the course coordinators. There will be no refunds after the third week.

Will I obtain ECTS credits?

Yes. You will obtain a graded certificate with ECTD credits havingg
(1) attended the course regularly and also
(2) passed the final test and/or completed certain other course assessments.
Our course brochure tells you the number of ECTS credits you will be awarded for a given course (General German Courses: see column "ECTS"; Subject-specific German courses: see "requirements").

What is the grading system?

We apply the common grading scale for master's degree students at Heidelberg University:

1.0 = "very good" (for a particularly excellent achievement)
2.0 = "good" (for an achievement that exceeds the average requirements considerably)
3.0 = "satisfactory" (for an achievement that entirely fulfils the average requirements)
4.0 = "sufficient" (for an achievement that, despite flaws, meets the requirements)
4.1; etc. = failed

Is attendance mandatory?

Yes. Your attendance will be checked each class. If you want a graded certificate with ECTS credits, regular attendance is a necessary requirement. You will receive detailed information in the opening class.

What textbooks will I be using, and do I have to buy them myself?

The textbooks to be used will be presented by your instructor in the opening class and will usually have to be purchased by the students themselves.

Do the instructors speak English?

Especially at the beginning of the semester and in the basic-level courses (A1.1 to A2.2), teachers will (also) be using some English where necessary. Nevertheless, you will be speaking German in class as soon and as much as possible.

What are the course sizes?

Normally, there are 10 to 20 students in a class.

Can I take the DSH exam after a General German Semester Course?

Yes. After completing the DSH prep course or a C1 course, you are eligible to take the DSH. Total cost: regular course fee + 100€ examination fee.