Arabic Proficiency Requirement
Each student must be continuously enrolled in an Arabic language class until successful completion of the oral and written portions of the Arabic Proficiency Examination. The examination is administered in late August, late November, and late April. The results are graded on a scale similar to that of the State Department's Foreign Service Institute, from one to five, with a three considered passing.
Upon initial registration, an entering student's knowledge of the Arabic language (if substantial) is evaluated through a two-hour Arabic Placement Examination. Mr. Belkacem Baccouche, in consultation with the Arabic conversation instructor, counsels students as to their readiness for the examination.
If the student passes the oral but not the written portion of the proficiency examination, he or she should enroll in the MAAS Intensive Arabic grammar section. If the student passes the written but not the oral portion of the proficiency examination, he or she may choose to attend the MAAS advanced conversation section; if so, the student should plan on regular (five days/week) attendance. The student's attendance should be cleared with the conversation instructor at the beginning of the semester.
The written examination, generally administered prior to the oral portion, has three sections:
- Part I, Grammar, is multiple choice and fill-in-the-blanks, all in Arabic;
- Part II, Reading Comprehension, consists of two short Arabic readings followed by comprehension questions in English requiring answers in English;
- Part III, Composition, requires the student to write an essay of 175 words on one topic chosen from the five provided; the composition is graded on quality of Arabic expression, including grammar, vocabulary, and organization.
The written examination lasts approximately three and a half hours. Dictionaries (English/Arabic, Arabic/English) are permitted. The oral examination is administered by two Arabic instructors, at least one of whom is a Georgetown University instructor; the other may be an outside professional. The examination takes the form of a half-hour conversation during which the student is expected to use Modern Standard Arabic. A limited use of colloquial Arabic is permissible, so long as it is coherent and widely understood.
A maximum of two retakes is possible during the regularly scheduled examination sequence only. If a student sits for the Arabic proficiency exam during his or her MAAS orientation and does not pass, that exam does not count as one of the three sittings to which the student is entitled. In the case of a second scoring below three on either examination, a student will be required to enroll in an Arabic language class before he or she can sit for another proficiency examination.