Prírodovedecká fakultaUniverzita Komenského v Bratislave

Scope and Form of Examination for PhD Students

Scope and form of the English examination, evaluation and how to register for the exam

PhD students wishing to take the English exam should be at a B2 level (not lower!) according to the European Reference Framework. (The former equivalent of B2 was called "upper intermediate").

PhD students must first register for the exam via AIS. Examinations are held ONLY in January/February and May/June, that is, when regular lessons are not being taught. It is possible to repeat the exam however, only after a period of 3 months upon a failed attempt and no earlier.

 The test consists of the following parts:

1          the test focuses on vocabulary and grammar ( cca 45 minutes)

2.         listening and comprehension (cca 30 minutes)

3.         reading and comprehension (cca 60 minutes)

4.         writing – exercises based on the CD-ROM „Writing Professional English“ (cca 45 minutes)

5.         Interview with a lecturer in which English is their mother tongue on current and topics of the student’s field (cca 15 minutes)

1. This part of the exam focuses on grammar and vocabulary and tests the student‘s ability from part 4 - Language Functions, Part 5 Grammar, and Part 6 Words, which are all found on the CD-ROM „Writing Professional English“. The test is done by selecting the correct answer from a minimum of three options (multiple choice).

2. One general text for listening and one from the student‘s field will be played, the length of each text is 3-7 minutes. Students will listen to each text 2 times and then mark the correct/incorrect answer, fill-in missing words, or answer using whole sentences.

3. Candidates will be given one general and one scientific text to read. The length of each text is a maximum two pages in an A4 format. Following the text will be multiple choice questions that should be correctly marked, true / false (T / F) questions, or answers using whole sentence.

4. In this section, the student has to answer questions based on exercises from the interactive CD-ROM „Writing Professional English“, specifically Part 1 of Types of Writing, Part 2 Composition, and Part 3 Style.

5. Interview with a lecturer in which English is their mother tongue. The lecturer shall ask about student‘s work, study, knowledge and study of English among other things. The interview may also be completed throughout the year (before or after the written test) under the basis of convenience, or on the dates announced on the website of the Department of Languages. This part of the test does not need to be registered separately.

The results will be entered into AIS no later than three days after the exam.

The exam will be considered successfully completed when the student obtains a grade of at least 60% for each part. In the case of failure, the student can repeat only the part(s) he/she did not pass. Failure to come to the exam without justification, withdrawal from the exam, or violation of the rules of the examination shall be decided in accordance with the relevant applicable regulations and practices of the University.

The exam does not have to be completed by a PhD student who has passed the following examinations at a B2 level or higher according to the European Framework of Reference: First Cambridge Certificate, UNIcert, TOEFL, IELTS, examination for PhD students at another faculty of natural sciences or SAV (Slovak Academy of Sciences) or the State examination from a State Language School. The holder of any of these certificates is required to bring the original certificate of authentication to the Department of Languages and a copy to be kept on file (it does not need verification).

Recommended literature and sources where materials can be found:

Writing Professional English CD-ROM (our products_Chemistry)

Cambridge English for Scientists with audio CDs

Test Your Reading Skills: A Handbook for Science Doctoral Students 

Preparation for the listening part:

  1. Go to the link above.
  2. Click on one of the available texts (there are more than 2000 available).
  3. Choose the recording in the LISTEN section (medium British English).
  4. Click on the  27-page lesson at the top left in the PRINT section.
  5. A copy of the text can be found on the page 2.
  6. True/false questions can be found on page 5. Print this page.
  7. Multiple choice questions can be found on page 10. Print this page.
  8. Play the recording and write both tests.
  9. You can check your answers on page 27.
  10.  In case of any problems, read the text to the recording on page 2.