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Study Guide

Guide to language learning paths - Bachelor programmes

With this guide, we would like to inform you about the university's language model and guide you on your next steps, so that you can gradually acquire the language skills required during your studies and be ready for trilingual study.

As you know, trilingualism in teaching and research is the defining feature of unibz; lectures and university life in general are conducted in three languages: Italian, German and English.

In order to be admitted to your Bachelor's degree course, you have met the entry language requirements, i.e. you have demonstrated that you can use at least two of the three official teaching languages at B2 level.

Although not required for admission purposes, the third language is equally important during your studies. 

The degree course in which you are enrolled includes language levels in the third language which must be achieved during your studies (e.g. B1 after the first year) in order to advance in your studies and/or register for the examinations of curricular courses taught in that language.

In addition, there are exit language requirements: in order to graduate, you will need to certify two languages at the C1 level and the third language at the B2 level.

Have a look here to see the overview of the required language levels

To help you keep up with your language requirements and successfully achieve your goals, we have developed 4 targeted language learning paths that include a series of intensive courses (during the breaks before, between, and after the semesters) and extensive courses during semesters. These courses are organized into a modular system. All language courses are offered completely free of charge.

We strongly recommend that you attend the language courses offered by the Language Centre. Our experience and data demonstrate that it is very difficult to reach the required language levels without completing your learning path. Please do not underestimate the importance of formal learning!

If you enroll in a language course, this implies a commitment to regularly attend and actively participate in that course.

If you attend at least 75% of the lessons, then you should be ready to take the end-of-course test, which allows you to access the next module in your learning path.

Keep in mind that:

Language learning takes time and perseverance and is a gradual and highly complex process.

Language courses are essential if you want to improve your language skills, especially formal writing and speaking skills

However, it is essential to take advantage of all possibilities to engage and practice the target language outside of formal instruction. Try to make the target language part of your daily life and "communicate" as much as you possibly can in that language!

But do not neglect your formal learning! Depending on your entry level in the third language, you should follow one of the learning paths listed below to reach your target level in the shortest time possible.

If your third language is below the B2 level at matriculation, you should first focus on achieving B2 in this language. Once you have achieved B2 in your third language, you can concentrate on acquiring C1 skills in your second language, if you have not already certified this exit requirement.

In order to find your optimal learning path and plan your learning, first select your starting level in the third language below and follow the link to the information about your language learning path. If you follow these recommendations you are well on your way to successful study at unibz!

As your goal is to reach a B1 level within the first year, the language learning path you will have to follow is as follows:

1st year (third language) 

  • Intensive course A1.1-A1.2 in September ("pre-semester") = 90 hrs (6 hours per day, Monday to Friday for three weeks)
  • Extensive course A2.1 in the 1st semester = 40 hrs (there are no scheduling conflicts with faculty courses)
  • Intensive course A2.2-B1.1a in February = 60 hrs (6 hours per day, Monday to Friday for two weeks, during semester breaks)
  • Extensive course B1.1b in the 2nd semester = 40 hrs (there are no scheduling conflicts with faculty courses)
  • Intensive course B1.2a-B1.2b in July = 60 hrs (6 hours per day, Monday to Friday for 2 weeks, during semester breaks)

The courses must be taken sequentially (e.g. you will not be able to take A2.2-B1.1a unless you have successfully completed A2.1), bearing in mind that each module is only offered in the periods indicated above (A2.1, for example, is ONLY offered in the first semester as an extensive course).

Module B1.2b concludes the learning path towards B1. The final learning hours of this module are dedicated to preparation for the internal language exam that will allow you to certify your B1 level.

You should be ready to take the B1 level exam at the end of July/beginning of August (at the end of the intensive language courses in July).

N.B. Taking part in a language course and passing the relevant end-of-course test doesn’t mean that you have certified your level. To certify your language proficiency, you must either take a language proficiency exam at the Language Centre or submit a language certificate recognised by unibz.

If you do not pass the B1 language exam at the end of July, you can take it again in early October session.

We would like to remind you that if you start your path in the third language course as an absolute beginner, you will have to start with the intensive courses in September!

 2nd year (third language)

Your goal is now to continue studying the third language to bring it up to a B2 level (exit level), so your language learning path will continue as follows:

  • Intensive course B2.1a-B2.1b in September = 60 hrs (6 hours per day, Monday to Friday for two weeks, before the start of the academic year)
  • Extensive course B2.2a in the 1st semester = 40 hrs (there are no scheduling conflicts with faculty courses)
  • Intensive course B2.2b in February = 40 hrs (4 hrs per day for 2 weeks, during semester breaks)

Module B2.2b concludes the learning path towards B2. The final learning hours of this module are dedicated to preparation for the internal language exam that will allow you to certify your B2 level.

You should be ready to take the B2 level exam at the end of February (at the end of the February intensive language courses).

If you do not pass the language exam, you can take it again in early June session.

Once you have completed your path in the third language and obtained the required B2 certification (exit level), you are invited to continue progressing toward the C1 level by continuing with the C1 level courses. This is, of course, not required but is highly encouraged.

2nd /3rd year (second language)

If you do not have a C1 certificate for your second language (exit requirement) yet, you can attend an intensive C1.1-C1.2 course in July and continue with C1.3 (final C1 module focusing on productive skills - written and oral production) in September (intensive course) or in the first semester of the third year. At the end of module C1.3, you should be ready to sit the internal C1 exam during a scheduled exam session.

If you do not have a C1, but a B2 level in your first language, we recommend that you contact the Language Centre for individual advising to set up a personalised learning plan.

Language examinations and certifications

You can certify your language skills either through an international language certificate recognised by unibz, or by taking the Language Centre's internal language proficiency exams.

If you obtain an international language certificate, you can upload it to the student portal (Cockpit), which you will have access to after enrolment in your degree course.

If you would like to certify your language skills (level B1, B2 or C1) through a Language Centre exam, you must register for the exam via Cockpit during the registration periods indicated in the Study Guide (Cockpit > Study Guide > Languages> Language Exams). You will always receive a reminder when it comes time to register for a language exam so that you don’t miss the deadlines.

The Language Centre's language proficiency exams are offered five times per year, at the end of each session of language courses:

  • end of September/beginning of October
  • beginning/mid January
  • end of February
  • beginning of June
  • end of July/beginning of August

The exams are conducted according to standardized criteria and in accordance with the specifications of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and thus test the four language skills:

  • reading comprehension,
  • listening comprehension,
  • written production,
  • oral production.

The exams are conducted according to standardized criteria and in accordance with the specifications of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and thus test the four language skills: reading comprehension, listening comprehension, written production and oral production.

The language exams consist of three modules:

  • Module I = Listening comprehension, reading comprehension and language in use
  • Module II = Written production
  • Module III = Oral production

You do not pass an unibz language proficiency exam until you have passed all three modules. If you do not pass module I, you cannot take modules II and III and you must repeat the entire exam.

Passing module I entitles you to take module II and module III of the language exam. Once you have passed a module, each passing result will remain valid for 18 months from the date of passing the first module. Else the modules passed lose their validity and the entire exam must be repeated. There are five exam sessions in an academic year, but you can take the same module (for a given language and level) a maximum of three times in an academic year. (Applies to students enrolled as from A. Y. 2021/22).

See the Study Guide for more information on language exams and the test structure.

At the end of your language learning path towards B1, B2, C1 levels (i.e. at the end of modules B1.2b, B2.2b and C1.3) you should have acquired the language skills to take the full language exams to certify these levels. We strongly recommend that you only take a language exam after you have completed the language learning path for a given level.

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