English Language and Linguistics > For Students > Exam Hints

For Students

Exam Hints

Written Exams

Final Exam Written: Your Preparation

For the written MA exam you need two areas of topics because you will be given two topics which you can choose from immediately at the beginning of the exam.

First you choose several topics from the topics suggestions, go to the library and select an appropriate reading list. This reading list should neither be too small nor too big, neither too specific nor too general; it must give you enough material to write about 6 to 12 pages depending on your hand-writing style.

You submit this reading list about 4 weeks before the written exam.

During the exam you will have to do a brainstorming first, so that you choose the topic which is better for you. This can take up to one hour, since you will have to rearrange the materials that you have learned, since you will be given a topic were you can use a lot of the materials but not one that allows you to learn everything by heart. During the exam do not write a draft and a clean copy later. Try to select and order the materials so that you achieve a comprehensive discussion for an academic readership.

Towards the end of the exam make sure you have enough time to read through your work again and correct the mistakes or improve the style.

You will be given the two topics in German, but you can answer in German or in English or mixed.


Final Exam Written: Our evaluation

Your written exam essay will be corrected independently by two assessors. Both will give you positive (and occasionally negative points for "chatting"):

  • relevance = whether you have selected the material according to the topic and academic concepts used in scholarly discussion.
  • critical knowledge = whether you have introduced and explained basic relevant concepts and terminology, whether you have used and digested the material appropriately, and whether you have provided data and examples wherever necessary.
  • argumentation = whether you have streamlined the sequence of topics convincingly to lead the reader to a qualified opinion.
  • clarity/style = whether your language (German as well as English) is academic, i.e. with quotations and references to scholarly works and discussions wherever possible.
  • reference/quotation forms = everything that makes it clear where you have found your own argumentation and where you are referring to other people's work and ideas.


Here are some examples of real written exams