Department of German - Post A-Level German study

Department of German and Dutch

Modern & Medieval Languages

Department of German and Dutch

GERMAN COURSE INFORMATION For full information about DUTCH courses and staff please CLICK HERE

German post A-Level (Option B)

The first year

After the first year


The First-year Course


The first-year course consists of a combination of lectures and classes arranged by the Department and mostly taking place at the Sidgwick Avenue site, and of supervisions arranged by the colleges.

The examination consists of an oral, two language papers, plus one scheduled paper. (See Scheduled Paper & Course Advisers for Option B below.)

The language papers will be as follows:

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Coursework for Option B

Preparation for the Option B examinations involves one weekly class in Use of German, one fortnightly class in Translation from German, a lecture series (Ge1 - Introduction to German Studies) and two kinds of supervision provided by your College, one for your scheduled paper and one for language work. The language supervision is intended both to prepare you for the oral examination and to help you individually to develop your ability to express yourself clearly and idiomatically in written German. You should therefore expect to have to prepare for and participate in discussion in German in your College language supervisions, normally one a week. While the number of contact hours you will experience may appear small by comparison with what you have experienced at school, you will find that much of the benefit you can expect to receive will be a result of individual study related to the work set for your classes and supervisions.

Language Classes organised by the Department of German

You will be expected to attend one weekly class in Use of German and one fortnightly class in Translation from German, both organised centrally by the Department. For each of these classes you will be set a piece of work to be handed in by a specified deadline. You should expect to spend about three hours on average on any piece of work set for these classes.

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Recommended books

For your German language work, it is essential that you have your own copy of the following:

  • the Use of German course textbook: Carol Fehringer, German Grammar in Context, (new edition 2013, available in paperback)
  • M. Durrell, Hammer's German Grammar and Usage London: Arnold, (2011)
  • M. Durrell, K. Kohl, G. Loftus, Practising German Grammar, (2011) (designed to go with Hammer's German Grammar and Usage)
  • S. Fagan, Using German Vocabulary, CUP 2004
  • a good German-English/English-German dictionary containing around 200,000 items of vocabulary (ie not a concise dictionary) eg Collins German-English/English-German Dictionary or the Oxford-Duden German Dictionary (preferably an edition including the new spelling reforms)
  • a good English dictionary, eg Collins English Dictionary or the New Concise Oxford Dictionary

[The books by Durrell and Fagan are used for class teaching in years 2 and 4 also.]

You should also familiarise yourself with the larger German dictionaries available in the Faculty and College libraries, e.g., Langenscheidt, Wildhagen, Oxford-Harrap. The following reference works are also recommended for use on the first-year course:

  • Langenscheidt, Basic German Vocabulary
  • Wahrig, Deutsches Wörterbuch (a user-friendly German-German dictionary)
  • Duden, Deutsches Universalwörterbuch
  • Duden, Richtiges und gutes Deutsch
  • Duden, Stilwörterbuch
  • M Durrell, K Kohl & G Loftus, Essential German Grammar, (2002)
  • M Durrell, Using German. A Guide to Contemporary Usage, (1992)
  • M Durrell, Using German Synonyms, (2001)
  • C Fehringer, German Grammar in Context, (new edition 2013, available in paperback)
  • A Künzl-Snodgrass & S Mentchen, Upgrade Your German, (2003)

The Department has an excellent collection of German reference books in the MML Library. Besides all the standard dictionaries you will find there not only a range of philosophical and historical ones, but also some more unusual ones which should make browsing in this section very enjoyable.

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Scheduled paper and course adviser

All post A-level students will take one course, the paper Ge1: Introduction to German studies. This paper will introduce them to all the aspects of the formal study of German culture that form part of the Cambridge German course: literature of all periods and film, linguistics, history, and thought.

Preparation for a scheduled paper requires attendance at the lectures advertised in the Lecture List on our website and the online timetable and supervision provided by your College. A normal course of supervisions for a scheduled paper consists of ten sessions at fortnightly intervals throughout the teaching year. The German Department has nominated a member of staff to be course adviser for each of its scheduled papers (details to be found on the linked pages), and enquiries can be made directly to them. In the first instance however, you should consult your Director of Studies if you have any queries about the scheduled paper.


Self help

What you get out of your German Language work depends a great deal on what you put in. The following may help you improve your German on a day-to-day basis while you are in Cambridge:

  • The Faculty's Computer Aided Language Learning Facility (CALL) offers you access to a variety of self-help programmes and links to relevant sites to reinforce your knowledge of both written and spoken German and to help you discover how to work with German texts.
  • The Cambridge University German Society holds a regular Stammtisch which will put you in touch with German native speakers
  • The Language Learning Adviser in the Cambridge University Language Centre may be able to pair you off with a German native speaker keen to swap conversation sessions - don't be shy!
  • German films are often shown by the German Society or by Lectors, and there is a good selection of DVDs in the Faculty Library.
  • Performances of German plays are organised from time to time by Colleges or special interest groups.
  • Above all, keep a regular written record of the new words and phrases you meet - including the gender and plural of all nouns - and of the context in which you find them.

Faculty Policy on Plagiarism

Course Costs

Apart from the initial purchase of the language books recommended above and perhaps certain core text books for the Ge1 scheduled paper (and later on for other scheduled papers), students are unlikely to incur any further costs specifically related to their German studies.

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