Pak Tam

UCD Electives Testimonials part 1 (Languages)

In UCD on September 2, 2008 at 9:28 am

Assalamualaikum and Salam Sejahtera!

In the beginning of every semesters, some UCDians will go haywire over their choice of electives. So, how to balance between your interest and prospect of getting good result (finding the easiest and less demanding elective)? Well, usually we ask for advices from our seniors…But now, we are bringing you some testimonials, just like in friendster, hehe.

So this series will work like this, we will give overall review, talk a bit about the classes and exams, then we rate them. Ratings for Difficulties are (1 easiest, 5 hardest), for Coursework (1 least demanding, 5 most demanding) and Overall rating.

In this post we will cater the language courses (not all courses now but this post will be updated), from Applied Language Centre. In overview, it will be an interactive 2 hours class of 15-25 people . Exams will be oral, aural and written.Most Ab Initio (No Prior Knowledge) courses are easy and fun, but they are favorites, so expect competitions. Classes usually start by learning characters, vocabularies, and pronunciations and end with activities like role-playing. we’ll be given workbook and access to Moodle (for audios and exercises). It gets harder in later stages. Also, you need to do a simple portfolio (5%) and participate actively in class (10%).

1. Japanese Ab Initio (LANG 10021)

The teacher made the class fun and interactive with creative activities. (She’s cute!) We even watched some Japanese videos, ete japanese snacks and sang karaoke in class! We were given small dictionary also. Homework is minimal. You need to memorise all hiragana, but some katakana and kanji. Oral and aural exams were easy. Written test need some work but do-able. If you’re an anime junkie, this is perfect for you.

Difficulties: 1

Coursework: 1

Overall: 5

Reviewer’s result: A-

2. Chinese Ab Initio (LANG 10020)

Fun and interactive but i found Chinese pronunciations quite hard. It was funny how the whole class tried to sound right .However the teacher is very nice and helpful. We hardly get any homework but practicing and memorising words. We learned to write characters too (its cool!) but in the exams, we only need to write some. But learning about the history of how the character was created was a bonus. Really easy to grasp and don’t worry if you don’t know a single Chinese word because after the course you will be able to even introduce your family. It was quite fun practising Chinese with your partners especially when your partner is not a Malaysian. Classes are easygoing and no stress guaranteed.

Practice makes perfect! Especially in written and oral exam. One advantage is that, you’ll only be examined on what you have learnt in class.

Difficulties: 1.67

Coursework: 1.67

Overall: 5

Reviewers’ results: A, B, A

3. Chinese L & C 2 (LANG 10160)

If you were good in Ab Initio, you be good in this. We learned to use Chinese for shopping and eating.We also get more new vocabularies on sports, directions, locations and holidays. We even learned how to bargain or complain about bad services! I think we can speak Chinese after this. We learned a lot.


Coursework: 1


Reviewers’ result: c+

4. Italian Ab Initio (LANG 10010)

The teacher speaks Italian ALL the time, even for explaining and expect you to understand.Loads of homework. The teacher assess us a lot ( orals,essays). Not recommended at all.




Reviewer’s result:D

5. Spanish Ab Initio (LANG 10230)

Very easy for those who have a basic in Spanish, even if it’s only a few words that you picked up from watching telenovelas! (Its actually must if you already like saying “mi amor” or “que” all the time). Excellent choice of language to learn because of its wide usage across so many countries. Saves you when you go traveling to Spain, with the help of a dictionary of course. Didn’t spend too much time studying it.

The class was like learning ABC again, filling up the blanks and do some matching up words. The teacher is fun and very helpful in making sure you get the pronunciations right.

The teacher really helps you through the oral exam and for preparation before the written and aural exam. All handouts given during this session should be taken seriously, may be a lifesaver during the exams!




Reviewer’s result: B+, C+, A-

6. Spanish Level 2

I took the course solely based on the reason of enjoying the ab initio stage (beginners). But it wasn’t a bed of roses. Stage 2 became a bit more serious with more handouts to be done and less word games played. Take this class if you love spanish and wish to take it a third language.You learn spanish in more mature topics. More grammar is focused so you must have the ab initio grammar at your fingertips.




Reviewer’s result:C

7. Arabic Ab Initio (LANG 10080)

Overall it’s OK. Quiet easy on early part (learning Alif, Ba, Ta), but must work a little more when its come to vocabulary and grammar..For exams, focus more on exams and finals.Like all other language, it is very interesting and can take you places.




Reviewers’ result:B+, B

8. English for Academic Purposes 4 (LANG 10510)

It is a very useful course. It is designed for those who has IELTS of band lower than 6.5 (look website for more info) Whats better, only international student (aka non native speakers of English) are eligible to register this module. So in your class, there will be people from all over the world. And its great opportunity to know other countries! Just by speaking that common language : English

As said before, it is international class. Though most of the time, Malaysians make up the majority. I’ve had classmates from Africans, Iranian, Poland, Chinese and many more.The teachers are nice and share interesting stories about Ireland and Europe history once in a while during class. If you’re the inquisitive one, this is the class for you!




Reviewers’ result:A

9. English For Academic Purposes 5 (LANG 10040)

Not much difference with Stage 4. Still has international students (with Malaysians making the majority) and we had the same teacher as in Stage 4. But we discussed more mature issues such as religion, politics, cultural traditionals and marriage! Very interesting! You are not just learning the language but so much more.




Reviewers’ result:B+ (expected A, but probably due to high passing mark for A)

10. Francais Ab Initio (French Basic Level)

Interesting since I had learned the second most important language in the world. The teacher is very committed,very helpful and very interesting.
It’s a small class of 20 students. The teacher might give you challenging tasks in class and as homeworks since studying a new language is not that easy. A lot of revisions and memorizing is a must to score this module. Take the opportunity to communicate in French in class and with the teacher& friends as much as you can.




Reviewers’ result:B+

Okay folks, thats all for now. Ill return with more reviews (its your reviews after all), Insya-Allah. Should you wish to contribute your reviews (they are gonna be anonymous), please sent to->


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