Exemption from Combined Academic Reading & Communication Skills courses

This exemption exam is for students in the faculties of Education and Psychology, and Humanities and Social Sciences. It is made up of two consecutive parts: a test of your oral communication skills and, if that is passed, then a field-specific academic reading exam. Please note that the exemption exam takes place over two consecutive Fridays. Taking part in the oral test does not guarantee the right to take part in the academic reading exam. If you fail either part of the exam you will be advised to take the course.  An overall exam grade of at least 4 on a 1-5 point scale is required in order to be exempted from taking the course.

The oral communication skills test entails giving an academic oral presentation in English on an agreed subject connected with the student's field of study, making use of instructional aids (PowerPoint), and lasting 20 minutes, to a panel of two lecturers. The intended audience is a university educated native speaker who is not an expert in the student's field. This presentation is followed by a question and discussion session. Only minimal notes may be used and the student must demonstrate good academic presentation skills and a sound grasp of the technical terminology of his/her discipline.

The field-specific academic reading exam usually requires the students to locate the main information of a lengthy discipline-specific text and to synthesize, analyze or report it in their mother tongue (Finnish/Swedish) or in English in two hours. The texts are chosen on the basis of the student's main subject.

There is no automatic right to take this exam. Students should initially contact the English language lecturer responsible for their faculty (see information below) and provide evidence that their English proficiency is of such a high standard that they would not benefit from attending the combined Academic Reading & Communication Skills course. Students must speak to the lecturer in person not later than 2 weeks before the examination. Those given permission to take part in the exemption exam will be contacted one week in advance of the test date and given an oral presentation time. 

The dates for the different stages of the exemption exam in the academic year 2022-2023 are as follows:

Autumn 2022: Oral communication skills test Friday 30.09.2022 and field-specific academic reading exam Friday 7.10.2022.

Spring 2023: Oral communication skills test Friday 27.01.2023 and field-specific academic reading exam Friday 3.2.2023.

XENH002 – Denise Kaltschütz
XENK002 – Lisa Lahtela (KAIKO, ERKKA, VAKA) or Elena Kirk (PSY, OKL)

Click here for contact information.

Following approval by the appropriate instructor above, contact Elena Kirk, exam coordinator, to inform her you will be participating.

Preparing for the exam

You can prepare for the oral communication skills test by taking a look at the guide produced by the University of Southampton here. Be careful to not plagiarize in your presentation. Here is another  another guide by the University of Southampton on referencing and plagiarism. For details of the assessment criteria for the oral communications skills test, see the page for Exemption from Communication Skills courses.

You can prepare for the field-specific academic reading exam by developing your extensive reading strategies independently and by reading scientific texts and research reports in your own field. Besides the library, you can find suitable texts from your own field at sciencedirect.com. Pay attention to what reporting conventions seem to be typical of your field, e.g. characteristics of quantitative and qualitative reporting, argumentative essays, etc. The most common exam task would be to summarize in some form the main points of a scientific report or article for the purpose of introducing the content in e.g. a seminar situation. Your written submission of work from the exam must be presented in your own words, i.e. you should not try to translate the texts or copy sentences or expressions directly.