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Statnice (was Certifications - accreditations)

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  • JPKIRCHNER@aol.com
    ... I have heard many stories from people who took various state language exams in the CR, and I was wondering if anybody on the list believes them. One of my
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 6, 2003
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      In a message dated 3/6/03 9:53:57 AM, tonylong@... writes:

      >The general English
      >language exam is a cruel joke, for reasons that need not concern us here.
      >Suffice to say that only the very best grade - 1, 'excellent' - in any way
      >guarantees that the holder may be able to answer a telephone and write
      >a simple message in correct English:

      I have heard many stories from people who took various state language exams
      in the CR, and I was wondering if anybody on the list believes them.

      One of my friends was ordered to take his state general proficiency exam in
      English in another town than Prague, because it was claimed that the Prague
      facility had a strange way of not passing people who did not train for it at
      their school. All the language students at the private English school where
      my friend went in Prague were sent out of town for their statnice.

      You hear stories like that all the time in the CR, and I generally think that
      only a minority of them are true. However, my experience with the Czech
      statnice was a little bizarre too. When I went to inquire about it around
      1992, the fact that I did not live in Prague became an issue. I was told
      that I had to attend the preparatory course in Prague whenever I could, and
      pay Mrs. So-&-So (a very sweet, caring instructor) under the table in
      exchange for my presence there. (She would never have demanded this of me
      herself, so her boss told me the plan.) So, I went to classes when I could,
      and passed my basic exam. When I wrote and called the school afterward to
      find out if there was a reading list or other requirement for the general
      exam, I couldn't get any answers for months until September, when I was told
      (a) I could read any literature I wanted, and later (b) not to bother reading
      it, because everyone thought I'd already read it (I read the books anyway).
      The general written exam came, and I supposedly got an unusually high score
      on it. Come time for the oral exam, I found that all the students who lived
      in Prague had been given a list of possible topics to prepare for, and I had
      not been briefed. It didn't seem like simply a matter of my having been
      absent when the topics were handed out. The instructors had had many
      opportunities to give me the list, but they just hadn't and hadn't even told
      me there was one. I did pass, but with a lower mark than I could have gotten
      had I known what to prepare for. I was told they hadn't bothered to keep me
      informed of the topics (along with some other things) because they knew I
      taught 45 hours a week in Marianske Lazne. I felt I'd been mildly sabotaged
      and that it was made to look like a favor. Czech friends experienced with
      statnice insisted it was political and revolved around the fact that, not
      living in Prague, I was not a "real" student at the school where I took the
      exam.

      One of the funniest things about the exam was that I drew the topic of fine
      arts, which seemed right up my alley, having graduated from a rather
      difficult art school back home. What I found was that from art school I knew
      the stylistic periods of some of the most famous Czech artists over their
      lifetimes, but the examiners didn't believe me. I mentioned that Kupka had
      worked in the Secession style in his early years, but they thought I was
      crazy, even though there was an exhibition of his Secession-style drawings
      not a mile away from where I was taking the exam.

      I was also asked off the cuff to identify Czech folk costumes by region, and
      I was expected to know the location of one or two minor statues in Prague.

      I don't know what to think. What do you all believe about how the state
      exams are conducted?

      Jamie
    • Matej Klimes
      ... Well, I always thought they wre complete and utter crap myself... at least from the what you learn perspective - they may be a bit polished up, but the
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 7, 2003
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        > I don't know what to think. What do you all believe about how the state
        > exams are conducted?

        Well, I always thought they wre complete and utter crap myself... at least
        from the "what you learn" perspective - they may
        be a bit polished up, but the idea remains the same - drill and not natural
        language skills. BTW, how much do they charge? I was alittle surprised (then
        again not that much) when I found the CERAPT - the exam JTP's putting out
        and wants everyone to believe is very important gets them no less than CZK
        5k from everyone who applies (one more reason to chuck them out :).

        AND! I didn't confirm this, but from the aplication form I suspect you're
        supposed to translate the text they gove you hand-writting (!) I don't think
        they have enough compos in there for everyone and mpt everyone has a laptop,
        so it would not be democratic to ask people to bring one... Apart from the
        fact that I usually can't read my own handwriting, I don't think I'd be able
        to translate anything on a piece of paper - you can't shuffle things around
        the way you do on a screen... :)


        Let's pray to whoever we can that they don't succeed in lobbying for these
        things to become mandatory..

        Matej
      • JPKIRCHNER@aol.com
        ... I don t know if this is true of the JTP exam, but it definitely IS true of the exam given by the American Translators Association. You are allowed to
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 7, 2003
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          In a message dated 3/7/03 4:19:14 AM, mklimes@... writes:

          >AND! I didn't confirm this, but from the aplication form I suspect you're
          >supposed to translate the text they gove you hand-writting (!)

          I don't know if this is true of the JTP exam, but it definitely IS true of
          the exam given by the American Translators Association. You are allowed to
          bring no electronic devices whatsoever, not even a pocket electronic
          dictionary or a C Pen.

          Jamie
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