Faculty of Oriental Studies Setting conventions for the Final Honour School in Oriental Studies 2016-17 arabic and islamic studies/arabic with a subsidiary language



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Faculty of Oriental Studies

Setting conventions for the Final Honour School in Oriental Studies 2016-17
ARABIC AND ISLAMIC STUDIES/ARABIC WITH A SUBSIDIARY LANGUAGE

The formal procedures determining the conduct of examinations are established and enforced by the University Proctors. These conventions are a guide to the examiners and candidates but the regulations set out in the Examination Regulations have precedence. The examiners are nominated by the Nominating Committee in the Department and those nominations are submitted for approval by the Vice-Chancellor and the Proctors.



  1. Numbering of papers follows that in the Examination Regulations 2016. The Examination Schools website (http://www.ox.ac.uk/students/academic/exams) gives information on the provisional start date of the examination. The date, time and location of individual papers will be published not less than 5 weeks before the start of the first examination. For the order of papers in the examination itself, please refer to the Examination timetable. Academic dress must be worn for all parts of the examination including the viva if applicable.

  2. In order to maintain the anonymity of the examination, candidates are instructed to write their candidate number, not their names or Bodleian card number, on their scripts and submitted works. Candidate numbers can be obtained from the Student Self-Service.

  3. All submitted works should be typed or word- processed in double spacing and should

conform to the standards of academic presentation prescribed in the "Guidelines for writers of Theses".

  1. All submitted works (dissertations, take-home essays etc.) have to be securely held together (no paper clips) with a cover sheet stating the degree, paper title, term and year of submission, your candidate number and word count. Dissertations have to be securely bound. Two copies of the works have to be submitted to the Examination Schools unless otherwise stated. A declaration form should be included in a sealed envelope and included with the two copies of the submitted works in a larger envelope. The larger envelope should have your candidate number at the front and addressed to Chair of Examiners, (name of degree), Examination Schools, High Street. The Chairman of Examinations in Oriental Studies would like to advise candidates to obtain a signed receipt from the Clerk of Exam Schools for their submitted work (e.g. if you are submitting dissertations or take-home essays). Remember to write your candidate number and not your name on all submitted work.

  2. As well as two hard copies of the dissertation, which it is compulsory for candidates to submit, we also request candidates to submit if possible a copy of their dissertation on a CD or flash drive (memory stick) in PDF format.

  3. When submission of written work is required, the penalty posed in case of late submission without the prior permission of the Proctors will range from outright failure of the submitted work (i.e. where it is considered that the extra time has given unfair advantage to the candidate and thus may be equated with cheating) to a percentage reduction in the mark awarded, as deemed appropriate by the examiners. Please refer to the Guidelines for Setting and Marking.

  4. Candidates should note that if they have any complaints or queries concerning the

examination process, including results, these should be directed in the first instance to their colleges and not to the examiners or any member of the teaching staff.

  1. Candidates may be examined by viva voce (oral examination) and so candidates should be prepared to travel to Oxford up until the final examiners’ meeting (no later than 7th July 2017).

In deciding to conduct a Viva, examiners and assessors should bear in mind that:

  • The reason for holding a Viva must be clear and is when examiners are otherwise unable to determine the class of the submitted papers.

  • A Viva must not be used as a means of assessing suspicions about possible plagiarism.

  • A candidate must be given 2-3 days notice of the Viva.

  • The Viva must be scheduled to take place before the final examiners’ meeting.

  • A candidate who attends for a Viva can only improve on a class mark as a result of the Viva.

The following papers will be set:

  1. Arabic unprepared translation into English and comprehension

There will be four questions, with no choice, involving unseen passages. The first will be a passage of modern literary Arabic for translation into English. The second will be a passage of pre-modern literary Arabic for translation into English. The third will be a passage of modern Arabic of approximately 350 words, which candidates will be asked to précis to one third the original length in English. The fourth will be a passage of modern Arabic of approximately 350 words, on which candidates will be asked comprehension questions in English. Dictionaries are not allowed in this examination. Each of the four questions will count for 25% of the final mark

  1. Composition in Arabic

Candidates will be required to answer two questions. For the first, candidates will be given a choice of two passages in English, one of which must be translated into Arabic. For the second, candidates will be given a choice of three topics, on one of which they must write an essay in Arabic of approximately 400 words. Dictionaries are not allowed in this examination. Each of the two questions will count for 50% of the final mark

  1. Spoken Arabic

The oral examination will consist of three parts.

The first part will be a listening comprehension test, in which candidates will be required to listen to three pieces of Modern Standard Arabic that will each be read or played to them twice. Candidates will be required to demonstrate their understanding of the passage by answering questions on these or providing a summary of their content, in either case in English.

For the second part, an unseen short piece of unvowelled modern Arabic prose will be handed to the candidates. They will be given two minutes to read this to themselves and prepare, after which they will be asked to read it aloud to the examiners with correct vowelling.

The third part will consist of a conversation in Arabic with the examiners of approximately 15 minutes’ duration on a topic chosen by the candidate from a choice of three, which will be available in the Oriental Institute 24 hours before the examination. The conversation may be conducted in Modern Standard Arabic or in an educated form of dialectal Arabic, as the candidate chooses.

The first part will count for 40% of the final mark, the second part for 10%, and the third part for 50%.


  1. Arabic Literature

This paper consists of two sections of equal weight: classical Arabic and modern Arabic. For the classical section, there will be two parts. In Part I, candidates must choose ONE of three passages, and analyse it as a piece of imaginative and craftsmanly writing, providing whatever contextual information they think useful. In Part II, candidates must answer one essay question from a choice of questions. The questions will call for discussion of set texts in the form either of close readings or of broader analysis. Part I will count for 20% of the final mark and Part II will count for 30%.

For the modern section, four passages from the set texts will be offered. One of these must be chosen for critical commentary and analysis. The second section will offer a choice of three essay questions, one of which must be addressed. The critical commentary and analysis will count for 20% and the essay for 30%.

There may be essay questions spanning both the classical and the modern period.



For the modern section, as a general rule most exercises in commentary should begin with a brief

statement setting the passage in the overall context of the work from which it is chosen in the case of a
Guidelines for annotation and commentary:

novel, novella, or short story. In the case of a poem, this should consist of indications of the school or movement to which the poem belongs and when it was written. Please note that this contextual introduction should be brief and should not lead to a detailed account of plot or storyline.

After the brief introduction, the remainder of the commentary should concentrate on language, imagery and style. It is often appropriate to demonstrate how a piece shows the characteristics of the time when it was written in terms of style: is it an example of romantic writing or graphic mimetic realism or magical realism? How are the characters represented? Does it blend elements of popular and high culture in its language and narrative style, and so forth? There is often much that can be said about a passage of poetry in terms of prosody and the style of the period to which it belongs.

Some reference may be made to social or political circumstances if they are relevant to the passage, but this must not be at the expense of the literary analysis. Use the passage provided for brief quotations to back up your points. At all costs, avoid paraphrasing the passage: this is the most common error made in this type of exercise.

Lists of set texts or prescribed texts are published in the FHS Handbook.



  1. Islamic History, 570-1500

This paper will consist of two sections, one covering the period up to ca. 1000 C.E., the other covering the period after it. Candidates are required to answer three questions, of which at least one must be from each section. There will be ten questions altogether, covering various aspects of political, military, religious, and intellectual history and institutions. Each question will count for one third of the final mark.

  1. Islamic Religion

This paper will consist of two sections. The first section will offer a number of short passages for translation and appropriate annotation. Annotation is especially expected where literal translation would be misleading or where some context is vital to understanding the passage. These passages will either be drawn from the set texts, or resemble them in style, terminology, and subject matter. Candidates may be required to provide vocalisation for some of these passages. The average mark achieved in the translation section will count for one third of the total mark. The second section will offer a choice of six or more essay questions. Candidates are expected to address two of the essay questions. Each essay will count for one third of the total mark.

7.iv Further subject: Early Islamic Historiography

The examination will comprise one passage from the set texts and six essay questions. Candidates will be asked to translate and comment on the passage from the set texts and to answer two out of the six essay questions. The translation with commentary together and each essay answer will be worth one-third of the final mark.



7.xvi Further subject: Society and Culture of the Middle East

Candidates must answer three questions from a paper of at least seven essay questions. Each essay represents one third of the total available marks. It is thus extremely important for candidates to complete three full essays to do well in these papers.



7.xiii Further subject: The Middle East in the Age of Empire 1830-1971

The paper is examined by one three-hour paper divided into two sections, section A and section B. Candidates should COMPLETE THREE answers. They should illustrate their answers, as far as possible, by reference to the prescribed authorities, and must complete at least ONE answer from each of Section A and Section B.



8 and 9. Special Subjects

ALL SPECIAL SUBJECTS WILL BE EXAMINED IN TWO PAPERS AS FOLLOWS: one extended essay written as a take-home exam; and one three-hour timed paper. The extended essay must adhere to the following guide-lines:

The extended essay shall not exceed 6,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography) and shall be on a topic or theme selected by the candidate from a question paper published by the examiners on the Friday of the fourth week of Michaelmas Term in the year of examination. Essays should be typed or word-processed in double spacing and should conform to the standards of academic presentation prescribed in the course handbook.

The extended essay shall normally be written during the Michaelmas Term in the year of examination and must be delivered by hand to the Examination Schools (addressed to the Chairman of Examiners, Honour School of Modern History, Examination Schools, Oxford) not later than noon on the Friday before the beginning of Hilary Full Term of the year of examination. Candidates delivering essays shall be required to complete a receipt form, which will be accepted as proof of receipt only if it is countersigned by a member of the Examination Schools staff. Essays (two copies) must be placed in a sealed envelope (bearing only the candidate's examination number) together with a formal declaration signed by the candidate that the essay is his or her own work. The University's regulations on Late Submission of Work will apply.

Special subjects:



Theology and Philosophy in the Islamic World

This paper will consist of two sections. The first will offer passages from the set texts for translation and appropriate annotation. The second section will offer a choice of six or more essay questions. Unseen passages from other philosophical writings may be given in conjunction with essay questions, but will be accompanied by English translations. Candidates are expected to address two of the essay questions. The translation section will count for one third of the final marks, the essay section for two third.



Topics in the January 25th Revolution

Candidates must answer three questions from a paper of at least seven essay questions. Each essay represents one third of the total available marks. It is thus extremely important for candidates to complete three full essays to do well in these papers.



Islamic Art, Architecture, Numismatics or Archaeology

The three-hour timed exam will consist of nine questions, three of which must be answered.





























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