How did you prepare notes for sociology

Tips for studying

Oral exams

Information on oral exams with Prof. Hirschauer

The oral exam will have two parts. In both parts it is not about knowledge that has been read, but rather about "skills" in the oral presentation of a sociological topic.

In the first part you should "get to the heart of the matter" in exactly 10 minutes (yes, use your watch!). How is the topic tailored, what problem does the author pose, what sociological concern is he pursuing, what terminology is used, what empirical cases does he have in mind? If there are two texts, talk about each of them for 3 minutes and use the remaining 4 minutes for a comparative discussion.

In this part you should show that you have understood the basics of sociological argumentation, can distinguish between the important and the less important, and can verbally present a text as precisely as it is well structured. You can and should prepare in every detail: Read the text several times, annotate and excerpt it, structure your presentation, make bullet points (but no elaborated script), practice your presentation. (I won't interrupt you). In this first part of the exam, I am not interested in whether you can "rattle off" a text in all its details, but whether you can show in your own words that you have understood what is really important. So take the text as a whole "in your hand", weigh it, classify it and apply it to a good example.

In the second part of the exam you should speak more freely about the topic and the text (s). What convinced you and what didn't? What could be historically or culturally determined about the text and which current phenomena may call for new considerations? What would you want to talk about?

In this more dialogical part, you should show that you are able to have a sociological conversation, to react to further questions, to absorb a thought, to develop a consideration or to invent a good question that you cannot answer yourself. You can prepare for this section of the exam by thinking about the texts and your topic for a few days: reading the newspaper, making everyday observations, talking to fellow students or (if you want) reading other sociological studies on the topic. I am less interested in your stored knowledge than in your intellectual engagement.

In general, don't be afraid and don't drive yourself crazy. It's all about taking an exam seriously. Do not see it as a cliff to avoid, as an ordeal that you have to "get over" as quickly as possible. Instead, see it as an extremely limited opportunity for oral self-expression. It is your time, take advantage of it! Be active, bring your thoughts in, conduct the conversation as independently as possible, do not wait for "difficult questions", but show what this text and this topic have triggered in you. Good luck!

Notes on exam registration

  1. Registrations for exams are only accepted in the semester of the exam (or shortly before it). All
    Admission requirements must be met for this.
  2. All registrations go through the secretariat, with the exception of the Magister degree.
  3. When you register, you will be given an appointment for a preliminary discussion. At this time, your exam date will be set and the examination material will be announced. It changes from semester to semester.
  4. You should definitely register for the oral exam no later than 3 - 4 weeks before the examination date, for intermediate Magister examinations in Prof. Prigge's secretariat and for preliminary diploma examinations in Prof. Hradil's secretariat.
  5. For information on the course of oral exams, read the "Notes on oral exams" (see above). There you will find a representation for the 20-minute intermediate exams. In principle, longer tests are carried out in the same way.


What does an exam examine?

The examination procedure of the exam assumes that people function like knowledge stores,
from which in a limited time with a surprisingly posed (previously unknown)
Have the question retrieve information that provides information about your intellectual capabilities.
This assumption is not very plausible: the knowledge to be tested is usually much too extensive,
in order to be â € œcan be queriedâ € with a question in four hours. A surprising question would be quite
Get random "hits" with some test subjects, but ignore the knowledge of others. And
a measurement of intellectual abilities based on mere memory functions would only be one
Award secondary virtues of academic skills.
The first two weaknesses of the exam procedure are conventionally countered by one
Limiting the material (e.g. by binding it to seminars or reading lists) and by
preparatory notes on the thrust of the exam question (i.e. the writing stimulus in the
Exam situation). This does not make passing the exam 'easier', but it does modify it,
what a written exam should be: Teachers can better compare what has been written
Students will prepare for the exam more easily.
The third weakness raises the question of what a retreat beyond mere memory does
can otherwise demonstrate for qualifications. Essentially, they are:
- the understanding of arguments (including their condensation to the "essentials"),
- their connection across authors and texts,
- a good structure and linguistic design of the presentation,
- and an original discussion that encourages intellectual commitment (own questions, objections,
Positioning) and mental spontaneity.
A bad exam (e.g.) shows a lot of reception errors when reading, overlooks close
lying parallels between arguments and authors, has no argument of its own
and slavishly sticks to the 'right' way of expressing someone else's thoughts in words that are not
are their own.
Every exam, even the best, will have weaknesses of one kind or another. The question is,
how best to prevent them. Therefore the following recommendations:
1. Appropriate the texts as carefully as you learned it in your studies, i.e. with
Annotations, excerpts and paraphrases. Ideally, then, think of them as
â € I understandâ € ™ when you have translated your central theses into your own words. This always will
only partially succeed.
2. Draw up a plan of topics and arguments that will allow you to include as many as possible
Link texts together. Make him a guide by keywords that you use
memorize. Focus your memory on this only
Argumentation framework (you can do it for yourself right at the beginning of the exam
do not waste your intelligence on keeping complete texts
and individual formulations.
3. You can cope with the reception phase together with others in reading groups in which
They acquire the material together. During the planning phase, you should stand out from each other
solve and adjust "private" to the exam situation. Because here you prepare what you
at the end of the day, the examination procedure will be counted as an 'individual performance'. Identical plans
(or even identical exams) only expose you to suspicion, the enduring sense of
Avoiding exams: identifying distinguishable qualification levels.


The seminar - an instruction manual

Text work

What is an excerpt?

An excerpt is essentially the summary of a text. Particularly short versions of excerpts are the so-called 'abstracts', with which specialist journals provide their readers with concise information about the content of the articles published in them. You can also find these abstracts in the literature databases, which help you to find publications on a specific topic. When studying, excerpts have a slightly different form and two different functions. You should make texts available for the seminar (1) and for your further studies (2).
(1) First of all, they form a hinge between your lonely and quiet reading of a text and its oral discussion in the seminar. You cannot keep a text of approx. 20 pages completely mentally present, you need a short version in front of your eyes in the seminar. In addition, you already know from the handout on the use of seminars that academic reading is always connected with writing: An excerpt records your reading experiences and gives the underlined and highlighted in color, the scribbled marginal notes and perplexed question marks a clear form. To improve the transition between reading and discussion, your excerpt has two parts: The first is a summary of the essentials as in the abstracts - the text viewed from the inside, the second is a discussion part - the text viewed from the outside: record what You didn't understand where to ask. And develop a good question or statement about the text that identifies points worth discussing. You can also insert this second part in italics in the first: as interspersed sentences in which you record your own thoughts.
(2) The second function of excerpts is to archive your reading performance for your further studies. If you want to quote a text in a term paper for another seminar or even in a few years for your thesis, you will usually not want to read it all over again from beginning to end. Your collected excerpts form an archive that informs you quickly about larger amounts of text. For this purpose, it is recommended that you revise your excerpt again after the seminar discussion: You correct errors and abbreviations, you record answers to your questions and also the most important results of the seminar discussion. You can use this second version of the excerpt to control the improvement in your understanding of the text. And with its archiving you not only collect any abstracts of any texts, you rather make selected key texts of your subject together with your own acquisition achievements and seminar memories permanently available.
An excerpt is about one page in the first version and two to three times as much in the second version, depending on the yield of the text read. A good excerpt shows you the text 'at a glance', so it captures it as a whole, brings its content 'to the point' and testifies to your intellectual analysis and reading accuracy. In addition, it has a clear structure - from the question to the argumentation to the summary - and it allows you to find your way back to the read text with the help of inserted page references.
Give a copy of the first version to your lecturer at the beginning of the exercise. Two of these excerpts are graded at the end of the semester. In addition, one of your second versions will be rated, which you can choose yourself. You mean, then you only need to write one because the others are not "checked"? Then you have not yet understood how studying works. Didn't have time for an excerpt? Was your PC broken? Has your dog had measles? No problem! Submit the second version next week, which also contains the results of the seminar discussion. In any case, you have only completed the part of the excerpt when you have recorded each exercise text in your own words. Are you missing your own words? Or did you not even have time to read the exercise text? No problem either! Just copy off from a fellow student or download a short version of the text from the Internet. Then you camouflage the plagiarism by adding a few bugs. Because remember: perfect texts are not authentic! You must then of course expect that both perfect plagiarism and incorrect texts will be assessed as such. Still no time to read? Should it really be this subject? - Then start writing!

What is an essay?

Essay literally means attempt. Experiments are provisional and experimental. You are looking for solutions within a well-thought-out test facility, but these solutions do not claim to be final. You are allowed to fail. The first is followed by a second attempt, and so on.
As a form of writing, an essay is a small literary genre - fragmentary, but argumentative and stylistically demanding: not as shallow and smooth as a feature article, but also not as harsh and dry as a technical essay. An essay does not represent an opinion and it does not assert eternal truths, it just makes a few reflections: thoughtful, thorough, stimulating. In doing so, he maintains a personal style. It is your own text. How do you know that? When you recognize yourself in him and feel at home.
Essay writing has several functions in the course of study: After the useful, but also strict and rather reproductive text genre of the excerpt, you should also learn a free form of writing that creates problems of its own: first this yawning white screen (or the sheet of paper) , then finding topics, gradually developing trains of thought and finally carefully revising a text several times, in short: establishing authorship. How do I formulate sentences that come from myself and sound somehow "scientific" so that at the end I write my name about them with a clear conscience? It's not that easy at all, even if your essay should only be 3 pages long (or especially then!). The following FAQ might help you:
No idea for an essay topic? Take a look between the lines of your excerpts. What was it that was bothering you and not really letting go? Can it help to try to synthesize the basic ideas of two or three exercise texts?
No stroke of genius? Develop a thought over time and not suddenly. Do not believe in muses. Make a habit of carrying writing materials with you. Do you only have novels on the bedside table? Insomnia Can Form!
Write inhibitions? Liquidate your intellectual problem: take a walk, talk about it - with yourself or with others. Or just write down a sentence. He will look at you and you can interact with him.
Don't know what an essay is made of? Every longer text has three elementary components: a topic that holds it together, a few introductory words and a final figure. You usually do not need footnotes with side thoughts (not with references!) On three pages.
Start problems with the introduction? Who says you have to start over? Try it from the center to the edges. Or first make a hodgepodge of things that you would like to accommodate. You are not writing a handwritten exam here, but you are working on text modules that you can constantly reorganize. Some will initially be rough drafts or mere ideas, others will be mature formulations.
Do you like to write "therefore", "therefore" and "it follows"? Then check the logic of the argument: does the second sentence or paragraph really follow from the first? Or is the logical connection missing here and a completely different combination of sentences would be correct?
No time to write? Forget it! Nobody shakes sophisticated texts up their sleeves. Especially when they are supposed to appear fluid, there are many revisions in them: exchanged words, rearranged sentences, smoothed out formulations, deleted repetitions. Is that actually a complete sentence in the 7th line? Is it written German or just spoken there like that? Are you serious about delivering the third version of your essay?
Can't find anything in your text that could be improved? This is what is called operational blindness! Find a critical reader or edit by ear, so read your text aloud to yourself. Does he convince her? Is the rhythm and melody right? Does he say what you meant to say?
Tired of rereading your own text at the end? Texts that you write for others are of course corrected several times. Do you actually only set your commas by feeling?
Are you satisfied now? Then draw a line and part with your text.