In order to graduate from Bar-Ilan University, students are required to achieve a fluency in Hebrew comprehension. The requirements differ for Israeli students and Olim Chadashim.
Israeli Students – Academic Writing
Israeli students are required complete a course in Hebrew Comprehension – Academic Writing by the end of their second year, and will not be able to sign up for second year classes if they have not registered for the class. Graduation from Bar-Ilan is dependent on passing this course.
The Hebrew Comprehension – Academic Writing course meets for four academic hours per week for the duration of a semester.
In the following circumstances, students are exempt from taking Bar-Ilan’s Hebrew Comprehension – Academic Writing course:
- Students with a 76 or above on their Hebrew Comprehension Bagrut (2 Yechidot – Israeli school, 5 Yechidot – Arabic or Druze school).
- Students with a 60 or above in a Hebrew Comprehension or Scientific Writing course from a different Israeli university, worth 4 academic credits.
- Students with a 66 or above in a Hebrew Comprehension course from one of Bar-Ilan University\’s Pre-academic Mechina programs.
- Students with a 76 or above in a Hebrew Comprehension course from a different Israeli university\’s Pre-academic Mechina program.
- Students who graduated from an Arabic-language high school and received a 132 or above on the Yae”l Exam.
- Students who receive a 66 or above on the Hebrew Comprehension Exemption Exam.
Hebrew Comprehension Exemption Exam
Before starting your first year, you may take an exam to exempt you from your Hebrew Comprehension requirements. The exam is comprised of two sections: Language and Grammar, and an Essay.
To pass the exam, you must get at least 66%. You may only take the exam once.
There are usually four exams per year, and registration is handled by the Academic Comprehension and Ulpan Unit, one month before the exam date. The department also puts out an information packet which includes study topics.
As of March 2016, the cost for the Hebrew Comprehension Exemption Exam is 120 NIS.
Ulpan – Hebrew as a Second Language
Foreign students and Olim Chadashim are required to take Ulpan – Hebrew as a Second Language, instead of Academic Writing. Bar-Ilan University requires students to finish up to six levels of Hebrew Fluency, based on a placement test. The placement test can only be taken once ever three years.
Each ulpan level is a semester-long, the weekly hours determined by your level. Officially, students are required to be on a Ramah Gimmel (Level 3) fluency level to take classes in BIU, and as such they must take the placement test their first semester. However, as the university rarely enforces this rule, we recommend those with moderate to strong Hebrew skills to wait until their second year to take the test, so as to score higher and be required to take fewer levels of Ulpan.
Ulpan Placement Test
The Ulpan placement test is offered by the Academic Comprehension and Ulpan office. As of 23 May 2014, the cost of the exam is 120 NIS.
Placement into Ulpan levels is determined by the following scores on the test:
- Ramah Aleph: 0-20.
- Ramah Bet: 21-50.
- Ramah Gimmel: 51-60.
- Ramah Daled: 61-70.
- Ramah Heh: 71-80.
- Ramah Vav: 80 and above.
Students cannot be given an exemption from Ulpan via scores on the Ulpan placement test (even if they get a perfect score!), and instead must take the Ulpan exemption exam.
If they so wish, foreign students who have taken Yae”l Exam may use those results to be placed into the correct ulpan level. The assignments are as follows:
- Ramah Aleph: 0-20.
- Ramah Bet: 21-50.
- Ramah Gimmel: 51-58.
- Ramah Daled: 59-83.
- Ramah Heh: 84-106
- Ramah Vav: 107-131.
Foreign students who receive 132 or above on the Yae”l Exam, are exempt from taking Ulpan – Hebrew as a Second Language.
Ulpan Exemption Exam
Students who score a 90 or above on the placement exam, may take the Ulpan Exemption Exam. The exam is offered by the Academic Comprehension and Ulpan Office approximately four times per year. As of March 2016, the cost for the Ulpan Exemption Exam is 120 NIS.
In order to get a exemption from Ulpan – Hebrew as a Second Language, students must score an 86 or above on the exemption exam. The exam may only be taken once.
The Academic Comprehension and Ulpan Office has a list of exam topics and practice test on their website.
Moving Ulpan Levels
In order to pass a level of Ulpan and move to the next Ramah, you must score a final grade of 66 or above. This grade is not counted toward your final GPA.
In the event that your Ulpan level is to easy and you wish to change levels mid-semester, talk to your Ulpan Teacher and the Academic Comprehension and Ulpan Office. If you have displayed mastery in the class until that point, they will allow you to take that level\’s final exam early, and move to the next Ramah upon passing.