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2015 Notes from the Marking Centre – German Continuers


This document has been produced for the teachers and candidates of the Stage 6 German Continuers course. It contains comments on candidate responses to the 2015 Higher School Certificate examination, indicating the quality of the responses and highlighting their relative strengths and weaknesses.
This document should be read along with:

Oral examination

Characteristics of better responses:

  • communication  was fluent and authentic, with in-depth responses to a range of questions
  • engagement with the examiner was effective across a range of syllabus topics
  • relevant ideas and information were presented, demonstrating an excellent knowledge of vocabulary with a range of grammatical structures
  • authentic pronunciation and intonation was used.

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • communication  was at a basic level,  with simple structures and vocabulary used
  • responses to a limited range of syllabus topics were minimal
  • ability to manipulate language was limited, often with frequent pauses and errors
  • a reliance on English syntax and anglicisms was evident.

Written examination

Section I – Listening and Responding

Characteristics of better responses:

  • all the relevant details from the texts were provided
  • information was correctly interpreted
  • succinct and well-developed answers were provided, showing a perceptive understanding of the texts.

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • only generalisations were used to answer the more interpretive questions
  • vocabulary was mistranslated; for example, Ausflug , Flug, Reisepass, Dienstag, Schulsprecherin
  • the entire text was merely recounted
  • German words were used in inverted commas, without giving the English translations
  • answers or parts of the answer were written in German rather than in English.

Section II – Reading and Responding Part A

Question 9
Characteristics of a better response:

  • the quotations were clearly referred to and the answer was linked to these quotations (Q9a,c)
  • quotations were translated into English or clearly explained
  • reference was made to Oliver’s scepticism about an app being free  (Q9c)
  • a clear connection to Nina’s remark was made and details were given explaining that although they both had success, Quentin had less success (Q9d).

 Characteristics of a weaker response:

  • detail was lacking
  • Freude, monatelang, Erfolg, erwecken were misunderstood.

Question 10
Characteristics of a better response:

  • all details about the studies were provided, showing a full understanding (Q10c)
  • language techniques were identified, including evidence and effect
  • as required, only the advertisement from the text of  Question 9 was compared to the text of Question 10,  (Q10d)
  • similarities and differences were used when comparing texts.

Characteristics of a weaker response:

  • the whole text of Question 9 was compared, not just the advertisement.
  • the same information was repeated in different questions
  • vague statements were given, rather than commenting on language and content
  • im Freien, Erfolg, Hasketten, tragbar, specihern, Serie were misunderstood.

Section II – Reading and Responding Part B

Characteristics of better responses:

  • the focus areas of the stimulus text were addressed, for example, Ursula’s sense of loss in relation to their band and whether her place in the band had been filled; Ursula’s dream/life plans which were linked to music; Ursula feeling unsupported by her parents when making her own decisions, that is, returning to the city and her future study; Ursula asking for advice on how to deal with parental expectations of taking over the family business.
  • the appropriate text type was used
  • the text was appropriate to the context, purpose and audience
  • a good understanding of the whole passage was evident  through elaboration, creativity and  depth in relation to each focus area
  • ‘relevance’ was sustained throughout, reflecting the ‘tone’ of the stimulus text
  • elaboration and justification were provided
  • text length satisfied the requirements of the task – approximately 200 words
  • language showed some degree of authenticity in the sense that it reflected an understanding of linguistic structures and grammatical functions.

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • irrelevance was evident, or indeed quite obvious, where pre-learnt material was added to satisfy the length requirement
  • only some of the focus areas were addressed
  • each focus area was simply ‘ticked off’, without elaboration/exploration of the idea
  • depth, creativity, elaboration or engagement in relation to the focus areas were lacking
  • aspects of focus areas were misunderstood
  • language was weak and grammar was problematic
  • word order, reflexives, genders of nouns, past tense were problematic 
  • spelling was poor
  • verb endings were incorrect
  • ideas were underdeveloped, leading to very short responses which could not satisfy the requirements of the task
  • use of the dictionary was poor
  • anglicisms were used.

Section III – Writing in German

Question 12
Characteristics of better responses:

  • the text was appropriate  to purpose, context and audience
  • the correct text type was used
  • a description of the excitement about meeting the idol was provided
  • the idol was described beyond superficial aspects to include additional interests and how these match  the writer’s own ideas and interests.

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • focus was only on the excitement and names
  • irrelevant aspects/ideas were included
  • lack of control of vocabulary and language structures was evident, for example,  sich freuen auf, aufgeregt, aufregend
  • a reliance on a dictionary was evident, resulting in poor wording and incorrect meaning.

Question 13
Characteristics of better responses:

  • reflection, as the task required, was demonstrated
  • both parts of the question were addressed, that is, what the situation is and what plans will be taken to address the situation.
  • a clear awareness of audience (parent) and text type (email) was evident
  • all relevant aspects of the question were covered
  • a good command of a variety of structures and idioms was demonstrated
  • a well-sequenced and coherent response that included a variety of reasons was provided (eg,  Sprachprobleme, Heimweh, Problem mit der Gastfamilie, Krankheiten etc.) and included plans to change the situation and make the best of the exchange experience in Australia
  • the response was structured using paragraphs, which helped to sequence ideas more effectively.

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • a descriptive/narrative text type was used instead of a reflection
  • focus was on a narrow aspect of the question; for example, the weather or the unfriendly host brother/sister and complaining about the situation instead of reflecting on a possible resolution
  • irrelevant rote-learnt material was included
  • over-reliance on a dictionary was evident, resulting in unintelligible  sentences.


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