Pre-U German

German is an extremely popular global language and there are many reasons why you might choose  to study  German in Sixth Form at MCS.

As Germany has the biggest economy in Europe, you might wish to boost your job opportunities with high-profile companies such as Siemens, BMW, or Bayer. Perhaps you aspire to work in Berlin, aka ‘the Silicon Valley of Europe’, a vibrant international city that is home to a large number of cutting-edge tech companies. You might wish to combine learning German with the study of Biology, Chemistry, or Physics, since German is the second most commonly used scientific language in the world and many research fellowships at prestigious German universities are available to scientists from abroad. Possibly you have an interest in music, theology, history, or philosophy, and wish to engage directly with the works of Mozart, Bach, Luther, Barth, Kafka, Mann, Kant, or Nietzsche.

Whatever your motivation, you will find learning German at MCS to be an intellectually exciting and personally rewarding experience.

The Cambridge Pre-U German syllabus offers a fresh and rewarding approach to learning this modern foreign language. It offers pupils engaging courses that will allow them to develop their confidence and acquisition of a language, and prepare them well for university. The emphasis in the Pre-U is on authentic language and culture – from the news media, radio, television, the internet, film, and literature.


The Cambridge Pre-U Modern Foreign Language syllabus for German aims to:

  • Develop pupils’ ability to understand the target language in a variety of registers
  • Enable pupils to communicate confidently and clearly in the target language
  • Form a sound base of skills, language, and attitudes required for further study, work and leisure
  • Develop insights into the culture and civilisation of countries where the target language is spoken
  • Encourage positive attitudes to language learning and a sympathetic approach to other cultures
  • Further intellectual and personal development by promoting learning and social skills


Examination arrangements and course content

The course is assessed in four exams, each equally weighted towards the final grade.

  • Speaking: Externally assessed speaking test conducted by a visiting examiner, approximately 16 minutes.
    • Pupils are expected to understand and respond to texts written in the target language, drawn from a variety of sources such as magazines, newspapers, reports, books, and other forms of extended written and spoken material.
  • Reading and Listening: A series of reading and listening exercises, 2 hours 15 minutes.
    • Pupils are expected to manipulate the target language accurately in spoken and written forms to demonstrate an ability to choose appropriate examples of vocabulary and structure.
  • Writing and Usage: Discursive essay in the target language and three grammar usage exercises, 2 hours 15 minutes.
    • Topics covered in preparation for the discursive essay include: human relationships, the generation gap, the media, law and order, equality of opportunity, travel and tourism, war and peace, scientific and technological innovation, conservation. Pupils are expected to select and present information, and to organise their arguments and ideas logically.
  • Topics and Texts: Two extended answers, one in the target language based on a theme and one English commentary or essay on a variety of texts and films, 2 hours 30 minutes.

Topics in German include the films of Werner Herzog, Germany after 1989, and the Berlin Wall. Texts include Heinrich von Kleist’s Die Marquise von O., Bertolt Brecht’s Der Kaukasische Kreidekreis, and Bernhard Schlink’s Das Wochenende.

Pupils are expected to research and discuss aspects of the history, current affairs or cultures of German-speaking countries. The oral exam will be practised for in individual weekly lessons with the dedicated GermanLanguage Assistants.

In preparation for Sixth Form we suggest that you visit the websites below on a regular basis, watch two or three of the films, and read one of the suggested texts.

Suggested Preparation 
Websites Deutsch lernen mit Jojo A fairly easy soap-opera story which has lots of very short episodes. Good for keeping up listening skills.
Die Pfefferkorner A children’s television broadcast but covers interesting topics – will help strengthen listening skills.
Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten Daily news bulletins read clearly and slowly in German, with transcripts.
Spiegel Current affairs.
Films Good bye, Lenin!  In 1990, to protect his fragile mother from a fatal shock after a long coma, a young man must keep her from learning that East Germany as she knew and loved it has disappeared.
Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei A German-Austrian crime drama following three young anti-capitalist activists who call themselves ‘the Edukators’, invade upper-class houses, rearrange the furniture, and serve notice to ‘fatcats’ that their days are numbered.
Almanya – Willkommen in Deutschland An analysis of the integration of Turkish culture in Germany follows the story of a family headed by patriarch Hussein, who emigrated to Germany in the ’60s.
Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage In 1943, student activist Sophie Scholl and fellow members of the White Rose resistance group work tirelessly to distribute anti-war and anti-Nazi propapanda in Munich. During one such mission, the Gestapo take her and her brother into custody; six days later, Sophie meets her fate.
Der Untergang In 1942, young Traudl Junge lands her dream job – secretary to Adolf Hitler at the peak of his power. Three years later, Hitler’s empire is now his underground bunker. The real-life Traudl narrates Hitler’s final days as he rages against imagined betrayers and barks orders to phantom armies, while his mistress Eva Braun clucks over his emotional distance and other infamous Nazis prepare for the end.
Book MacGregor, Neil Germany: Memories of a Nation


Further Inspiration 
Clark, Christopher Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947
Kolinsky, Eva (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Modern German Culture A collection of essays
Boyle, Nicholas German Literature: A Very Short Introduction