Bilkent University English Language Preparatory Program
Is Bilkent University PREP School really hard? I’m not good at English, should I come to Bilkent? How can I pass PAE (Proficiency in Academic English)?
Welcome! In this blog post, I’m gonna share my experiences as a student who studied for one semester at Bilkent PREP School (Upper and Prefac courses). I will try to answer some questions according to my own experiences and experiences I have observed from my friends.
First of all, Bilkent PREP School consists of 5 courses:
- Upper-Intermediate (or Upper)
- Pre-Faculty (or Prefac)
- CAT: Midterm exams.
- ECA: Course completion exams.
- PAE: Final exam.
The questions I answered in order:
- Is Bilkent University PREP School really hard?
- Can someone who does not know English pass all the courses?
- What is Upper Forever, Prefac Never? How to break this?
- What did I learn in this semester?
1- Is Bilkent University PREP School really hard?
In short: Yes. But why?
Each course, which takes an average of 2 months*, comes with the workload you have to do. *(You can study Prefac for one semester.) Almost everyday, you are given homework that you have to do, for sure this is not a bad thing. They are exercises that increase your familiarity with the language by allowing you to repeat it daily. However, homework, presentations, tasks, speaking exercises sometimes overlap and this can be tiring. Most of them are scored by instructors and your score is added to your LP (Learning Portfolio) score, as well. LP scores are also added to your exam scores by non-negligible percentage, so whether you pass the course is determined. (It’s a bit complicated, right?)
I highly recommend you to do these assignments. Therefore, your score gets high and also your language skill can be enhanced, and it affects your confidence, too.
2- Can someone who does not know English pass all the courses?
Yes, of course. I know that the chance of doing this statically low, but why not? You can find out whether you can complete it in a year, the course durations, etc. from the link above. I think it is a great opportunity for someone who really wants to learn English. No matter what level you are. At the end of the day, you will study a bachelor’s degree which is lectured just in English. What you learn, the difficulties you overcome in prep school are actually a fragment of what you will experience when you go to your own faculty.
To be a little realistic, as I mentioned in question 1, Bilkent’s preparation is a process really requires studying. I don’t think there is anyone who has passed Bilkent exams without studying, neither in preparation nor in faculty.
3- What is Upper Forever, Prefac Never? How to break this?
Students who couldn’t pass the upper course over and over again made this slogan to show how difficult to be an upper student.
But don’t worry!
As I said at the beginning, I also started with the upper course. I heard upper forever before I came to the school so I was afraid I will not be able to skip this course because it is the hardest one (:D).
When I first exited PAE exam saloon, I was very surprised at the desired level in vocabulary and I knew that it was the reason I couldn’t pass the exam. (Vocabulary section is in PAE 2nd stage 1st part. If you fail that exam, you cannot take the 2nd part and you start directly from the upper course.)
Just memorizing words is not enough. You need to learn which word is used where, because the choices are usually very close to each other. (PAE sample questions: https://busel-moodle.bilkent.edu.tr/pae/) When I realized this is what I was missing, I started to study vocabulary more than other language skills. When I talked to people starting at the upper level after PAE, almost all of them said they had difficulties in vocabulary like me. And then, everyone in my upper class passed the course, too.
Briefly: Many students must have repeated the course again and again so the slogan “Upper forever prefac never” spread out. I think the reason is upper students usually have a certain level of English. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, at such a point, you need to either increase your vocabulary a little more or complete your missing grammar in order to pass the course. The important thing here is to realize where you are missing and focus on it. It’s actually that simple.
4- What did I learn in this semester?
I studied prep in hybrid system. Half of the class was going to the school one day, and the other half the other day; the rest were joining the lesson via zoom. Actually I just went to face-to-face lessons twice, I was studying online much more effectively. My English has been improved so much because I completed assignments, tests and extra materials during prep school. My vocabulary also has been improved and Quizlet helped me a lot about it! (Not sponsored, of course) I learned basic but important subjects like how to write an essay. My instructors were so kind to us and they all helped me a lot. I made great friends even though we met online. I learnt taking exams with a mirror, also while my hands up… And most importantly, thanks to online education, I found out I could wake up a minute before the class and join it on time!
prep.bilkent.edu.tr when you go to this website, you can easily access absenteeism, what percentage of score you should get, keyword lists, external exam conditions, etc. The answers to all your questions are on the website. Also, you can ask your questions by e-mailing or calling Bilkent University, you will most probably receive a response as soon as possible. At the same time, if you enroll in Bilkent University, they explain everything in detail at the orientation at the beginning of the semester. I know that the system looks so complicated, but you get use to it.