Overview : Arabic Ab Initio 

Language Ab Initio is a group 2 subject, and can only be taken as Standard Level in the DP programme. The distinction between Ab Initio courses from the literature and language B courses is that it requires no prior or very little knowledge about the language itself. Ab Initio courses, in general, aim (for further info check out this link)  for students to enable communication, develop international mindedness, and create an awareness of the relation between the languages and cultures which for Arabic Ab Initio, is familiar within Arabic. 

As a student, who has been taking Arabic Ab Initio for 2 years now,  I will mainly focus on giving a course, assessment outline, and whether you should take the Arabic Ab Initio course through your IB experience. 

Course Outline

Arabic Ab Initio concentrates primarily on learning the language itself, while intent to widen the horizon and vocabulary knowledge of the student. In that way, it can be said that it is the “A Level” of the language. The Ab Initio courses are only open to take at Standard Level. 

Areas of Study Themes 
LanguageWritten and Spoken Texts Themes Contextual Understanding Identities Experiences Human Ingenuity Social Organization Sharing the Planet 

Assessment Outline

Since this course is only Standard Level, other than the obligatory Paper 1 and Paper 2 exams. There is only one internal assessment. The following table shows all mandatory exams and assessments to receive the grade. 

Assessments Formats Weight for the Grade
Paper 1 Productive Skills : Writing %25
Paper 2Receptive Skills : Listening and Reading %50
Oral Presentation A conversation with the teacher, based on a visual stimulus followed by discussion based on one or more of the themes from the syllabus%25

Should you take the course? 

In the Ab Initio courses, specifically, when it comes to subject selecting and taking, you may want to consider some features regarding the language acquisition courses. 

1. Are you willing to learn a new language? 

Other than your native language, learning a new language from time to time can be challenging. Since going to a country to learn another language or language courses may require lots of money. In the IB programme, learning a new language can be a life-long opportunity. 

2. The Discipline 

Learning a new language may require new additions to your time management skills since language takes daily practice and dedication. IB already aims to grow students with time management skills. However, through the programme, you may feel overwhelmed by the new language learning process. Especially in languages like Arabic which does not use the Latin alphabet. Therefore my advice for language taking is to be careful what you want to choose as a course. And remember that learning a new language will gain you a life-long skill that you will use in all areas of your life. 

3. Why Arabic?

In my school, we had the opportunity to take French, German, or Arabic. Though to me, Arabic was a language goal that I wanted to accomplish. Aside from being a beautiful language, it offers many opportunities and it is the 6th most spoken language in the World with more than 200 million speakers all around the World. Thereby, it also allows me to engage with people from the East, and get to know a different culture that we are not exposed to in our daily lives. 

All in all, ab initio courses are challenging, time-consuming, and require consistency. However, if you are especially considering going abroad for the university, the ab initio courses may be a golden ticket for you. Not only you would learn a language, but you would also learn it within the programme and you do not even have to take an outside course or an exam (this varies from university to university please check the university’s admissions requirements for overseas students!). For Arabic, if you are considering specifically Middle Eastern countries like Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, and more, Arabic is the key to being admitted. Consider your opportunities,  what you would like to do in the future, and search for the courses you should take, then you would be good to go! 

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