To be eligible to enter our GFP programs at Sohar University, candidates must have completed the General Diploma in Oman (formerly the Secondary School Completion Certificate) or to have gained an equivalent qualification. Candidates who have studied on a GFP program elsewhere but did not complete the course shall have to take our GFP placement test to determine their level of competency in English.
English: As stated above, candidates can be exempted from the GFP English component if they have already gained any of the following:
- an IELTS qualification of 5 or above, with none of the separate IELTS components of reading, writing, listening and speaking being below 4.5
- a TOEFL score of at least 500
- an IBT score of at least 58
- a pass mark on a GFP program completed at an insititution recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), and on the completion of a successful interview with the Dean of the faculty in which the candidate would like to study
In addition, candidates will be exempted from the GFP English component if they achieve a score of 89% in the placement test.
Candidates can be exempted from the Computing component if they possess any of the following:
- an ICDL
- an IC3
- a Cambridge IT Certificate (gained on a course taught in English) or an equivalent qualification gained at an institution recognised by the MoHE. For this, a transcript and course description should be provided.
Alternatively, candidates can be exempted if they pass the Computing Modules 1 and 2 placement tests, but, to take this test, they must already possess the necessary qualifications or standards in English, as outlined above.
Mathematics: Candidates can be exempted from the Mathematics component if they have succeeded on an equivalent course at an institution recognised by the MoHE. Again, a transcript and course description should be provided.
Alternatively, and as with the component in Computing, candidates can be exempted if they pass the Math SET 1 and 2 or Set 1 and 3 placement tests. Again, to take these tests, candidates must already possess the necessary qualifications or standards in English, as outlined above.
GFP is a bridge course in Computing, Mathematics and English (up to the equivalent of IELTS 5). An Academic Communication Skills program is also taught, which equips students with the knowledge and skills required to undertake research projects at degree-level learning.
GFP is more than simply a classroom experience. Learning is supported by up-to-date, in-class visual media and internet access, as well as a host of computer laboratories. Active student engagement is fostered through presentations, group projects and keynote events in the academic calendar, such as the Academic Integrity Day. GFP also established the Writing Studio and Learning Support Majlis.
These innovative, student-centred support facilities are located in the Learning Resources Centre and are staffed by GFP lecturers who are in attendance, all day, five days a week, to offer any kind of help with English to both GFP and Faculty students.
In accordance with national requirements, all GFP assessments, including the placement tests, are unique because the assessment for entry to the program and exit from the program to the Faculty are essentially the same in that they are designed to determine whether or not the student meets the learning outcome and achieves a minimum score equivalent to IELTS 5 to pass these standards.
50% of the assessments are continuous assessments spread across the semester and the final end of semester examination accounts for the remaining 50%. Assessments test student proficiency in Language in Use, Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Grammar and vocabulary are continuously reviewed throughout the period of study as part of a formative continuous assessment process. In the assessment of writing skills, students follow a two-phase iterative approach designed to enhance their skills and involving continuous feedback from instructors. Formative assessment is also an important part of GFP assessment approach. Students in Levels 2 and 3 are required to do at least one group project based on their coursebook and report the project in a presentation. The students also have a one-hour weekly lab session wherein they work on the online platform of MyEnglishLab. Their performance in the practice activities and unit achievement tests on MyEnglishLab are reflected in their portfolio assessment.
Once students complete Level 3, they are required to produce a mini-research project as part of their exit test in addition to sitting a final exam which is almost entirely aligned to an IELTS Examination.
- English Language Fees for each level: 771 OR
- Mathematics Fees (SET) for each course: 97 OR
- (IC3) Fees per-semester: 122.5 OR
GFP Placement Test
The GFP Placement Test assesses the candidates in three components – English, Computing and Math.
English Placement Test (EPT):
The English Placement Test is administered in order to ascertain the current level of English language proficiency of each new registering student. The English Placement Test is benchmarked against a global placement test. It has 4 parts of equal weightage and is to be completed in 110 minutes.
Part 1: Listening (Computer-based)
Part 2: Grammar (Computer-based)
Part 3: Writing (Paper-based)
Part 4: Speaking (Face-to-face)
Students interested in joining GFP program at SU can get a feel for the type of questions used in the placement test through the Pre-Placement Test materials.
On completion of the test, candidates are scored and placed into one of the three following levels: Elementary, Pre-Intermediate or Intermediate or granted Direct Entry to the Faculty of their choice.
0-52 : Elementary
53-70 : Pre-Intermediate
71-88 : Intermediate
89+ : Direct Entry
A candidate with IELTS band 5 or equivalent, or corresponding qualification from another institution of higher education in Oman can get Direct Entry to the faculties.
Candidates who attain ‘Direct Entry’ into Faculty, however, have to also pass the Computing and Math placement tests. If such a candidate passes both the Math and Computing exemption tests, they can register in the faculty as full-time students. On the other hand, if the candidate does not pass either of the Computing and Math placement tests, he/she can still register in the faculty but only for a half-load. This student must then register for the Computing and Math course at GFP and complete these components along with their faculty study simultaneously.Computing Placement Test
The Computing Placement Test aims to give the students a chance to be exempted from studying this course in GFP. The Computing course consists of two modules - M1 and M2. All students will sit for the first module (M1) test. This test evaluates his\her knowledge and skills in MS office. Students will be eligible to take the second module (M2) test of Computer hardware and internet skills, if he\she passes the M1 test with a minimum mark of 50 out of 100, in which case he\she will be exempted from studying M1. In case a student does not clear the M1 test, he\she needs to study both M1 and M2. If he\she passes M2, he\she will be exempted from both the modules.
In addition, if a student shows evidence of equivalency to Sohar University GFP Computing course i.e. International Certificate in Computing (IC3, ICDL), or a course in an accredited MHE, he/she can be exempted from the Computing course. However, the student will have to provide a transcript and course description from the previous institution.
Math Placement Test
A student who newly joins the General Foundation Program (GFP) at Sohar University needs to show the capability to achieve the learning outcomes of two Maths courses. Those two courses are determined according to the faculty they will join. All new students have the chance to take a Math Placement Test (MPT) that gauges their competency in Math and places them in the appropriate Math study level.
As each GFP student has to clear two Math courses, he/she can sit two Math test sessions: one for each course. Passing the first test is a prerequisite to sit the second one. The MPT is an online test that is conducted using computers and marked automatically. The duration of each test is one hour, and the pass mark is 50% for both tests. If a student passes the Math test, then he/she will be exempted from the study of the course related to that test.
Students who studied and successfully passed Math courses in recognized higher education institutes other than Sohar University can be exempted from Math study at GFP if the learning outcomes of courses they studied cover those for the GFP Math courses of Sohar University. In order to have this exemption, the students need to submit official transcripts that confirm they passed the equivalent courses in the other institute, as well as the course descriptions of these courses.
The table below shows the GFP Math courses that a new student needs to clear based on their speciality:
Once enrolled on any of the courses at GFP, every student gets to benefit from a multi-layered student support system designed to enhance the student experience.
Where: The GFP has a dedicated student support services located on the second floor in the Learning Resource Centre (Library).
How: Student support is provided through the following initiatives: Learning Support Majlis, Writing Studio, Math Studio, IT Studio, Speaking Corner and Listening Lab and the Research Corner.
When: Most of these services are free and available from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm every week day.
What: Students can get help on grammar, vocabulary, listening, reading, writing and speaking in English as well as full support with all your Math and Computing needs. The ‘Research Corner’ is a special service for Level 3 (Intermediate) students to help develop research skills to complete their final project.
Beginners: The GFP also offers special support sessions for those students who are placed in a lower elementary level after the Placement Test. These sessions are held in the LRC four times a week with two morning shifts and two afternoon shifts. Student progress is continuously monitored by their instructors.
Support for students who need extra help: The GFP team takes particular pride in the manner in which it provides support to students who need extra help. Students who have to repeat a level either for the second or third time for any reasons are given special attention and extra support. These students are identified by the end of week 3 and a special support plan is drawn up with the student’s Academic Advisor and the Program Coordinator who meet with these students to discuss the plan and motivate them to attend the special sessions provided. Each of these students is allocated an instructor who monitors and records their progress on the SOS (Students On Support) forms. The instructor remains in constant contact with these students either directly or through some online platforms.
The GFP considers Academic Advising, which is documented in SU Policies, as a vital role-player in student retention, progression and graduation as well as limiting attrition. GFP students are closely monitored, from registration to the end of the semester, with students who need extra help and repeaters being identified early and targeted for maximum support.
Every semester, each academic advisor is allocated a group of students. The academic advising time is already embedded in the advisor’s workload. The advisors record the student meetings’ summary, comments and recommendations in the E Register immediately after meeting with the students in their academic advising list. Academic advisors then follow up from the start of semester with students who need extra help, repeaters and high-achieving students. Academic advisors meet with these students regularly to monitor their progress. This has proved to be an effective tool in improving student performances at the GFP.