What is Orientation Week?

It is a week-long series of events organized by the Preparatory Year (PY), Office of the Dean of Preparatory and Supporting Studies during the first week of the fall semester. Incoming students must attend this highly informative program that familiarizes the students with the intricacies of the Preparatory Year and the many services that are available to students.  Counselors are available to address any questions, issues or concerns that the students may have. During the Orientation Week, students will receive their university ID cards, activate their e-mail accounts and provide the Office of Remuneration with their bank account information.

What should I do if I cannot attend Orientation Week?

Students who do not attend the Orientation Week will be marked absent for the whole week, which will be factored into their semester attendance record according to University regulations and instructions. The student should contact their academic coordinator or the student affairs coordinator assigned to his/her academic track for further information.

When will I get my university ID?

Students will get their University ID during the Orientation Week after they receive a message from the Security Department that their ID is ready.  Please note that students must upload a photo onto the University’s website.

What is the English Language Placement Test and is it included in my GPA?

The English Language Placement Test is an exam that is prepared by the English Language Department and is taken prior to Orientation Week.  This assessment simply measures the student’s English language skills and helps place them in the appropriate English class where they will benefit the most. This test is NOT included in the student’s GPA and is purely used for placement.

What is the Math Placement Test and is it included in the GPA?
The Math Placement Test is an exam that is prepared by the Department of Fundamental Sciences and is taken prior to Orientation Week.  This assessment simply measures the student’s math skills and helps place them in the appropriate math class where they will benefit the most. This test is NOT included in the student’s GPA and is purely used for placement.

How important is the English Language Placement Test?
This is an important test that the incoming students should take seriously since they do not want to be placed in a class that is not suitable.

Can I be exempted from taking English if I have a high IELTS score?
Students can be exempted from taking the General English course (101) if they score a 6 or more.  Students must bring the original copy of the test during the first week of the first semester in order to receive an exemption.

How do I register for my courses in the PY?
Course registration can be done through the Student Information System using your University e-mail account. Students will need to follow the registration steps as shown on the University’s website and in the Student Guide that will be distributed during Orientation Week.

How is the Preparatory Year organized?

The Preparatory Year is divided into two semesters.  Students must successfully pass their courses in order to continue their studies the following year.  If a student fails not more than three of their courses, they will have an opportunity to retake them during the summer and they must receive a score of 3+.

When does the semester start?
The semester officially begins with the first lecture on the first day of class according to the dates published on the University website.

Is the Preparatory Year the same thing as the first year at the University?
Yes, it is. Please note that all courses taken during the Preparatory Year will be included in the student’s GPA.

What is a GPA?
GPA stands for Grade Point Average and it is a number that is calculated by adding up all accumulated final grades and dividing that figure by the number of grades awarded.

What are the academic tracks in the Preparatory Year at IAU? 

The preparatory year program is applied to all students admitted to the health track and the following colleges: Public Health, Nursing, Architecture and Planning, Engineering, Design (Literary stream), Design (Science Stream), Science, Business Administration, Computer Science and Information Technology, Arts, and Science & Humanities in Jubail. 

Can I transfer from one track to another?


Does attendance count from the start of the semester?
Yes.  A student’s attendance is tracked from the first day to the last day of study.

If I miss a class, what should I do?

If a student misses a class, he/she has to provide the student affairs supervisor at his/her track with documentation that proves why the class was missed and later a committee will review the absence and decide if it will be excused according to IAU’s regulations.

Will the GPA in the Preparatory Year be factored into my GPA at the University when I graduate?
Yes, it will.

Is there a difference from one level of a course to another with regards to warnings and being denied?
Yes, as shown in the following table.



Warning 10 %

Denied 15 %
General English 101 Beginner 43 hours 65 hours
General English 101 Intermediate 39 hours 60 hours
General English 101 Advanced 33 hours 50 hours

Note: The hours are based on a 30-week English Language course.

When are students not allowed to take their final exams?
When a student has been absent more than the allowed 25% of the course, he/she is not allowed to take the final exam.

Are medical reports from private hospitals acceptable documentation for an absence?
Only one per semester is accepted and the General Directorate for Health Affairs must certify them.

What is the difference between credit hours and contact hours?
Credit hours show the weight of each course; while contact hours are the exact number of hours students will attend a specific course in a week.

How do I pass the Preparatory Year program?

Students must earn at least a D (60/100) in each course and their GPA must be more than 3/5 at the end of the PY program.

When can I retake a course that I failed?

If you fail a course during the first semester, you can retake it during the second semester unless it is not a prerequisite of another course. If it is a prerequisite of another course, you can take it during the second semester and the second course will be taken during the summer semester.  General English, ESP, Physics, Chemistry and Biology are annual courses that are not offered during the summer semester.

If I failed a course and then I passed it later, is that grade factored into my GPA?


Can I take a make-up exam even if I already took the exam?

No, according to the regulations of Imam AbdulRahman bin Faisal University.

What do I do if I cannot attend a final exam?

If a student misses a final exam due to an emergency, he/she should provide the student affairs supervisor with his/her excuse no later than seven days from the final exam date that he/she missed. A committee will examine the excuse and if it is accepted; it will be recorded as (IC) for the final exam, and a make-up exam will scheduled. With regards to missing a midterm exam, a make-up exam will be scheduled within two weeks.

What are acceptable excuses?

A-   Medical excuses must be from a medical department that is entitled to grant medical leaves after a medical examination including:

  • Public hospitals and medical centers.
  • Public specialized hospitals.
  • Private hospitals and medical centers authorized by the Ministry of Health.

B-    Traffic Accidents:

  • The report should be attested to by the NAJM, showing the name of the student, date and time of the accident.

C-    Bereavement:

  • Three days for first degree bereavement (father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, husband, wife, grandfather or grandmother).  Proof should be provided.

How can I contest a grade?

You can send a written complaint to the Vice Dean for your track, no later than two weeks from when the results are published. The Vice Dean will review the complaint send it to the assigned department.

After the student successfully completes the PY program, which office takes over?

The Office of the Registrar.

How can I withdraw from the University?

You can apply electronically through e-mail at Students' Records and apply for withdrawal from the University. Then you will notify the college, security office, library, dormitory, the Deanship of Student Affairs and the Deanship of Admissions and Registration.

How can I track my attendance record?

You can download a program on your phone.  

How can I find out my grades?


How do I get my textbooks?

Students will receive the required texts. If you lose a book, you will have to reimburse the University.

What is the Student Board?

The Student Board is a group of elected students that liaise between students and the Deanship.

Are there any medical services available during the PY?

Yes, in building 50.

What is E-learning?

It is an electronic way of learning using computers and multimedia through two different systems:  Blackboard and Oxfordlearn.

What are considered to be academic and behavioral violations?

A-    Academic violations

  • Missing more than 25% of the classes in a course.
  • Disturbing classes or tests.
  • Cheating or trying to cheat.
  • Impersonating a student.

B-    Behavioral violations

  • Insulting the country, religion or the University.
  • Assaulting physically or verbally any student, faculty or staff member of the University or the PY program.
  • Smoking in the hallways of the University or the PY program.
  • Indecent appearance, including: long hair, inappropriate clothes or necklaces.
  • Manipulating machines and equipment.
  • Stealing or trying to steal.
  • Discrimination.
  • Forging University or PY documents.

C-    Traffic violations

  • Parking in unauthorized places.
  • Not abiding by the instructions of the security personnel.
  • Vandalizing cars  or trying to vandalize.

D-    Systemic violations

  • Publicizing, fundraising, preparing or participation in any event at the University without permission.
  • Abusing the fundamental principles of the country or the national unity whether  physically, verbally or promoting any political ideologies that contradict the country's system.
  • Other violations that the University or the PY find that are a possible threat to its rules and regulations.

What is the penal code at Imam AbdulRahman bin Faisal University?
The University has the right to take the necessary disciplinary measures against any violations, including:
A: The basic disciplinary measures:

  • Verbal warning.
  • Written warning with a pledge.
  • Warning.  A hard copy is given to the student and his/her parents are notified.
  • Denying the student from signing up for one or more courses for one semester.
  • Prohibiting the student from taking final exams or cancelling his/her results for all of his/her courses.
  • Suspension for one main semester.
  • Dismissing the student from the University and stamping his/her documents:  Dismissed based on disciplinary measures.
  • The student must pay for any destroyed items or property damage.

B- Alternative disciplinary measures
   Denying the student from using one or some of the following privileges or university services for one semester:

  • Borrowing books.
  • Staying at the dormitory.
  • Participating in field trips.
  • Surfing the Internet using the University webpage.
  • Remuneration and students loans for one year.
  • The student discount card will be suspended for two terms.
  • The cafeteria discount card will be suspended for one term.
  • The sport and recreation facilities will be off-limits for no more than two semesters.

Published on: 03 August 2015
Last update on: 29 August 2022
Page views: 15787