How To Pass Goethe German Exam: Practical Tips for A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2

There are a million reasons in the world to learn German. You can learn it just for fun, you can learn it for educational reasons, you might want to work abroad, or want to travel to a German-speaking country.

No matter which one it is, there are some cases when you need to know how to pass the Goethe exam in German. YourGermanTeacher tells you everything you need to know about getting the Goethe Zertifikat A1:

In this blog post, you’ll learn not only about the A1 but about all the other exams too. This is How to pass Goethe exam 101! 🙂

1. What is the Goethe exam?

The Goethe exam (officially known as the Goethe-Zertifikat), is a series of standardized language proficiency tests for German as a foreign language.

These exams are made by the Goethe-Institut, a non-profit German cultural association that promotes the study of the German language abroad and encourages international cultural exchange.

The Goethe exams are aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). It can be categorized into 6 proficiency levels:

  • A1 (Beginner)
  • A2 (Elementary)
  • B1 (Intermediate)
  • B2 (Upper Intermediate)
  • C1 (Advanced)
  • C2 (Proficient)

2. The German exam pattern

All of these exam levels have the same structured approach to the exam, and they test four main components:

  1. Hören (Listening)
  2. Lesen (Reading)
  3. Schreiben (Writing)
  4. Sprechen (Speaking)

Let’s look at these more closely:

Listening (Hören)

In this part of the exam, you listen to different audio recordings, like conversations and interviews, announcements, and reports.

The skills tested are whether you understand the main points and specific details. The duration of the listening section is different for every level (A1 ≈ 20 mins, A2 ≈ 30 mins, B1 ≈ 40 mins, B2 ≈ 30 mins, C1 ≈ 40 mins, C2 ≈ 35 mins).

Reading (Lesen)

The reading part is all about reading different types of texts: articles, blog posts, emails, advertisements, and instructions. The part they are testing here is if you can catch the main ideas, the specific details and some implicit meanings in German.

The duration of this section can be anything between 25 to 70 minutes from A1 to C2.

how to pass goethe exam with the help of goethe website

Writing (Schreiben)

In the writing section, your task will be about writing texts such as letters, emails, essays or reports in formal and informal settings.

The writing section tests your ability to express information and opinions, and to see how you can write coherently. Again, the duration is dependent on the level you’re testing for.

A1 is around 20 minutes, B1 is already around 60 minutes.

Speaking (Sprechen)

The speaking part includes tasks like giving a presentation, having a conversation with your partner in German, or discussing any other topic with an examiner or other candidates.

Here, the most important thing is to express yourself. You shouldn’t worry too much about making grammar mistakes. You can always fix your own sentences if you need it (that’s actually a plus!), and you should focus on your fluency, clarity and mainly about the ability to interact in spoken German.

The speaking part isn’t long, it can be between 15 and 30 minutes. You first take notes in German, and after that, it’s all about speaking.

3. What do they test for the Goethe-Zertifikat?

Depending on the level you’re testing for, the examiners are looking for different aspects.

For the A1 level, you should have basic communication needs, understand and use everyday expressions.

At the A2 level, you can talk about basic routine tasks, you can have simple conversations and you can have a direct exchange of information.

B1 is already intermediate level: here, you understand the main points on familiar matters, you can handle travel situations, you can produce simple connected text on familiar topics.

At B2, you not only understand the main ideas of complex texts but you can also interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity.

There are two advanced levels – C1 and C2. At C1 level, you understand a wide range of demanding texts, you can express your ideas fluently and in every situation. At C2, you are already near a native-level, where you understand virtually everything heard or read, you can summarize information from different spoken and written sources. (Of course, the cultural aspect is another thing – more on this later.)

4. How to prepare for the Goethe exam: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2

Okay, so by now, you already know what the German Goethe exam is, you’re familiar with the exam structure, and what they are asking from you on these different levels. But how do you prepare for the different levels?

Here’s a short guide for every one of these categories:

A1 (Beginner)

  • Focus on: Basic phrases and sentences.
  • Practice: Listening to simple dialogues, reading basic texts, writing short notes, and having basic conversations.
  • Resources: Use beginner-level textbooks, language apps, check basic German sentences and Goethe-Institut A1 practice materials.

A2 (Elementary)

  • Focus on: Routine tasks and everyday communication.
  • Practice: Understanding simple conversations, reading short texts, writing informal letters/emails, and talking about familiar topics.
  • Resources: Use A2 level books, audio resources, take the 7-in-7 challenge and practice exams available on the Goethe-Institut website.

B1 (Intermediate)

  • Focus on: Main points of clear texts on familiar topics.
  • Practice: Listening to interviews and news, reading articles, writing connected texts on topics of personal interest, and practicing speaking about daily life and interests.
  • Resources: Intermediate textbooks, German media (news, German podcasts), and B1 practice tests.

B2 (Upper Intermediate)

  • Focus on: Complex text and spontaneous conversation.
  • Practice: Engaging with news reports, reading detailed articles, writing structured essays or reports, and discussing various topics in detail.
  • Resources: Upper intermediate books, advanced media resources, the 21-Day German Trust Builder Challenge, and B2 practice materials from Goethe-Institut.

C1 (Advanced)

  • Focus on: Understanding demanding texts and expressing ideas fluently.
  • Practice: Listening to academic lectures, reading complex texts, writing detailed essays, and participating in deep conversations.
  • Resources: Advanced textbooks, advanced German vocabulary, academic lectures, high-level media content, and C1 sample exams.

C2 (Proficient)

  • Focus on: Understanding virtually everything heard or read.
  • Practice: Engaging with professional and academic German, summarizing information from various sources, writing high-level texts, and discussing abstract topics fluently.
  • Resources: Professional and academic German resources, advanced literature, and C2 practice exams. (Alternatively, check the best websites to learn German.)

5. German language exam preparation: learn German with structured lessons or self-study?

A great question!

The Goethe exam is famously structured. So, the structured lessons that are typically more organized and systematic can be very beneficial for exam preparation. The structured lessons are a sure way if you want to cover all aspects of the exam format and the content that’s in these exams. Professional instruction can give you feedback and tips, and you have regular classes with a steady learning pace.

how to pass goethe exam with intensive german courses from goethe website

The self-study approach allows you to have more flexibility. It’s easier to tailor it to your personal needs and schedule, and even your learning style. There are tons of materials already available for free. You can study at your own pace, and on your own schedule. Another aspect if you choose self-studying is that it’s almost always cheaper than formal classes. You can choose some language learning products, like GermanPod 101 or if you want, you can also take a look at our Babbel review.

Combining structured lessons with self-study can offer the best of both worlds! The balanced approach leverages the discipline and guidance of structured lessons while having the flexibility and autonomy of self-study.

What’s the best way according to us? It’s the full immersion method! Let’s be honest: you can pass an intermediate level German Goethe exam, and you can still freeze in any situation if you have to speak German. The best way to both pass the Goethe exam and to actually LEARN German is to immerse yourself in the language. It can accelerate your language learning progress

The way you do this is you spend as much time as you can listening to German podcasts, watching German TV shows and German movies. You can also spend time in a German-speaking country, if that’s possible. That way, you can listen to German dialects, learn more about the German culture and even do things you wouldn’t even think of in the first place!

6. Deepen your understanding and how to pass Goethe exam with Conversation Based Chunking

There’s one more way!

Preparing for the Goethe exam with Conversation Based Chunking (CBC) can be an effective and engaging method. CBC focuses on learning language through meaningful conversations, and by breaking down language learning into manageable chunks, and practicing these chunks in context.

This method is all about comprehension and production of language in practical, conversational scenarios.

To implement CBC, begin by identifying key chunks, like common phrases, idiomatic expressions, and grammatical structures relevant to your exam level.

Use these chunks in daily conversations with a language partner or tutor on italki (you can check our italki review).

Simulate exam scenarios where you can use these chunks in context: describe a picture, answer questions, engage in a dialogue.

If you integrate Conversation Based Chunking into your study routine, you can create a dynamic and practical learning experience. This method not only prepares you for the conversational aspects of the Goethe exam but also strengthens overall language proficiency. And if you sign up now, you’ll get your first German Conversation Based Chunking Guide for FREE!

In it, you’ll have access to an essential German chunking list, access to full practice worksheets, my favourite resources to learn German, and more!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *