Fri, 8 September 2017

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What is Your German Language Level?

Learning a foreign language is a long process.  We pass through different stages as the learning progresses.  The first level in Beginners, the second – Intermediate, and finally the third level – Advanced.  We use these three German language levels as criteria for language course placement and study program enrollment.

Start learning German everyday to achieve the best results
Start learning German everyday to achieve the best results
One thing (of many) that is good about the EU is that it has harmonized the educational knowledge levels and degrees.  The standards set by the Common European Reference Framework define language proficiency levels. German language levels follow the standard framework A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 . In this common framewok A means elementary language skills, B  – intermediate language skills and finally C – advanced language skills.  In addition, within each level they are divided into 2 sub-groups Beginners (A1 and A2), Intermediate (B1 and B2), Advanced (C1 and C2).

What level of language competence is expected on each level from Beginner (A1) to Highly Competent (C2)?

The table below provides general guidelines of language skills on each level.  It describes the comprehension and speaking skills, as well as the frame of vocabulary and grammar.
A1 beginner
  • understand and use familiar, everyday expressions and very simple sentences.
  • introduce yourself and respond to questions about where you are from.
  • communicate in a simple manner.
A2 elementary
  • understand sentences and commonly used expressions.
  • talk about your family, work, education, common topics.
  • make yourself understood in every day situation, ask for directions in routine situations.
B1 intermediate
  • understand most of the speech or text when standard language is used.
  • discuss familiar topics about work, school, leisure time, personal interests.
  • express your opinions and share your experience concerning these tops.
  • deal with most situations when travelling.
  • report on experiences and events, describe dreams, hopes and goals as well as make short statements to justify or explain his/her own views and plans.
B2 upper intermediate
  • understand main points of complex texts on concrete and abstract topics.
  • understand specialized discussions in your primary area of specialization.
  • communicate with native speakers in the manner that’s fluent.
  • express yourself on a wide range of topics.
  • explain your position on a current issue and indicate the benefits and drawbacks of various options.
C1 advanced
  • understand a wide range of challenging, longer texts and also grasp implicit meanings.
  • express yourself spontaneously and fluently.
  • use the language effectively and flexibly in his/her social and professional life or in training and studies.
  • make clear, structured and detailed statements on complex topics.
  • apply various means of text association appropriately in the process.
C2 highly competent
  • effortlessly understand practically everything which he/she reads or hears.
  • summarize information from various written and spoken sources, logically recounting the reasons and explanations.
  • express him/herself spontaneously with high fluency and precision and also make finer nuances of meaning clear in more complex topics

These German language skills levels A1-C2 are used by the language schools to place students in the study groups with the similar knowledge.

Almost all German language school and classes define the German language levels in accordance with this standard. This makes switching between schools and courses fairly easy.  You pretty much know always where you stand in regard to the learning process and how far you need to learn in order to pass for the required language certificate. Most of the schools and courses would suggest a placement test-consisting of a written and an oral part.  This way a school will make sure that you will be learning with others of a similar level. Often on the language course / school website you can take a test that  will show you your current level of German by the standardized levels. After that the schools in most of the cases ask to have  a face-to-face interview in German, which also tests your speaking and listening skills. If you book a German course schools might ask you to do an additional test, including an oral placement interview, to make sure you study on the right level.