B1 German course and exam

German is a useful language, and the reasons for learning German are varied. Many of my students here in London learn German for work or their businesses; others have connections with Germany, be they friends, family, or partners. Another group wants to speak German specifically at level B1 to apply for German citizenship at the German Embassy in London or to obtain a work or settlement visa for Germany, Austria, or Switzerland. Proficiency has to be demonstrated by passing an exam. This article explains how to achieve language level B1 and what the exam entails.

Mastering B1 German

Your German is at level B1 if you can speak an intermediate level and master German in everyday life situations and the work environment. Suppose you’ve already studied German at A level or university or have lived in a German-speaking country for a few years. In that case, chances are you speak German B1. Becoming familiar with the current B1 topics might be worthwhile: education, culture, volunteering, nature and sustainability, inclusion, migration, Christmas, history, and employment. You do not need in-depth knowledge but are required to comprehend as well as speak and write about these topics. Perhaps a refresher German course or some self-study will help you prepare. There are some helpful practice materials available to aid you.

If German is new to you, then start on a beginner course. Passing the A1 and A2 exams is not a requirement. A thorough German study program should be the right path. If you have been learning German solely with an app, consider signing up for a German course to expedite your progress.

When teaching B1 German courses, my students often ask how many mistakes they are allowed to make and still get a pass. I am not a fan of exam-driven learning, which can be one-sided. After all, the proof is in the pudding when encountering real-life situations. However, the minimum requirement for passing is 60% in each part – reading, listening, writing and speaking.

Navigating the B1 German exam

The exam’s listening comprehension and reading elements are multiple-choice, covering 30 questions each. Listening out for and identifying keywords when reading is the right strategy, combined with understanding tenses and context. You are allowed 12 mistakes in each module and still pass. The reading bit takes 65 minutes, and the listening, which consists of monologic texts, conversations and discussions, lasts 45 minutes.

The writing module has 3 parts and takes 60 minutes: one informal 80-word correspondence on a given situation, one formal 40-word correspondence, and an 80-word written opinion on something you read. Understanding the assignment and instructions is half your rent! Coherence, thesaurus, and structure, including syntax and orthography, are all being assessed. Mistakes do not mean failure as long as the mistakes you make do not overly impair the understanding of your written work.

The speaking module consists of 3 parts for which you have 15 minutes to prepare. Part one is a three-minute conversation with another sitter where you jointly plan a visit or event. The next part is a four-minute presentation on a given topic, and the last part is providing feedback and asking questions after listening to the presentation of another participant. The examiners appraise the contentual fulfilment, interplay and fluency, lexicon, and structure, including morphology, grammar, syntax, coherency, and pronunciation. Again, mistakes are not a problem as long as they do not impair the comprehension of what you are saying.

Why not take an online German language assessment to gauge your level of German before getting in touch to enrol on one of our bespoke German courses?

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