Zertifikat Deutsch exam jitters - Germany

Advice on what to expect

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Hi there TT'ers

I have registered to take the ZD exam in December and the nerves are already getting the better of me. I have done all the example tests I could find with good results. I was just wondering if anyone has taken the exam lately and how they found it. What was the topic of your letter and the Thema of your Müdlich? Seems that there are a few different variations when it comes to the topic of the letters and with the Müdliche Prüfung: Gespräch über ein Thema and the Lösen einer Aufgabe. Does the topics always stay the same as the example tests or do they change? And one last question, can you expect the same level of difficulty with the actual ZD as the example tests?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as I'm having sleepless nights
Thema of your Müdlich? Seems that there are a few different variations when it comes to the topic of the letters and with the Müdliche Prüfung: Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as I'm having sleepless nights
Checking on your spelling might be a good thing!
i don't really remember the theme of the oral but it was crap...i remember it being really vague..something about the future but I wasn't sure if it was supposed to related to the picture on the paper we got or to our future or what...and it turned out i interpretted it in a totally different way than my partner who was pretty bad in the first place..so it sucked (or atleast I thought it did...turns out the 'judges' gave me a pretty good score)...the rest was easy though.
The Mündliche Prüfung is probably the most nerve - wracking. When I took the test I was paired with somebody that I hadn't met, and then we had to speak to each other for about ten - fifteen minutes about some topic - asking each other questions, responding, etc.

I remember that I didn't do well in the letter writing bit, but mainly because my teacher didn't think that business-style letters would be the test topic, so we really didn't cover them in too much detail.

EDIT: By the way - in the Mündliche Prüfung you're usually paired with another student, not the teacher/judge!! They have too many people taking the test to have it one-on-one.
If every student is paired with another for the oral exam, how are the students graded? Is there an observer? Now I am getting the jitters, too.
There are typically two judges for the oral exam, each student is graded separately.

So, it's VERY useful if you tend to jabber a bit. The more that you can show off what you can speak, the better your grade, in general.
we had 2 observers who scared the crap outta me. typically stern looking german ladies who just stared at us with that evil german 'you are doing something wrong' face
This can be tricky!! What if the partner has a horrible, impossible-to-understand sort of accent? Can I swear in English or my mother tongue or does it have to be only in German?
Yes, that is an issue.

However, the judges, I believe, will deduct more from your partner if they have serious trouble pronouncing the words. As long as you keep asking questions: "Könntest du das bitte wiederholen? Ich habe nicht verstanden." you should be ok.

EDIT: Of course, if you haven't asked the question "Sollen/Könnten wir duzen?" the question might be phrased a bit differently.
By force of habit, I often use the respectful Sie. How can I ask in German, if I can Siezen? I mean, should I ask "sollen wir einfach Siezen?".

I was just playing with words, when I asked the earlier question about siezen. Siezen actually does mean addressing someone formally. Learned something.
Don't be nervous! I took the ZDP at the Goethe-Institut in Munich in July. For the oral exam we seemed to be paired up with someone whose mother tongue was different from our own. I was paired up with someone from Italy, who had travelled to Munich that day to take the ZDP, and it worked fine. Do remember to arrive early to prepare for the oral exam in the specified room. There's an allotted amount of time to prepare for the questions/themes. You should write notes about points you would like to bring up in the conversation. The examiners, both teachers at the Goethe-Institut, were nice, hoping both of us would do our best. About 15 minutes after the oral exam we received the results. I found it to be a good experience, learning and remembering much while studying for the exam. Best of luck!
It is nice to see such encouraging posts from those who have been there. It is even better to know that the pairing is not completely at random, and that there is a little bit of time to prepare for the topic. If I know the topic beforehand (can I choose it or am I just given a topic?), I cd think of the words I do not know in German and look them up in the dictionary.

For now, my challenge is to get a place to take the exam. It is always full.

James, thanks for the post.

The topics are assigned. For the first two parts, the two students have the same information. For the other, there's a part "A" and a part "B" based on a concrete situation (e.g., teacher-student), and the two people have to spontaneously create a dialogue based on the provided information. At the Munich Goethe-Institut there are excellent resources for preparing for the exam. Have you seen the Mediathek on the 5th floor?
If you have done all your example tests with good results, don't worry!



you can download some sample examinations, but I would not worry so much, it's not so difficult!
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