Share your experience on preparing to take the Deutsch B1 exam

58 posts in this topic

12 hours ago, TurMech said:

@dj_jay_smith congratulations for your success. 

 

Did you need the certificate in order to apply for citizenship?

 

Secondly why did you take the TELC B1 instead of TELC DTZ

 

Thanks.  Yes, I wanted to get this for the citizenship application.  

 

I chose Telc over Goethe because of a recommendation from my Tutor, although I think there is not too much difference to be honest.  And I never considered the Telc DTZ, because either I pass B1 or fail.  An A2 certificate does not bring me any advantage as I would have to take the B1 test again as this is what I needed.  Plus if you fail one section of the B1 but pass the other section then you can retake that section you failed, where as with the DTZ you would just get the A2 certificate.

 

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Hello I took my B1 exam just yesterday with Goethe Institut and since I looked up everything I could find about it before I went, (including process and tips on this forum) I wanted to make a post with my experience+ tips that helped:

 

First tip: I didn't take a B1 course before doing this exam. You should probably do that..

 

BUT know it is possible to go to it without. Many people have.

 

I took this test in Frankfurt, cos Munich was booked out 3 months in advance. So I guess that's tip #1.. if it's booked up in your city, check others, they can mail you your results. Goethe's website is pretty easy to go back and forth and check booking dates in different cities.

 

They send you an e-mail well in advance with an invitation which you must print and bring with you, you will need the number on it for your answers. In it they give you all info i.e. address, directions, where to find your room, parts of the test and times, etc.

 

Bring a pen. They absolutely won't provide one. I brought 6.

 

I came in early, they had us put our bags on a table and provided a paper packet (envelope) to put our phones in, sign our names on the envelope, then sign off that we did so. Phones were kept in a bin until the first three parts were over. <-- great idea for schoolkids, I thought...

 

1. Reading- if you check out the modeltests on goethe's website, OR TELC, or ÖSD or any other model test you can go over before you go in, this section was exactly like those. Tips I read which were helpful: The reading sections are often just a hair more difficult that B1, don't try to read everything, skim, recognize key words, then check out each question and go back and find relevant words, use context clues. This saves time (and anxiety!). 

My weakness here was vocab-- I only discovered the night before, Goethe actually has a vocabulary word list for B1, and it is so well organized [ I googled GOethe B1 vokab] I do not know how to post links here.

 

2. Writing- This also is just like the model tests but you're wasting your time unless  you have a native speaker correct you. I bothered all my friends in Munich using FB notes, a helpful tip I got was to practice using short sentences, and number them. I did 1-10, this way I got a real good idea of just how long it would take to write 40-80 words, which is what two parts of this section require. Practice formal and informal emails. We wrote one formal, one informal email, and we were asked to write out opinion in response to some blog post. Tip: I wish I found it sooner but there are youtube videos with sample letters and you can drill the sentence structure you need for some of this stuff, key phrases etc. I learned more in my last 48 hours than the entire month before. Italki.com is also an excellent resource and if you're just looking for a native speaker it's a steal, 3 and 4 euro for 30 minutes trial, some people offer proper lessons for 11-13 euro as well. You can post journal entries and get up to 3 corrected before they make you pay for anything.. Also a good tip: DO NOT write a sentence unless you are confident it is 100% grammatically correct. A lot of what I read about Goethe's scoring stresses this. Don't be a hero, stick with what you know. Most of my passages were damn near exact to the word count...

 

3. Listening- this was (for me) by far the hardest... in practice models it was pretty easy. They start you off easy though- the first 10 questions were 5 pairs of two. Each pair had a short listening sample which was played twice. The next part, was a long dialogue played once with 5 questions to answer. My advice here, when you get your short time in the beginning to look over the questions, underline words you know or underline nouns.. then listen for those and key in when you hear them.. the questions generally appear in the same order as they are heard. We heard weather ads, radio ads, traffic reports, museum instructions, etc. The long dialogue was an informative report about an Austrian chocolate factory. This was played twice. We then heard a discussion between three people and had to answer 7 or 10 questions about it, marking who said what. It was played once.  I was totally unprepared for this and I recommend youtube vids with B1 audio with people discussing stuff or anything you can listen to with 3 people.. to get used to that. Maybe have a native speaker help you out and ask you who said what.

 

After this part we got our phones returned to us and had a long break, time enough to eat or re-caffeinate. I recommend both.

 

4. Speaking- They had us all wait in a common room and during the break they posted our names on the wall noting what time everyone was taking their portion. The speaking portion is only 30 minutes. We got assigned to a moderator who went over the structure with us. We were told the first pat was introducing one another, where we come from, how we learned German, why we were taking the B1 exam. We were told that our friend was having a baby and we were to arrange getting them a gift, and there were 4 specific points we had to cover (event planning. suggest and plan, for practice). The next part was, we were given a choice between two themes to discuss-- again, the model tests, are exactly the same-- and we could note what we wanted to say. The third part was we needed to spontaneously ask and answer questions about the theme we just wrote about, with our speaking partner. We were placed into a quiet room and given 15 minutes to prepare our notes, then moved to a different room and we sat with two moderators and we spoke (15 minutes).

I forgot words that I've been using since A1.. :) but overall it was fine.. 

 

I highly recommend italki, as I paid for some lessons in the weeks leading up to the course.. We discussed topics that were above B1 and it just made me comfortable discussing really any topic well enough that I could express myself and respond to someone else. memrise.com is also VERY VERY good for expanding vocab, it uses the goethe b1 vocab list starting with abbreviations

 

I sort of streamlined and tailored most of my studying for the past two months on passing the exam, I only recommend that if it's in addition to a proper course.. my partner's grammar was so good it was almost the same feeling I get listening to folks from the UK then coming back and being around Americans again. Many tutors told me though that grammar is not so important with your speaking part, it's more important that your message is understood, and that you demonstrate your understanding of your partner. 

 

I'll do another post when I get my results and note how everything was scored. I'm getting them mailed, they told m within 10 business days.

 

Hope this is of use :) 

 

 

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On 11/10/2018, 19:48:56, GreenVirgo said:

. The next part was, we were given a choice between two themes to discuss-- again, the model tests, are exactly the same-- and we could note what we wanted to say.

 

 

great post.  btw, what were the two themes?

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On 11.10.2018, 19:48:56, GreenVirgo said:

Reading- if you check out the modeltests on goethe's website, OR TELC, or ÖSD or any other model test you can go over before you go in, this section was exactly like those.

Writing- have a native speaker correct you. 

there are youtube videos with sample letters and you can drill the sentence structure you need for some of this stuff, key phrases etc. 

I recommend youtube vids with B1 audio

 

 

I appreciate GreenVirgo's suggestions, which I found helpful.  I hadn't had any classes for years.  My tips: YouTube is a great training tool, there are tons of helpful videos to prepare for the test.  Doing practice tests was good training and knowing the format ahead of time familiarized me with the test so that I knew what to expect.  One's goal when facing the test is not to learn German, but to know how to use the German you have to pass the test.

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17 hours ago, Derek said:

Just doing my B1 practice and wondered about the timing. In the "Lesen" section for example, it (the Goethe practice PDF) says that the total for the Lesen section is 65 minutes, and it breaks down into 10 mins, 15 mins, 10 mins, etc. I wondered whether they're just being helpful with those times and to treat them as useful milestone times to help you pace yourself for the entire Lesen section, or if somehow you have to complete them all in the time allocated (e.g. they come along and take away the text from section 1A after 10 minutes and give you the text for 1B. I'm assuming it's not this strict and that if you struggle on section 1A and spend 20 minutes on it, you could in theory recover your lost time on another section that you find particularly easy.

 

Also, is it like with the einbürgerungtests (where they choose 33 questions to ask you from a total of 310 and you have to get 17 right) as in there are multiple question sets and you might get any random one on the day? For example, row 1 in the exam room might get set A, row 2 get set C etc. It would be good to have multiple practice tests to try. I've only got one currently (from Goethe).

 

 

To answer you questions (albeit on the other thread!):

 

I done TELC, but I think it is basically the same:

If they say you have 65 minutes for the reading section then that is the "timed" section.  The breakdowns are just for guidance and information.

I found that I done one of them much quicker, one a little quicker but the third was probably either bang on or a bit slower than the guidance,  But everybody is different.

 

 

For the einbürgerungtest I think they basically group the questions and then ask a certain number from each group, but I am not certain and this was a feeling I got rather than finding any information.

 

I highly recommend this website:

https://www.einbuergerungstest-online.eu/

 

You can take the test for your state and practice.  At the top there are also different "modus", so you can select the difficultly level.  I started on standard, and then moved to difficult and very difficult.

BUT:  Be aware, that only "standard" has the right mix of questions as per the real exam.  So if you select the more difficult levels, then it won't select from all the questions only the most difficult ones, which means it is not like the real exam.  So I did actually move back down to standard for the last couple of weeks before the exam, so that I could get used to all the questions again.  But it is 

 

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55 minutes ago, dj_jay_smith said:

To answer you questions (albeit on the other thread!):

 

Thanks for the reply. I never got around to posting the question here yet ;-)

 

The einbürgerungstest seems easy enough to get 17 right. I've tried over a 100 questions so far (and will try the other 200 before my test) and got about 80% right so far.

 

It's the German that's scaring me. For the Lesen section I can easily get 28/30 (and 30/30 if I give myself the full alloted time). For the Hören section I found the short sentences with two questions easy, and the middle part easy enough to get 90% on that part, but the final part, where on the Goethe practice test it's an interview between a moderator and two guests talking about Kinderkrippen. I totally lost it on that. There were about 8 questions, of which I got 3 that I knew were right and had to randomly guess on the other 5 (and got 2 or 3 of them right by guessing). I could easily have got 2/8 on that. Scary. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna fail on Schreiben or Sprechen though. My real-time sentence construction (grammar-wise) is good enough for someone to figure out what I'm saying, I get by just fine, but an examiner is gonna nail me to the wall with docked points. Back to England for me then :-(

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1 hour ago, Derek said:

 

Thanks for the reply. I never got around to posting the question here yet ;-)

 

The einbürgerungstest seems easy enough to get 17 right. I've tried over a 100 questions so far (and will try the other 200 before my test) and got about 80% right so far.

 

It's the German that's scaring me. For the Lesen section I can easily get 28/30 (and 30/30 if I give myself the full alloted time). For the Hören section I found the short sentences with two questions easy, and the middle part easy enough to get 90% on that part, but the final part, where on the Goethe practice test it's an interview between a moderator and two guests talking about Kinderkrippen. I totally lost it on that. There were about 8 questions, of which I got 3 that I knew were right and had to randomly guess on the other 5 (and got 2 or 3 of them right by guessing). I could easily have got 2/8 on that. Scary. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna fail on Schreiben or Sprechen though. My real-time sentence construction (grammar-wise) is good enough for someone to figure out what I'm saying, I get by just fine, but an examiner is gonna nail me to the wall with docked points. Back to England for me then :-(

 

 

You don't have to be perfect, and you could be terrible in one section and still pass the exam.

 

I suggest buying an exam prep book (links in this thread) and they are really good, and I put my pass down purely  to getting the book.  It will explain everything about the exam and tell you what to do and what not to do as well as provide lots of example tests.

 

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On 16/03/2019, 15:42:10, Derek said:

 

Thanks for the reply. I never got around to posting the question here yet ;-)

 

The einbürgerungstest seems easy enough to get 17 right. I've tried over a 100 questions so far (and will try the other 200 before my test) and got about 80% right so far.

 

It's the German that's scaring me. For the Lesen section I can easily get 28/30 (and 30/30 if I give myself the full alloted time). For the Hören section I found the short sentences with two questions easy, and the middle part easy enough to get 90% on that part, but the final part, where on the Goethe practice test it's an interview between a moderator and two guests talking about Kinderkrippen. I totally lost it on that. There were about 8 questions, of which I got 3 that I knew were right and had to randomly guess on the other 5 (and got 2 or 3 of them right by guessing). I could easily have got 2/8 on that. Scary. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna fail on Schreiben or Sprechen though. My real-time sentence construction (grammar-wise) is good enough for someone to figure out what I'm saying, I get by just fine, but an examiner is gonna nail me to the wall with docked points. Back to England for me then :-(

 

I answered a bit in the other thread, but just to add. Try not to be so worried. Lesen and Hören (despite my confidence) turned out to be my worst sections (relative - I still passed absolutely fine). So you'll be fine there. Even if you completely balls up a section. The writing (if you stick to the advice) is actually quite easy. Stick to the formula. I got 100% in speaking. If you can get a point across and understand what the other person is saying then it's basically 100%. B1 is still relatively basic. They are not looking to dock points at all. B2 is where they start to become more critical.

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On 3/16/2019, 4:44:18, dj_jay_smith said:

You don't have to be perfect, and you could be terrible in one section and still pass the exam.

 

I suggest buying an exam prep book (links in this thread) and they are really good, and I put my pass down purely  to getting the book.  It will explain everything about the exam and tell you what to do and what not to do as well as provide lots of example tests.

 

1 hour ago, theGman said:

 

I answered a bit in the other thread, but just to add. Try not to be so worried. Lesen and Hören (despite my confidence) turned out to be my worst sections (relative - I still passed absolutely fine). So you'll be fine there. Even if you completely balls up a section. The writing (if you stick to the advice) is actually quite easy. Stick to the formula. I got 100% in speaking. If you can get a point across and understand what the other person is saying then it's basically 100%. B1 is still relatively basic. They are not looking to dock points at all. B2 is where they start to become more critical.

 

Well, I spent about 20 hours over the weekend practicing. I'm averaging over 90% on the Lesen, between 70% and 90% on the Hören (it's the long discussions with multiple questions to be answered at once that get me). The speaking part I haven't been able to score but I'm sure I can pass that without any further thoughts (my Gerwoman has banned English between now and the test). It's the writing that's letting me down and that's what I'll spend most of my time on.

 

I've seen advice that says you need to get a few key phrases locked into your head (e.g. "Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren" of course) and if you can squeeze them into the E-mails/letters then you're half way there. If I do fail though, it'll be the written part. Despite being here for donkeys years, I hardly ever have to write in German as I work for an American company and it's 100% English.

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12 minutes ago, Derek said:

Well, I spent about 20 hours over the weekend practicing. I'm averaging over 90% on the Lesen, between 70% and 90% on the Hören (it's the long discussions with multiple questions to be answered at once that get me). The speaking part I haven't been able to score but I'm sure I can pass that without any further thoughts (my Gerwoman has banned English between now and the test). It's the writing that's letting me down and that's what I'll spend most of my time on.

 

I've seen advice that says you need to get a few key phrases locked into your head (e.g. "Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren" of course) and if you can squeeze them into the E-mails/letters then you're half way there. If I do fail though, it'll be the written part. Despite being here for donkeys years, I hardly ever have to write in German as I work for an American company and it's 100% English.

 

My German writing is also very very shit. If you have time, do the B1 preparation course. It gives you good writing tips...to the point where I only really had to make up 1-2 sentences on the fly. The rest were exactly as you said...key phrases.

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Yes. The 'form' or 'shape' of different responses is a large part of what they are looking for here - that you know how to phrase a reply to a Beamter compared to your neighbour who has invited you for tea etc. and how different forms of writing (letter, email etc) look on the page and that info. is readily available. We had never written any appreciable German before preparing for the test and both did fine. We got to hang onto our listening/reading scripts during the writing part - I don't know if that is normal, but it did mean that in my written answer about renting a flat, I managed to copy several phrases out of the adverts in the reading section, which was cool. 

 

I don't know that much about the marking - one of the Alexs on TT is an examiner and will know for sure, but my impression is that they mark to the requirements of the test, and so perfection is not required just 'good enough' for B1. 

 

I wish I had bought a book specifically for preparing for the written portion, for the peace of mind, mostly. 

 

Good luck!

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9 minutes ago, theGman said:

My German writing is also very very shit. If you have time, do the B1 preparation course. It gives you good writing tips...to the point where I only really had to make up 1-2 sentences on the fly. The rest were exactly as you said...key phrases.

 

8 minutes ago, kiplette said:

Yes. The 'form' or 'shape' of different responses is a large part of what they are looking for here - that you know how to phrase a reply to a Beamter compared to your neighbour who has invited you for tea etc. and how different forms of writing (letter, email etc) look on the page and that info. is readily available. We had never written any appreciable German before preparing for the test and both did fine. We got to hang onto our listening/reading scripts during the writing part - I don't know if that is normal, but it did mean that in my written answer about renting a flat, I managed to copy several phrases out of the adverts in the reading section, which was cool. 

 

I don't know that much about the marking - one of the Alexs on TT is an examiner and will know for sure, but my impression is that they mark to the requirements of the test, and so perfection is not required just 'good enough' for B1. 

 

I wish I had bought a book specifically for preparing for the written portion, for the peace of mind, mostly. 

 

Good luck!

 

There are a couple of good videos on youtube which show dozens and dozens of example German letters (specifically for B1 practice) and the more you see of them, the more you spot phrases. I'm gonna look at some letters I've received from my accountant (who naturally writes quite formally) and various random crap letters that are still around. My sister-in-law is coincidentally a teacher of German to asylum immigrants but I don't like her enough to ask her for help. I did get some tips from her though, pretty much the same as on here.

 

My biggest tip I'd give for anyone who wants to learn German is to ask me how I did it, and do the opposite.

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On 3/18/2019, 11:07:18, theGman said:

 

 

All done. Had my B1 test yesterday. As many have said, it wasn't as bad as you can build it up to be. If I have to give myself an estimate of what I'll get, I'd say Lesen: 90%+, Hören: 95%+, Schreiben: 60-85% (pretty sure it was good enough for a pass), and Sprechen: 80-95%.

 

I asked how long the results will take and she said there's a reasonable chance I could get it within 4 weeks, but it can take up to 8 weeks and I should be prepared for that.

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22 hours ago, Derek said:

 

All done. Had my B1 test yesterday. As many have said, it wasn't as bad as you can build it up to be. If I have to give myself an estimate of what I'll get, I'd say Lesen: 90%+, Hören: 95%+, Schreiben: 60-85% (pretty sure it was good enough for a pass), and Sprechen: 80-95%.

 

I asked how long the results will take and she said there's a reasonable chance I could get it within 4 weeks, but it can take up to 8 weeks and I should be prepared for that.

 

Well done! Definitely post your results here. I'd be interested to know what you got in the writing part.

 

It's definitely not as scary as it can be built up to be. I learnt on the prep course that B1 just requires basic understanding and communication. Grammar doesn't have to be perfect. You don't need to nail your der/die/das. They don't try to trick you in any of the questions. It's all very reasonable. Only at B2 does it start to get serious.

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On 3/25/2019, 9:09:05, theGman said:

Well done! Definitely post your results here. I'd be interested to know what you got in the writing part.

 

Amazed at my results. I got the weakest pass on the part I figured would be weakest (writing), but for that I got 73%.

 

b1b.jpg.b16985076a10ad0c6f6185a0762eb07c

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53 minutes ago, Derek said:

 

Amazed at my results. I got the weakest pass on the part I figured would be weakest (writing), but for that I got 73%.

 

b1b.jpg.b16985076a10ad0c6f6185a0762eb07c

 

Congratulations! See, easy eh. My experience is that it really is easier than one would think. I believe B2 is the step up into technical difficulty. At B1 level, as long as you can roughly get a point across (100% in speaking easily shows that) and more or less understand what is going on, then you'll pass.

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