Questions for those who have achieved =>B2 exams

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If you're already in Germany, WDR-5 is good to listen to. Mostly news during the day, but variety shows and interviews in the evenings.

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I studied in a joint B2/C1 level course and my teacher pushed me to do the C1 exam. (Goethe)

 

I didn't get a huge amount of speaking practice in class because the teacher was very structured and would never deviate from her plan, but I tried to speak as much as I could outside the class.

 

Flash cards were very helpful. Watching tv was ok but a bit trying after awhile (how many Krimi's or Haus/Familie Rettung shows can you watch? Really?)

 

I don't know about the B2 test, but by far the most difficult thing any of us who did the C1 test found was the reading comprehension. I know I didn't do a lot of that in my studies. I love to read and it just frustrates me too much to plug away at something I'm not following so there wasn't a lot or practice, which I regretted as soon as I saw the text in the exam. The level was significantly higher than anything we'd been given in class and we all thought we'd failed after that.

 

My schedule was flashcards, emails, online news in German and trying to commit the new words to memory (but not in any huge depth). I did buy past exams and they were helpful to get a sense of the timing needed for the exam, but not so much for content.

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Tokeshu, did you pass the C1 exams?

 

Can any of you share the themes/topics from the various exams, if you can remember them please? What did you have to write and speak about?

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JasmineStar

 

I DID pass but I suspect by the skin of my teeth. I scored a 'befriedigend' rating overall - mainly because my reading comprehension was an abject disaster. Of the 6 of us from my course who sat the C1 test (Goethe), 2 of us got through. I was lucky in that my listening comprehension was very good and my written component was also ok. The oral exam was not considered a part of the written exam - if you passed the oral exam and failed the written, you could come back and just re-sit the written test. I think you had get at least....(don't quote me on this...) 60% overall in the written component to score a passing grade. Could be more, I've blocked it from my memory!

 

I can't remember specifics but I know the written response section offered a few choices and pretty much everyone I spoke with who'd done the test with me chose to respond to a text about pet ownership in the EU. There may have been something about single child families as well. The rest I've long forgotten.

 

The reading comprehension was something about new university structures if I recall (but like I said, I understood pretty much nothing).

 

In the oral exam you're faced with a table full of cards from which you select one at random for your monologue and (again - a bit fuzzy on the details) you select another with your partner to demonstrate your conversation skills. I really can't remember what this was in my case.

 

My monologue was all about self help books - which was blind luck because I used to be a psychologist once upon a time, so I had a few opinions I was quite happy to share.

 

My partner's monologue was 'klatschen' and the poor girl started off talking about applause to this trio of stony faced cows who let her go for 5 minutes and then interrupted her and asked her if she understood exactly what 'klatschen' meant (they were looking for 'gossip'). I think there was enough info on the card to have provided this context, but with the stress and adrenaline dump after the written test, my partner obviously fixated on the one word that jumped out at her and ran with it. She was good too - but the examiners were not nice (I guess they don't have to be, but still...) and shot her down pretty badly, which rattled her so much she couldn't finish her monologue.

 

I've heard horror stories about the examiners and I've heard people who seem to have been very lucky - that's just a roll of the dice. Here's a tip though - get there early and grab a seat close to the cd player (usually the front of the room). Our examination room was on the top floor of a building that fronted the town marketplace. The bloody church bell started ringing during the listening test, but our examiner would have died before she let us listen to the cd again. I was fortunate enough to not have missed too much because I was right in front of the cd player, but the people at the back of the room didn't have a chance.

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Thanks Tokeshu. It frustrates me when I hear stories like that of your partner, who has strong ability, but is flawed by a word. I can imagine myself in that situation. The short timeframes to prepare create a lot of stress. I watched some practice oral exams earlier this year, and 1 team messed up their planning something in a city task, because they didn't recognise a word for young children, and so were suggesting bars and restaurants inappropriately. A person in 1 of the other teams had no idea what they were supposed to be discussing, so was only answering with "yes" or "no" to questions from their partners, answering "no" when the other partners has agreed "yes" but not offering any justification, and leaving uncomfortable silences, because she had no idea what the theme was.

 

Are you still learning German formally or informally?

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What exactly are these exams??? I met my German now ex wife while in England in 1999, I moved overfrom the USA in 2000, came as tourist, found a job to sponsor me and now have permanent resedency. I have neaver heard of these exams untill I started reading this forum. Do you need them for anything? My German is quite good, almost native now.

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I would highly recommend listening to music or watching comedy (above your current niveau) in the target language. Regularly. Cause it's entertainment, yo.

 

YouTube was my best friend when I was in college studying German, and it's free!

 

Without question, on par, importance wise, with practicing your German with others over drinks - even if it's with other students who may make mistakes themselves. Key here is working on your pace, efficiency and confidence.

 

On the other hand, completely foreign and new phrases and expressions are best learned in the proper context, and watching a comedy skit with a sharp ear and a dictionary at the ready is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to understand complex contemporary expressions. I would recommend that you start "dumb" ("Was guckst du", "Ladykracher", etc.) and work your way up.

 

The fact that you can pause and rewind if you don't really "get it" is also pretty damn neat.

 

In a similar vein.. an old student of mine who speaks really good English rang me up yesterday evening for a chat and a couple of vocabulary questions.

 

Thanks to me, she has discovered Midsomer Murders (Inpsector Barnaby) in English on youtube and said she watched the Written in Blood episode and has about 3 pages full of new vocabulary... like slow-acting poison, firing squad, feud and so on.

 

I was very impressed.

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What exactly are these exams??? I met my German now ex wife while in England in 1999, I moved overfrom the USA in 2000, came as tourist, found a job to sponsor me and now have permanent resedency. I have neaver heard of these exams untill I started reading this forum. Do you need them for anything? My German is quite good, almost native now.

 

Hello. These exams relate to language learning (not just German, although here we are only discussing German exams). I am specifically asking for experiences from those who have achieved the level B2 or higher, but there are also levels below B2 called A1, A2 and B1, that reflect people being less skilled. When we discuss levels of learning, these include a corresponding reading, speaking, writing and comprehension focus. I mention this, because you state that your German is quite good, without clarifying what that means. Have a look at websites from TELC and GOETHE for more information about the expectations for each level.

 

As to whether people need them, it's not as simple as yes or no.

Sometimes a job will require evidence of a certain proficiency in a language, so people have to produce certificates of having achieved the particular level in the particular language.

Sometimes people just enjoy studying, so a course at their particular level without exams is enough for them (of course, they would have to do unofficial placement exams at the start to have an idea what level they are at).

Sometimes people complete courses (but not exams) up to a particular level and then take an exam (half the class I study with now will only take exams when they are at C2 level, whereas the other half take exams at the end of each course).

 

The language learning journey means different things to different people. Some people learn for the joy of learning, so are very motivated whether in a course or not. Some people are clueless about their linguistic ability, so what they tell you is not the reality. Plenty of people in society ignorantly see only 2 possibilities with language command - to have it, or to not. They don't understand that there are levels of ability.

 

On reflection of the 2 schools I have attended, I don't rate the teaching and approach even as average. They are stuck in old-fashioned ideas of teaching and promote old-fashioned stereotypes of women, sexuality, work and race.

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Thanks Tokeshu. It frustrates me when I hear stories like that of your partner, who has strong ability, but is flawed by a word. I can imagine myself in that situation. The short timeframes to prepare create a lot of stress. I watched some practice oral exams earlier this year, and 1 team messed up their planning something in a city task, because they didn't recognise a word for young children, and so were suggesting bars and restaurants inappropriately. A person in 1 of the other teams had no idea what they were supposed to be discussing, so was only answering with "yes" or "no" to questions from their partners, answering "no" when the other partners has agreed "yes" but not offering any justification, and leaving uncomfortable silences, because she had no idea what the theme was.

 

Are you still learning German formally or informally?

 

To be honest with you, I've spoken very little since the test and I'd say my ability has gone a bit. There was a situation toward the end of that year that so floored me I just thought "fuck it - I've had enough of this country and I'm not speaking this horrid language again" - which is pretty dopey in hindsight because it's only hurting me, but I was so dejected I just couldn't be bothered trying anymore. The truth of the matter is, I just don't like the language. I don't find it pleasant to use, it's overly fussy and complicated, and it feels very inflexible and structured to me (probably because I don't know it well enough to know otherwise) - and I'm anything but a structured inflexible person, so it kind of grates on me psychologically. Couple that with the fact that my wife is so native level with her English even Australians mistake her for an Aussie, and it's the language she herself finds it easier to communicate in, and I just don't speak a lot of German other than when I need to.

 

You're quite right about the spoken component of the test. It didn't happen in my case, but I heard a few other people complain that their partners had more or less dominated the conversation and it had supposedly cost them marks because all they could do was respond. Make sure you get to have your say as well!

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BTW has anyone done B2 TELC exam recently? If so, can you tell me what did you get for Mundliche Profung and for Brief themes? Just out of curiosity... TIA!

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I did alot of practice tests. You can find a few practice tests for free on the Goethe Institute website.

There are also loads of books designed for preparing people for the B2 tests. I imagine you could find them at a German public library or you could buy one through Amazon. The books also give test-taking strategies which are helpful. I just did the B2 test back in April after attending lessons at the Goethe Institute in Berlin for three months. The instructors also gave lots of advice on things to look for. Sometimes you just have to be good at taking tests, if you know what I mean.

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I did Telc B2 recently, and came away pretty despondent. I had a problematic "partner" who focused on talking at the examiners and not with me, and the rest of it irritated everyone I spoke with. I've resolved to stay away from exams, as they kill my joy in learning. The exam overall was unnecessarily difficult and, as normal, no reflection of living with a language. The formal letter writing section is needlessly painful, and cannot represent anything meaningful in living with a language, because of the need to do so many activities in 30 mins. I left the writing part wondering why they can't declare the types of letter in advance, because that's something you would know in real life if the need to write a formal letter is there.

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To complete the story, I got my results yesterday, and I have passed. I'm happy to forget the exams now, and just focus on learning for the joy of learning, because the experienc of taking the exams was really deflating.

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On 6/1/2014, 5:31:04, tokeshu said:

I just thought "fuck it - I've had enough of this country and I'm not speaking this horrid language again" - which is pretty dopey in hindsight because it's only hurting me, but I was so dejected I just couldn't be bothered trying anymore.

 

Do you still stick to this thought, even after reaching the C1 level, or was it a moment of frustration and you went on speaking German after a while?

 

On 7/26/2014, 11:27:56, JasmineStar said:

To complete the story, I got my results yesterday, and I have passed.

 

Do you mind if i ask what your score was?

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On 7/23/2014, 10:07:41, JasmineStar said:

I did Telc B2 recently, and came away pretty despondent. I had a problematic "partner" who focused on talking at the examiners and not with me, and the rest of it irritated everyone I spoke with. I've resolved to stay away from exams, as they kill my joy in learning. The exam overall was unnecessarily difficult and, as normal, no reflection of living with a language. The formal letter writing section is needlessly painful, and cannot represent anything meaningful in living with a language, because of the need to do so many activities in 30 mins. I left the writing part wondering why they can't declare the types of letter in advance, because that's something you would know in real life if the need to write a formal letter is there.

 

Can you recommend a book with several model tests for Telc B2? (other than the free online sample test)

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On 10/11/2019, 7:54:51, TurMech said:

 

Do you still stick to this thought, even after reaching the C1 level, or was it a moment of frustration and you went on speaking German after a while?

 

 

I still have my moments, let's put it this way!

I still live a mainly English life here. Still only speak English with my wife, still work in English for the most part. I think my has dropped since that exam but I can hold my own well enough if it's just chatting or socialising.

 

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On 15.10.2019, 15:05:51, niland said:

Can you recommend a book with several model tests for Telc B2? (other than the free online sample test)

 

This book is used by most of the testtakers. It has 3 Sample exams and one example, defining how the strategy during the exam should be.

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I took German up to C2 but have lived and worked in an English bubble with basic day to day German for years. I do not watch German TV because initially I hate dubbing and don't like the German news style and settled into dvds and Netflix.

Had a little trip to France last week and enjoyed hearing the French language. 

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55 minutes ago, TurMech said:

 

This book is used by most of the testtakers. It has 3 Sample exams and one example, defining how the strategy during the exam should be.

 

Thanks.

If I am not wrong, in this book there are no solutions provided for the writing part of the model tests (e.g. letters). Or? 

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2 minutes ago, niland said:

 

Thanks.

If I am not wrong, in this book there are no solutions provided for the writing part of the model tests (e.g. a letter). Or? 

 

In the first part there are letter examples, but of course there is no such "solution" to the writing part of the sample exams, as there can't be a defined solution to a letter. You should follow the rules, and write something spontaneously. 

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