C2 Language Exam Tips?

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This is probably in the wrong subforum, apologies. I also could not find any recent information on the subject by using the search bar.

 

I am taking the C2 language exam in a few months. Has anyone done this recently or within the past few years? I have already looked over the practice materials on the Goethe Institute's website, but was just hoping maybe someone would have some tips or tricks, perhaps a story to tell about their own experience taking it.

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Hi lotsofballons,

I did the C2 Goethe "Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom" ages ago, back in 1995, so my information probably will not help you

much. At the time I had been in Germany for 12 years. I went to a prep course at the Volkshochschule twice a week for several 

months, although my German was already very good. As I remember, we read and discussed Goethe's "Iphigenie auf Tauris", 

Christoph Meckel "Suchbild. Über meinen Vater", Fritz Zorn "Mars" and Schiller's "Die Räuber" and several other books, but I can't 

remember now which ones those were. We also discussed topics such as German politics, the Verfassung and Grundgesetz, etc.

From a linguistic perspective, I would not have needed to do the course, but there were a number of questions on the exam 

pertaining to the literature we had read. I was well prepared and had a bit of luck - I passed both the written and oral exams with

a "sehr gut". 

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On 30.8.2017, 15:57:59, Tammodar said:

Hi lotsofballons,

I did the C2 Goethe "Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom" ages ago, back in 1995, so my information probably will not help you

much. At the time I had been in Germany for 12 years. I went to a prep course at the Volkshochschule twice a week for several 

months, although my German was already very good. As I remember, we read and discussed Goethe's "Iphigenie auf Tauris", 

Christoph Meckel "Suchbild. Über meinen Vater", Fritz Zorn "Mars" and Schiller's "Die Räuber" and several other books, but I can't 

remember now which ones those were. We also discussed topics such as German politics, the Verfassung and Grundgesetz, etc.

From a linguistic perspective, I would not have needed to do the course, but there were a number of questions on the exam 

pertaining to the literature we had read. I was well prepared and had a bit of luck - I passed both the written and oral exams with

a "sehr gut". 

 

Thanks for your reply! I appreciate it. Do you maybe recall if grammar was one of the important items on the exam? I used to know all the "rules" and have slowly started to forget them. Would it be worth brushing up on them?

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There were questions on grammar based on a short text and some more on the "multiple guess" section, if I 

remember correctly. The most difficult part of the exam was the essay. I was given a choice out of 5 or 6 topics

and had three hours time to write an essay on one of them. I spent the first ten minutes or so to make on outline 

of an introduction, a main body of argumentation and a conclusion on a scrap piece of paper. I think I wrote about 

20 pages - my hand was aching by the time I was finished, about ten minutes before the time was up. I noticed that 

some of the other people in the exam room couldn't think of anything to write. I received the results about two months

later.  The essay topics given were very general so that everybody could find something to write about. You may wish 

to practice writing essays and expect to be asked to explain the grammar used in a passage of text. Hope that helps!

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28 minutes ago, Tammodar said:

 I was given a choice out of 5 or 6 topics and had three hours time to write an essay on one of them. I spent the first ten minutes or so to make on outline 

of an introduction, a main body of argumentation and a conclusion on a scrap piece of paper. I think I wrote about 

20 pages - my hand was aching by the time I was finished, about ten minutes before the time was up. I noticed that 

some of the other people in the exam room couldn't think of anything to write.

So what were these people doing for three hours then :blink:?

 

Was a bit like Mr. Bean in following scene?

 

Especially the last 40 seconds are hilarious.

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Thought I might update this thread with my own experience. I took the C2 exam this year and passed 3 out of 4 parts. 

 A little background: German is my fourth language - I speak English and Portuguese fluently and a passable French too, and can understand most of the other latin languages, so I can safely say that I am somewhat sprachlich begabt. I have lived in Germany for over six years and have worked in German for at least 4 (I used to teach in English before). I took the integration course up to the A2.2 when I first arrived and then 2 years later studied alone for the B2 exam and passed.
Didn't have time to attend a preparation course but I took once a week private lessons and did a lot of work at home. I wouldn't have made it on my own. I started lessons about six months before taking the exam.

 

The price is around 300€ and it takes the whole day. The way it is organized can be looked up and on goethe's website there are past exams you can download as examples, so I won't go into that.

 

What helped me:

- listening to NDR info whenever I could (hochdeutsch and really good formulierungen)

- restudying ALL grammar again. I cannot stress this enough. I had a big board of declinations above my desk. Passive voice. Futur II. Ugh. 

- writing. A lot. Every week. Preparing for the oral part? Write it first. Then getting someone to correct it. Put commas in strange places, people! That will be taken into account.

- choose the reading and preparing the Buchrezension for the writing bit. I learned my header and conclusion by heart and just had to fill in the middle

- don't forget you need 60/100 to pass each of the parts. I got 58 in the oral part. I was nervous and exhausted after hours of sitting in this room. Meh.

- do mock exams in preparation in real time. Yep, 4 hours in a row. Training concentration is die halbe Miete.

- don't write in denglisch haha

 

Anyway, main advice here is not to approach this lightly. I believe there are many germans who wouldn't be able to pass this test. Feel free to PM me if you want any more specific advice. 
 

I signed up for the oral part again in January, wish me luck. Nothing like a few days in France before to push all german out of my brain... 
 

 

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7 hours ago, Imanuxuf said:

Thought I might update this thread with my own experience. I took the C2 exam this year and passed 3 out of 4 parts. 

 A little background: German is my fourth language - I speak English and Portuguese fluently and a passable French too, and can understand most of the other latin languages, so I can safely say that I am somewhat sprachlich begabt. I have lived in Germany for over six years and have worked in German for at least 4 (I used to teach in English before). I took the integration course up to the A2.2 when I first arrived and then 2 years later studied alone for the B2 exam and passed.
Didn't have time to attend a preparation course but I took once a week private lessons and did a lot of work at home. I wouldn't have made it on my own. I started lessons about six months before taking the exam.

 

The price is around 300€ and it takes the whole day. The way it is organized can be looked up and on goethe's website there are past exams you can download as examples, so I won't go into that.

 

What helped me:

- listening to NDR info whenever I could (hochdeutsch and really good formulierungen)

- restudying ALL grammar again. I cannot stress this enough. I had a big board of declinations above my desk. Passive voice. Futur II. Ugh. 

- writing. A lot. Every week. Preparing for the oral part? Write it first. Then getting someone to correct it. Put commas in strange places, people! That will be taken into account.

- choose the reading and preparing the Buchrezension for the writing bit. I learned my header and conclusion by heart and just had to fill in the middle

- don't forget you need 60/100 to pass each of the parts. I got 58 in the oral part. I was nervous and exhausted after hours of sitting in this room. Meh.

- do mock exams in preparation in real time. Yep, 4 hours in a row. Training concentration is die halbe Miete.

- don't write in denglisch haha

 

Anyway, main advice here is not to approach this lightly. I believe there are many germans who wouldn't be able to pass this test. Feel free to PM me if you want any more specific advice. 
 

I signed up for the oral part again in January, wish me luck. Nothing like a few days in France before to push all german out of my brain... 
 

 

 

I’m curious as to why you needed a C2 certificate. I never thought I’d need anything beyond a C1, but maybe that’s because my job is in English? I guess I just want to know under what circumstances does one need a C2 certificate.

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I took it to get my teaching diploma officially annerkant, to teach in a Gymnasium. I haven't gotten round to it yet and and after a year working at a state school (underpaid because said diploma wasn't annerkant) I don't plan on teaching in a regular school ever again, so now it all seems a bit pointless. But I am almost done with it, so might as well finish it. 

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3 hours ago, Imanuxuf said:

I took it to get my teaching diploma officially annerkant, to teach in a Gymnasium. I haven't gotten round to it yet and and after a year working at a state school (underpaid because said diploma wasn't annerkant) I don't plan on teaching in a regular school ever again, so now it all seems a bit pointless. But I am almost done with it, so might as well finish it. 

I would definitely finish it, if I were you. 

 

My wife did her 1. Staatsexam in Saxony but never finished her 2. Staatsexam because she got a job as a Lecturer at the Uni and has worked in that job for 20 years.  Now we don't live near a Uni and she looked into teaching at a Gymnasium.  No chance.  No one cares if she has taught at a top University for two decades nor if she has had completed the same theorectical coursework with top marks. She would have to go back to square one. 

 

The moral of the story is that if you live in Germany, get as many pieces of certified paper as you can. You never know when you might need it.

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Just because I don't plan on teaching in a school atm doesn't mean I might at some some point in the future. Like I said, I passed 3 out of 4 parts so going in for 15 minutes to finish the last bit doesn't seem to me like mindless box crossing. But hey, to each their own. 
Mindless non constructive judging rools.

 

edit: I realize I said I didn't want to teach at a state school ever again. Life is change, so I'm willing to accept that my very final statment might also. Besides, this exam can help me in other things too.

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Did I NEED the C2 certificate? No, not really, it was not a prerequisite for anything else. But ten years

later when I finally decided to get dual citzenship and went for the interview at the Landratsamt, the 

Beamter ask me "Do you have any proof of your knowledge of the German language?". We had been 

speaking German during the interview - of course! I gave him a copy of the C2 certificate and he said

"OK, that will do" and went on to the next question. No language test, no further questions about my 

German. I have also used it for job applications, etc. - same again, no further questions concerning 

my ability to communicate in German. For that it was worth the effort, and for my own personal 

satisfaction.

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I did C2 a couple of years back. I was considering doing a masters course which it was needed for. I haven't gone ahead with that yet, but the C2 came in handy for my Einbürgerung anyway :)

I did a course at the VHS in Heidelberg which was very useful. Practice at home is great, and necessary, but it helps to have someone who knows the system  pointing out your foibles as well.

In case it helps, here are some of the tips I picked up for passing the oral part of the exam:

-  Take your time. People have a tendency to speak faster when nervous, so remember to slow down. You use up more of the exam time that way as well!

-  Learn your intro. At the start they will ask you to say a bit about yourself and why you are doing the exam. You have plenty of time in advance to prepare that part so make the most of it. Try not to sound like a parrot reciting it, though!

-  Make clear notes for your presentation. You're given 10 minutes or so just before the exam to prepare a topic for a brief presentation. Use this time well. Don't over-complicate things, & make some good, brief notes so you don't lose the thread.

-  Don't expect a reaction. When you give the presentation, the examiners are apparently supposed to remain absolutely neutral. So don't worry if they just sit there with blank looks on their faces :) 

-  Take control. Without overdoing it, make the conversation go the way you want it to.  Obviously you have to show you understood their question but if you don't have a ready answer change it into something you can answer. Along the lines of, "Yes, I understand that it is important to think about XYZ, but people also need to consider ABC, and here's why..." (chance to release your inner politician ;) )

-  Don't be afraid to seek clarification if you're not sure, rather than launching off with an answer to something they didn't ask. Related to this, it uses up more time if (again, in moderation) you re-phrase their question when you answer. E.g. "So, to make sure I have understood you correctly, you are asking me ...bla bla bla. Well, I think...(answer)"

-  Learn some debating phrases. Unless things have changed since I sat the exam, the last part of the oral is a debate where you have to argue one side of an argument and one of the examiners takes the opposing view. You will need to say things like "I have to disagree with you there; there are many people who hold a differering opinion; I take your point, but..." etc etc and you can learn suitable German phrases in advance. Ideally, practise this with a native-speaking friend. I'm told, by the way, that some examiners can really get into character and turn very mean and antagonistic at this point. Don't take it personally and don't let it throw you. Remember it's only a role-play.

-  The best tip my tutor gave me so I have saved it until last: LIE!! It is an exam, a role-play. You have to demonstrate you can understand and speak German. So long as you do that, absolutely nothing you say needs to be true, and the opinions you present do not have to be your own. Say whatever you have the vocabulary for. This also helps you avoid the mistake of thinking what you want to say in your native language and then trying to translate it into German.

 

I have to say, the last tip worked for me but it did make me feel rather uncomfortable. My presentation was about students taking a gap year, and the discussion afterwards developed into a lovely cosy chat about all the things my kids were up to. The examiner unbent from her neutrality and seemed really interested. I had, however, borrowed and embellished the experiences of other people's kids for the purposes of the conversation. Felt a bit mean about that, but I passed so I guess it paid off...

 

Hope that helps!

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Hi Prosie,

 

great tips!

About that lying bit... Exactly what happened to me. I got cornered into defending a point of view that I didn't agree with and did very badly pretending I did. I'll def keep that in mind! Also I think in general I focused my study too much on the other parts of the exam, trusting that my speaking skills would do the job, but now I see I really have to prepare for it too. 

 

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This is not a language test, it is more a test of intelligence and presentation skills. I just went through the equivalent in French. :blink: No idea what the socially incompetent/non academics do. I was not brilliant and I have a university education.

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On 12/17/2019, 5:32:05, Imanuxuf said:

Hi Prosie,

 

great tips!

About that lying bit... Exactly what happened to me. I got cornered into defending a point of view that I didn't agree with and did very badly pretending I did. I'll def keep that in mind! Also I think in general I focused my study too much on the other parts of the exam, trusting that my speaking skills would do the job, but now I see I really have to prepare for it too. 

 

I'm sure you'll do fine next time round. You know what to expect now :) Let us know how you get on!

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I always advice others to focus on the following 2 tips i.e Don't neglect the verbal and Consider using flashcards.

 

They both are key towards success

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