Examinations in the German Language

Preparation classes and testing at the GERMAN online SCHOOL in Southern California 2015/2016

Ursula Schoeneich, Principal

Dear Parents and Guardians,
Throughout the school year, we try to assess all of our students in levels AATG 1 – 4 and A1 to B1 and up and tutor our AP students.

We have a broad spectrum of tests available to select the ones that best fit the level of each student. For students after the 1st year of German, we offer a multiple-choice test online. For the more advanced students, the test is a multiple-choice test on their level. Our most advanced students have the opportunity to take a number of tests that assess their abilities and assist with advanced placement in high school or even in college. To receive full credit, students need to access and enrolled in classes.

This document will give you a summary of the different tests.

  • The American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) is the official organization for German teachers in the USA. Every year, they offer four tests called National German Examination (NGE). The first one, AATG level 1, has multiple-choice questions concerning grammar and reading comprehension. The other three tests, AATG levels 2-4, also include a listening comprehension part and all tests have to be mailed in for scoring. Our students are then given a raw score and their performance is rated on a national basis. Successful completion of the level 4 test may help students to be placed in a higher-level language class in high school. The level 1, 2, 3, 4 tests are administered at the very beginning of January at GERMAN online SCHOOL. A few of our students have taken and passed these exams successfully in the past. For more information, please check https://www.aatg.org/
  • The Advanced Placement (AP) test for college credit. This test, about three hours long, includes listening and reading comprehension, grammar, essay writing, cultural competency, and speaking to a test person. It is administered in early spring at a designated high school we choose for you. Homeschooled students and students whose schools do not offer AP must contact AP Coordinators identified by AP Services by a specific date which is beginning of March. For more information, please check: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com

The tests described so far are made in the USA and geared towards high school students studying German in American schools. Below you’ll find the description of tests developed in Germany.

  • Level A2 , and DSD I B1 and DSD II B2 / C1 (DSD I and DSD II -Deutsches Sprachdiplom) The German Government/ Office of German Schools Abroad in Cologne (Bundesverwaltungsamt, Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen in Köln; BVA/ZfA) offers appropriate tests for younger learners who are studying German at German schools or German language schools abroad. The standardized German exams are based on language levels determined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages CEFR (Gemeinsamer Europäischer Referenzrahmen, GER). The framework also has the goal to establish standards and benchmarks for the different steps in language acquisition. All language materials and examinations developed within the context of the European Union are following this framework in order to facilitate comparison between the different countries. There are six levels in total: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. C2 equals native speaker proficiency.

For more on the European Framework, please go to: http://www.auslandschulwesen.de/fachberatung

There are three levels of examination offered:

  • A2 –provides proof of German language profiency at the A2 level ( students age 13+)
    Provides career advantages when applying for jobs or vocational school in Germany.
  • DSD I – B1 provides proof of German language profiency required for admission to preparatory courses at so-called Studienkolleg at a German university.
    Our older (14+) and more advanced students might take the DSD I. The test is similar to an AP examination, except that the topics are geared towards younger audiences. Another difference is that the students have to give a short intelligent oral presentation about a topic of their choice in front of a BVA/ZfA approved representative. They will also have to answer pertinent questions quite fluently. Cultural competency has to be demonstrated throughout the examination. The written examination section is sent to Germany and graded there. The maximum point value is 96. Students need to receive 12/24 points on each of the four parts of the exam (listening comprehension/reading comprehension/oral communication and written communication) to receive the B1 diploma. If a student receives less than 12 points for one part, he/she may still get the A2 diploma.
  • DSD II (B2 / C1) provides proof of German language profiency required for admission to many institutions of higher education such as universities in Germany. DSD II assumes an excellent command of German with about 800 – 1200 hours of instruction. (Students age will be older than 16+.)
    DSD II is almost the equivalent of an Abitur Prüfung in German. It is more difficult than the AP. Students must do 2 oral presentations in front of the representatives from Germany (one prepared beforehand, one not). The students need to show mastery of the German language and culture. In addition, they need to show that they can understand and present difficult and controversial topics. An example could be “The development of the German social system.” Students must demonstrate critical thinking skills in their essay and in their oral presentations.
    DSD exam results do not expire.

How to Get Into a German University

Because many ask this question, I would like to end our overview with a very short summary of what it takes to get into a German university. This is by no means complete.

  1. You need to get an equivalency of a German Abitur, the very difficult high school exit exam (usually, a certain number of AP tests and SAT scores are required, plus 1 year of study at a 4-year institution – NOT a community college!)
  2. Your grades need to be good enough to get a place in a German university (Numerus Clausus: certain subjects require a certain overall GPA, SAT score, etc.)
  3. You need to show your mastery of the German language (AP German test, Goethe-Institut diplomas, DSD II)

A representative of the ZfA (Central Agency for Schools Abroad) referred us to the links below.

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