German, one step at a time - Levels

Our levelling corresponds to the levels set out in the CEF (Common European Framework) for language learning. For the first time, the CEF has created a common standard of levelling for Europe's main languages.

The framework specifies different ability levels for every language and is roughly divided as follows: A for beginners, B for intermediate levels, and C for advanced levels. If you are interested in finding out what level you are, why not take our German language placement test?

For an initial guide, try our short •Online test.

Level A1: Beginners and False Beginners

Upon completion of this level, you can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases. You can introduce yourself and others. You can also ask and answer questions about personal details, such as where you live, people you know, and things you have. You can interact in a simple way, provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

Level A2: Basic German Knowledge

When you successfully complete this level, you are able to understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).

You can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a basic and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. You can describe aspects of your background, immediate environment, and needs in simple terms.

Level B1: Pre-Intemediate

At the end of this level, you can understand the main points of clear standard language on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. You can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.

You can produce simple, connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. You can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions, and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. You are ready for the Zertifikat Deutsch (ZD) exam.

Level B2: Intermediate

By the end of this level, you can understand the main ideas of complex texts on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in your field of specialisation. You can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for you or your conversation partner.

You can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options. You are ready for the Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf (ZD Beruf) exam, and for strong learners, the Zentrale Mittelstufenprüfung (ZMP).

Level C1: Upper Intermediate

Completing this level means you can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. You can express yourself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. You can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic, and professional purposes.

You can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors, and cohesive devices. You should be able to pass the Zentrale Mittelstufenprüfung (ZMP) without trouble.

Level C2: Advanced

Reaching the end of this level you have shown that you can easily understand virtually everything heard or read. You can summarise information from different spoken and written sources; and reconstruct arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.

You can express yourself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.

Possible exams at this level are the Kleine Deutsche Sprachdiplom (KDS), the Große Deutsche Sprachdiplom (GDS), Deutsch für den Sprachlichen Hochschulzugang (DSH) or the Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung (ZOP).


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