German language levels
Learning any foreign language is broken down into levels, including German. The level indicates where you are at in your language learning process. German is assessed according to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). It allows you to assess several language aspects at once: reading, speaking, listening and writing.
Like other languages, German has six levels (three main steps, each with two substeps).
А1 (Anfänger) — Survival rate
This is the entry level, involving the following skills:
- knowledge of the alphabet and simple phrases (introductions, greetings, days of the week, room names, etc.);
- basic phonetic and conversational skills;
- answers to simple questions and the ability to ask counter questions;
- simple conversation on familiar topics (family, work, weather, etc.);
- slow reading of simple texts;
- listening comprehension, with slow and clear pronunciation;
- composing simple sentences;
- basic writing skills (filling in a hotel form, greeting cards, etc.).
А2 (Grundlagen) — Pre-threshold level
This level assumes an uncertain but already more advanced command of German than A1. This includes skills such as:
- reading simple texts and the ability to discuss them;
- broader vocabulary (colors, travel, hobbies, health, etc.);
- reading signs, announcements, signs, etc.;
- listening comprehension of simple texts on familiar topics;
- ability to carry on a simple conversation, answer and ask questions;
- a deeper knowledge of grammar, and thus a more developed speech with the use of correct verb tenses, degrees of adjectives, pronouns, etc.; the ability to read and understand simple texts by ear on familiar topics.
B1 (Aufbau 1) — Threshold
Level B is an independent mastery of the language. It implies:
- more confident knowledge of grammar;
- advanced vocabulary (politics, economics, social topics, etc.);
- the ability to dialog freely on familiar topics;
- the ability to express opinions and speak about more complex topics (fashion, politics, etc.);
- the ability to construct coherent statements about one’s impressions, events, dreams, etc.; the ability to understand the news by ear, as well as the ability to understand the news by listening to it;
- understanding of news by ear, as well as faster speech of the interlocutor;
- confident writing (wishes, description of emotions, etc.).
B2 (Aufbau 2) — Threshold Advanced
This level means that you have a very good command of the language. It is the minimum level for studying at German and Austrian universities.
In terms of language skills, it includes:
- the ability to replace vocabulary with words close in meaning in case of lack of vocabulary;
- understanding of reports, lectures, speeches and arguments of the opponent in a discussion;
- the ability to confidently convey one’s own thoughts and dialog on various topics without prior preparation (economics, history, science, ecology, etc.);
- confident knowledge and application of grammatical rules;
- good listening comprehension;
- ability to understand speech in movies, TV programs and shows, news clips, etc..;
- well-developed writing skills (essays, reports, letters describing events).
C1 (Fortgeschrittene 1) — Professional proficiency
This level assumes an excellent command of German and assumes:
- large lexical baggage;
- extended argumentative speech (close to the native speaker);
- understanding of slang and ability to distinguish accents;
- knowledge of phraseologisms, idioms, proverbs, stable expressions;
- mastery of professional vocabulary;
- fluent and confident oral speech;
- excellent listening comprehension;
- reading literature in the original, as well as technical texts;
- competent writing.
C2 (Fortgeschrittene 2) — Perfectly
It is essentially a native speaker level that suggests:
- the ability to conduct scientific activities and to use narrow professional vocabulary fluently;
- understanding of all types of texts;
- excellent oral skills;
- competent writing and the ability to write any type of text, from letters to reports.
If you are interested in your German level, you can take the online test for free directly on the GermanPapa website.