¿Cuál examen de alemán es para ti? (Árticulo en inglés)

So, you have studied German for a few years and want a certificate to prove how good you are. Which exam should you do? The choice among so many German certificates can be confusing. Let me summarise the main issues for the most important certificates from B1 to C2 according to the European CEFR:

B1 (lower intermediate):

minimum level for immigration and study in a German school

B2 (intermediate):

minimum level for university and work in medical field

C1 (advanced):

accepted to study at university and work in medical sector

C2 (upper advanced):

accepted to study at university and teach in German schools

There are three main institutions that offer exams and certificates which are internationally recognised:

1. Goethe-Institut (Germany) - the main institute for the German language

2. TELC (International) - they have exams for many languages

3. ÖSD (Austria) - now the ÖSD B1 exam can be taken in conjunction with the Goethe-Institut

Unless you specifically want to live and work in Austria, it is advisable to do an exam from the Goethe-Institut or TELC. The level of difficulty between these two institutions will be comparable, though some people say that, at least for the lower level, TELC might be a little easier. However, there is no proof of this and both certificates will be equally recognised. And remember that, whatever your level, you need to spend a lot of time and energy preparing for each exam as they are difficult.

Let's start with the Goethe-Institut certificates which comprise reading, listening, writing and speaking:

Goethe ÖSD Zertifikat B1 3 hours

Goethe Zertifikat B2 3 hours and 15 minute

Goethe Zertifikat C1 3 hours and 25 minutes

Goethe Zertifikat C2 (GDS) 3 hours and 30 minutes

Goethe TestDaF B2-C1 3 hours and 10 minutes

(The TestDAF is an academic exam accepted to study at university and work in Germany)

Now, let's look at the TELC certificates which also comprise reading, listening, writing and speaking:

TELC Deutsch B1 2 hours and 45 minutes

TELC Deutsch B2 2 hours and 35 minutes

TELC Deutsch C1 3 hours and 20 minutes

TELC Deutsch C2 4 hours

There are more German exams, of course. For example, there are business German exams, exams specifically designed for health professionals, etc. However, for most people the choice is between the Goethe-Institut and TELC.

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