Before moving to Germany to join my German husband, just like anyone whose spouse is a citizen of Germany, I took the A1 German exam and acquired a certificate which was a mandatory requirement of the country.
That said, If you’re planning to accomplish the same, moving to Germany to join your spouse or apply for an Au Pair, you must at least had taken an A1 German exam, passed it, and have a certificate. You can take the German language course at any Goethe school or International school that offers the language course.
Updated January 2022.
- What’s A1 German exam and Certificate?
- Taking the A1 German Exam
- The flow of A1 German exam
- Example of Speaking test
- Example of the writing test
- Tips for the writing test
- The A1 German exam result
- A1 German Certificate
- A1 German exam tips, preparation, and samples & exercises
- Writing and reading (Schreiben and Lesen) Samples & exercises( A1 reviewer)
- How to pass the A1 German exam and get a certificate?
- Frequently asked questions about A1 (faqs)
- A1 for visa application
What’s A1 German exam and Certificate?
Start Deutsch 1 or also known as A1, is a German exam for adults. It is the most basic level of Deutsch or German language. Having an A1 certificate is proof and certifies that you have a background and knowledge of the German language. In other words, you can communicate with the person using the language if he’s speaking to you slowly and clearly. Moreover, the German Certificate will be given to you once you have passed the exam.
The German language courses start from the A1-C2 level.
Where and how to begin
I studied from A1-A2 German language course at Goethe Institute Manila.
Some people who took the A1 Deutsch Exam at Goethe Institute Manila that I spoke to said they just did a self-study. The self-study was also good and also beneficial. There are loads of handouts and materials you can check online to support your study, and that’s doable.
Taking the A1 German Exam
Before taking the A1 German exam, you first have to make an appointment at Goethe Institute. It depends on which branch you would like to. They have one in Cebu and Manila, the one in Salcedo Village, Makati. I chose the latter.
STEP BY STEP PROCESS
- Simply go to Goethe Institute’s official website and click the online registration form.
- It will then direct you to upload your official documents for identity verification, such as a valid passport Id or NBI clearance. One valid Id is already sufficient enough.
- Wait until you receive an email for a confirmation.
- After receiving the email, it will also show you how the options for payment.
- There are several ways to pay via LBC, or bank transfer, in Peso or Euro.
- In my case, I opted to pay via bank transfer.
For modes of payment for the A1 exam, please refer to Goethe Institute official website for the updated process.
📌Note: The bank transfers may take 2-3 working days to be processed for your A1 German exam. Prioritize to pay in advance to make sure they receive the payment before the deadline. Keep an eye on the deadline. Also, to better secure your slot as Goethe Institute Manila only guarantees your place once the payment was received, especially during this pandemic. I think it’s a bit more challenging as slots have been limited.
The flow of A1 German exam
Each test was divided into four (4) parts.
- Writing | Schreiben
- Reading | Lesen
- Listening | Hören
- Speaking | Sprechen
Writing | Schreiben Part.
- The writing part of A1 German exam was set for only 30minutes and consisted of couple of questions. They’re basically what you’ve learned and studied during the language course. For example, sending an invitation, writing a postcard or a letter. Therefore, it’s important to practice writing these as they also played big points in the test. They don’t have to be in perfect grammar, but it’s also a good deal if it’s written correctly and understandable.
Reading | Lesen Part
- The reading part is relatively similar to the writing part. There will be some situations that come with choices to choose from. Thirty (30) minutes allotted time.
Listening | Hören.
- In this listening part, there’s an audio going to be played. Like a situation, for example, in the train station, a shor conversation with a neighbor, or asking a stranger about the time. This could be a daily life circumstances. Focus on listening as it’s quite confusing. Words could be a little bit difficult to understand.
Speaking | Sprechen.
- The speaking’s first part is to introduce yourself in German. Second, images and photos are going to be presented and asked to explain and say something about it. Lastly, create a question to the co examiner.
Example of Speaking test
Don’t fret on this part, Atme Tief Durch ( breath deep). You got this!
Moderator: Please introduce yourself | Stell Dich bitter vor
Me: Hallo, mein name ist Catherine Mendoza, Ich bin dreizig jahre alt, Ich komme aus den Philippinen und lebe ich in Makati. Ich bin Englisch lehrerin als arbeit und meine hobbies sind Blog Schreiben und Ein Buch lessen.
Translation: My name is Catherine. I am 30 years old, I’m from the Philippines, and I live in Makati. I am an English teacher as a profession, and my hobbies are writing blogs and reading books.
Moderator: Spell your last name, please | Buschtabierren sie Ihren Nachnamen bitte.
Moderator: What’s your cell number? | Was ist Deine Handynummer, bitte?
Moderator: What is your postal code? Was ist Deine Postleitzahl
Me: 2-4-1-8. Zwei, vier, eins, acht
The important point here is to learn or memorize the numbers the letters and to introduce yourself, basic. As part of the A1 German exam, a speaking test is conducted and graded.
In this part, you will be presented with some photos and images and asked to formulate a question about them.
Example #1: Papaya vegetable image | gemüse
You can say like
” Can I have one piece of papaya, please?
Translation: Kann ich bitte ein Stück Papaya haben?
example #2: Apple fruit image | Obst
” Can you give me the apple, please?
Translation: Kannst du/Können Sie der Apfel geben, bitte?
Moreover, there will be some images that you will be asked to say in Deutsch words,
Translation: der Schlüssel
Translation: der Fenster
Translation: der Hund
Translation: die Kätzen
Tips for the speaking part
Tip #1. The word “bitte or please” can go in any place in the sentence.
There is actually no proper or stable position for this when speaking. It could be in the middle or at the end. What’s important is, you use it. It’s a common polite word to use in German.
Tip #2. When in doubt, go for basics.
The moderators will rate the way you’re able to express yourself in German, not by how perfect you say it. Remember, don’t try to impress the moderator too much. Moreover, it’s important to remember the name of the items or objects in German. Finally, It’s a beginner test, remember that!
Example of the writing test
Situation sample: Answering a letter of a birthday invitation.
thank you for your invitation. I am so glad to attend your 30th birthday. What can I bring you for a present? Would you prefer a chocolate cake or wine? Also, would you tell me how to get to your house (address)? I will be going there by car. Thanks in advance and I look forward to seeing you.
Liebe Pamela, Danke für deine Einladung. Ich freue mich sehr über Ihren 30. Geburtstag. Was kann ich dir als Geschenk bringen? Möchten Sie lieber einen Schokoladenkuchen oder Wein? Würdest du mir auch sagen, wie ich zu deinem Haus komme? Ich werde mit dem Auto dorthin fahren. Vielen Dank im Voraus und ich freue mich auf Sie. Mit Liebe, Catherine
Tips for the writing test
Read the instruction carefully before writing. Remember that there are two types of letters to make. One is formal and the other is informal. There is a huge difference between writing these two. That said, recognize the difference and write clearly. Furthermore, be short and precise about the letter, or invitation. Meaning to say, write only what is being asked. Don’t try to be flowery. This one was something I also had to learn upon writing several letters. As a writer myself, I’m used to using and adding words, that during this exam, were not necessary to include.
To have a better view of the formal and informal, here’s a clear example.
Möchten Sie is equivalent to would you that is polite and formal and used when you don’t know the person, while Magst du means do you like that falls under an informal conversation or letter, as well as in speaking.
End of the exam.
The A1 German exam result
It took me almost ten (10) days to finally see the result of the exam. I was able to view it on my account at the Goethe website. It would be best if you had also created yours already to be able for you to access some other pieces of information regarding your result of the exam, etc.
Consequently, your score must be 60 above for you to pass. Regardless of whether you have a low or high score on the other parts as long as you reach the 60 points in total. However, below 60 means failed, and you need to retake the test. If you must so.
If unfortunately, you’re not able to pass the A1 German exam and would like to check your physical paper yourself to have a second inspection because you doubt you didn’t make it, it’s possible to do so.
Email Goethe about your intention. In some cases, they would allow a student to have their papers exam checked; however, note that only you and a teacher would be next to you, and watch you. Also, you’re not allowed to take the physical exam result at home. It already belongs to Goethe’s property. This may be a case-to-case basis because of the pandemic. Always consult with Goethe staff.
On the other hand, if you wish to (dis)continue to study the German language course via any school or Goethe Institute, the decision is in your hands.
A1 German Certificate
After seeing the result of my exam, I went to Goethe’s office and requested the certificate. It usually takes seven (7) to ten (10) working days upon request. This may however take a little longer, well, you know these days because of the pandemic and endless restrictions.
The certificate is a necessity for applying for a visa such as Au Pair or FRV (spouse visa) at the German Embassy Manila.
A1 German exam tips, preparation, and samples & exercises
In that regard, here are some A1 German exam tips & preparation you could apply, find useful for your journey to taking the test, from students who had taken the same A1 German exam.
Memorize the words with the gender because they really don’t have rules. And the easiest way to understand the grammar rule is, translate it from German to English and vice versa. It’s because the sentence structure is quite similar to each other. – Tricia, 93/100
Besides learning from the books, also learn from YouTube videos. It gives a clear picture of how the exam goes so you have an idea of what to expect during the actual exam. Practice daily hearing or listening, reading and writing, and speaking exercises. Try to allot 2-3 hours a day practicing and also doing vocabulary exercises. – Jizelle, 91/100
Focus on hearing/listening and writing parts. Because A1 is really hard especially if you’re new to the language and you’re not really using it. So, practice the schreiben. Also, the examples given in the practice test were almost the same as the ones in the actual exam. – Mhaven, 90/100
Writing and reading (Schreiben and Lesen) Samples & exercises
( A1 reviewer)
How to pass the A1 German exam and get a certificate?
Here are a few things to remember on how how to pass the A1 German exam and get a certificate if you’re a Filipino.
- Enroll in a German language course. Goethe is the most acredited school in the Philippines.
- Study the basic German language. grammar, vocabulary, sentences
- Apply to Goethe to take the A1 German exam
- Take the test. Remember everything you’ve learned and studied in the school, online or self study.
- Pass the test at least 60 and above. Request a certificate from the school.
- Congratulations, you’ve made it!
Frequently asked questions about A1 (faqs)
In this section, I will try to answer all your questions about the A1 German exam and certificate. The answers were also coming from people I’ve interviewed myself and learned knowledge from.
How difficult is the A1 German exam?
Honestly, I couldn’t answer how. Just so you know, my heart was pumping fast during and even after taking the exam. I wouldn’t say I had it easy peasy nor mighty difficult either. I guess I would say, if you’re well prepared, you can do it.
Can I attend or take the A1 German exam with self-preparation?
YES. As long as you believe that you can do it, you’re prepared, then what’s stopping you?
Can I take A1 at Goethe even if I didn’t study the German language course there?
Of course! Goethe doesn’t require you to attend their classes. Regardless of the school or center, you came from, as long as you pay for the exam, show up on the day, then, yes you can!
Can I study the German language course online?
Absolutely! Especially now during this pandemic, everything’s already online. In fact, Goethe now serves German classes. Otherwise, there are varieties of online schools offering to guide and teach about the German language at your pace.
Other common questions
Where to mainly focus on the test?
All four parts are crucial to passing at least 60. But focusing mainly on speaking is highly recommended as this is face to face. The moderators will be able to check your ability on expressing yourself. However, as I’ve written in one of my tips, don’t worry too much about grammar. Though it can’t be perfect, it’d be better if you speak clearly, slowly, and calmly.
Can I take the A1 German exam in Germany instead, and not in the Philippines?
The brutal truth is, if you’re applying for an AU Pair of a Spouse visa, then taking the A1 German exam and getting the certificate in the Philippines is only your option.
A1 for visa application
Do I really need the A1 certificate for my visa to Germany?
Well, it depends on the visa you’re applying for. In my case for example, when I applied for a Spouse visa, YES, I needed to get one. Consequently, if you’re an Au Pair, then I heard that it’s also part of the requirements. Other types of visas such as Tourist or visiting a family member doesn’t require it.
It’s important to note that the German embassy is very strict upon the completion of requirements upon a visa application. That said, your application might be turned down should have a missing document such as an A1 certificate.
Will the German Embassy require me to take the German language course before they approve of my visa?
I believe NO. The German Embassy doesn’t really care about this. Whether you take any German language course or not as long as you can prove to them that you have a basic understanding of the German language through the A1 Certificate.
I already have a B2 certificate but more than a year. Can I use this somehow for my visa application?
📌IMPORTANT: the A1 certificate must be less than one(1) year old to be accepted by the German Embassy. This might have changed but to be a hundred percent certain, won’t hurt if you shoot them an email.
External vs. Internal students of Goethe. Does it matter?
Actually not really. It’s just a basis of Goethe you have studied in their institution or not.
External students are the ones who don’t or didn’t study the Deutsch language course at Goethe itself and no longer than six (6) months before the exam date. In contrast, internal students are the ones who study the course inside Goethe.
Will you get a higher chance of passing if you studied at Goethe?
That’s ridiculous, no! Your chance of passing the A1 exam is in your hands. Regardless of school, institute, or center you’ve studied the German language from, fate is in your hands.
📌Note that when taking the A1 German exam, both types of students have a different price exam to pay. You may check Goethe Institute for an updated price.
Goethe Institute Philippines Language Course
Monday – Thursday| 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5p.m.
The Makati Language Course Office is closed on the days the certification examinations are held.
Tel. + 63 2 88405723-4; 88170978
Fax + 63 2 88170979
Meanwhile, The Goethe-Institut Manila will be temporarily closed to the public as they are taking the necessary precautions to protect their clients and staff due to COVID 19. For more updated information, please call their telephone number or send an email.