Zertifikat Deutsch (A1-C2): Complete Guide 

Zertifikat Deutsch (A1-C2): Complete Guide

If you’re learning German and want to show how good you are, there’s a test called Zertifikat Deutsch (ZD). Range from level A1 for beginners to C2 for the highest level of this framework.

What is the Zertifikat Deutsch (ZD)?

The ZD is a test that checks how well someone can use the German language. The Goethe Institute, the Austrian Language Diploma (OSD), and the Swiss Education Directors’ Conference (EDK) created together.

Why should you consider taking the Zertifikat Deutsch exam?

First, if you want to become a citizen, move, find a job, or go to college in countries where people speak German, this is important.

But there’s more to it than just useful advantages. Getting the Zertifikat Deutsch certificate is a great way to show you’re good at German, whether you’re doing it to feel proud of yourself or to help you get ahead in your job.

Exam Structure and Content

The Zertifikat Deutsch exam is divided into two parts: one for writing and the other for speaking. The writing part checks how well you can listen, read, and write in German. The speaking part is like having a conversation but in a more organized way, to see how good you are at talking in German.

Types of Zertifikat Deutsch Exams

1) Goethe-Zertifikat A1

The Goethe-Institute offers two special tests for the A1 level.

    • Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Fit in Deutsch 1 – Fit in Deutsch 1 is for kids and teenagers, 10 and older, showcasing their basic German skills.
    • Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Start Deutsch 1 – Start Deutsch 1 is for adults, recommended for those 16 years old and up
If you pass the A1 test, it means you can
    • Can engage in simple interactions, introduce themselves, and respond to basic questions about personal details, often supported by gestures.
    • Can comprehend and use familiar, everyday expressions and simple sentences related to immediate needs (such as personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
    • Understands short, simple conversations in everyday situations, provided the speaker talks slowly and clearly.

The Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Start Deutsch 1 checks your German skills. It’s also proof you know enough German if you plan to live in a German-speaking country with your spouse. Important if you’re moving to Germany or similar places with your partner from another country.

2) Goethe-Zertifikat A2

The Goethe-Institute offers two special tests for the A2 level.

    • Goethe-Zertifikat A2: Fit in Deutsch This test is for kids, recommended for those 12 years old and up. It’s made to be right for their age, fun, and connected to what young students like and do every day.
    • Goethe-Zertifikat A2 – This is for adults, and it’s suggested for people who are 16 years old and older. It looks at what adult learners need to know for using German in daily life situations.

Both tests check how well you know German at the A2 level in four main areas: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

If you pass the A2 test, it means you can
  • Understand and use common expressions and sentences that are important for things like personal and family information, shopping, where you live, and work
  • Can understand and use commonly used expressions and phrases related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g., basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
  • Is capable of communicating in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
  • Can describe in simple terms aspects of their background, immediate environment, and matters in areas of immediate need.
  • Can comprehend the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Is able to read and understand the main points from simple texts on familiar topics, such as simple newspaper articles, advertisements, or public notices.

Acing A2 level exams enhances German communication skills for personal, educational, or professional use.

3) Goethe-Zertifikat B1

At the B1 level, the Goethe-Institute takes German language certification a step further with the Goethe-Zertifikat B1. This is for both kids (starting at age 12) and adults (16 and up). This certificate shows you’re even better at German, able to use it for everyday talk and more.

Exam Details

The Goethe-Zertifikat B1 exam checks your listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. What’s special at this level is how the exam is set up. You can choose to take different parts of the exam one by one or do them all together. This makes it really flexible for getting your certification.

If you pass the B1 test, it means you can
  • You can understand the main ideas when people talk clearly about things like work, school, or fun activities using normal language.
  • You can talk simply but clearly about things you know well. You can share what you like, your experiences, what you want to do in the future, and explain your ideas well.
  • You can get the main idea of texts that are not too complicated and are about things you’re interested in or know about.

Why is B1 Certification Important?

Getting the Goethe-Zertifikat B1 is more than just showing you know German; it’s a big step towards being part of German society. This certificate is proof that you know enough German for living permanently in Germany or becoming a German citizen. It means you can talk about everyday things, work or make friends in German, and handle different situations confidently.

4) Goethe-Zertifikat B2

The Goethe-Zertifikat B2, offered by the Goethe-Institute, represents a significant step up in German language, catering to both young individuals (recommended ages 15 and above) and adults (recommended ages 16 and above). This certification confirms that the candidate has attained an advanced level of German, capable of handling complex linguistic tasks in both personal and professional contexts.

The Goethe-Zertifikat B2 exam is organized into four parts: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. You can choose to do these parts one at a time or all together, which means you can plan the exam around what works best for you.

If you pass the B2 test, it means you can
  • Understand Complex Texts: Get the main points of complicated writings about both straightforward and deep topics, including expert discussions related to your work or studies.
  • Fluent Communication: Talk clearly, smoothly, and naturally, so chatting with native German speakers is easy for both of you.
  • Detailed Expression: Explain your thoughts in detail on a wide range of subjects. You can also talk about current issues, giving well-thought-out reasons for different options.

Why B2 Certification Matters?

The Goethe-Zertifikat B2 is very useful for people wanting to study or work in places where German is spoken:

  • For Visas: It’s important for visa applications, especially if you want to do vocational training or an apprenticeship in Germany.
  • For College: Many colleges and universities in Germany need this certificate to show you know enough German to study there.

Getting to B2 level means you’re really good at German, ready for complex conversations, and can handle lots of different situations. It opens up chances for school and work in German-speaking areas, showing you’ve worked hard and are skilled in the language.

5) Goethe-Zertifikat C1

The Goethe-Zertifikat C1 is a high-level German language certificate from the Goethe-Institut, made for adults (recommended for those 16 and older) who have a really good grasp of German. This certificate shows you can handle a lot of different and complicated language situations, like regular talks, school stuff, and work meetings.

Exam Details

The C1 exam keeps up the Goethe-Institut’s option to take listening, reading, writing, and speaking parts one by one or all together. This lets you choose how to take the exam based on how ready you feel and what you’re good at.

If you pass the C1 test, it means you can
  • Use German in Many Ways: You’re great at using German in all kinds of situations, whether it’s for personal stuff, school, or work.
  • Understand Tough Texts: You can get what complex writings are saying, even the hidden meanings, and even if it’s about something you’re not familiar with.
  • Talk and Argue Fluently: You can talk smoothly and make your point in discussions, backing up complicated ideas without trouble.

Why C1 is Important?

The Goethe-Zertifikat C1 is really respected in places where people speak German because:

  • For School: It’s often what you need to show you know enough German to go to university or college in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland.
  • For Work: Being this good at German helps you find better jobs and work better in German-speaking areas.

Earning the C1 shows you’re very good at German, ready to take on challenging topics, and can join in deep conversations. It opens up a lot of chances for studying and working in German-speaking countries, marking you as someone with a high level of skill in the language.

6) Goethe-Zertifikat C2

The Goethe-Zertifikat C2: Großes deutsches Sprachdiplom is the highest German language certification you can get from the Goethe-Institut, aimed at adults (recommended for those 18 and older). This certificate proves you’re a master of the German language, able to handle any language challenge easily.

Exam Format

The C2 exam is structured in sections for listening, reading, writing, and speaking, just like the earlier levels. This setup lets you take the exam in parts, either one by one or all together, depending on what suits you best. A special feature of the C2 writing section is the choice to write about literature, with tasks made together with the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, showing the exam’s high academic standard.

If you pass the C2 test, it means you can
  • Understand and Summarize Complex Information: Take in and clearly explain information from different sources, both written and spoken.
  • Communicate with Precision and Fluency: Talk fluently and precisely, noticing the small differences in meaning.
  • Understand Everything: Almost effortlessly understand everything you hear or read in German.

Why C2 Certification Matters?

The Goethe-Zertifikat C2 is valued highly for several reasons:

  • For Studies and Work: It’s seen as proof of your German skills for university or research in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
  • For Teaching in Germany: The C2 certificate fulfills the language requirements for those wanting to teach, recognized by education authorities in Germany.

Getting the C2 certificate is an incredible achievement, marking you as an expert in German. It opens up lots of chances for study, research, and work in German-speaking areas, showing your top-level language skills and understanding of the culture.

The Goethe-Test PRO and the Goethe-Test PRO Pflege

These are specific exams designed by the Goethe-Institut to check how well people understand German in professional and healthcare jobs.

Goethe-Test PRO: German for Professionals Overview

Since starting in April 2017, the Goethe-Test PRO has been offered at Goethe-Institut’s test centers and to companies all over the world. This test is digital and changes based on how you answer, focusing on listening and reading skills that you need at work. It matches the A1-C2 levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which is a guide to how well you know a language.

Goethe-Test PRO Pflege

The Goethe-Test PRO Pflege is made for adults in healthcare or those aiming to start a career in it. It checks how well you understand German used in nursing care, focusing on the B2 level.

Test Components
    • Digital Sections: Your ability to listen and read is tested using a digital format that adjusts to how well you’re doing. Your score can range from A1 (beginner) to C2 (master).
    • Paper-based Sections: Your skills in writing and speaking are checked using traditional methods, with a focus on the B2 level. These parts of the test look at how well you can write reports and messages about nursing care, talk about work-related topics, interview patients, and give oral reports about cases.
If you pass the Goethe-Test PRO Pflege test, it means you can
    • Understand texts and communication specific to healthcare settings.
    • Write proper reports and messages related to nursing.
    • Talk effectively about your work, including discussing patient care and taking part in professional conversations.

Both the Goethe-Test PRO and the Goethe-Test PRO Pflege are important for professionals who need to prove their German language skills in their work areas, offering a recognized and structured way to assess these abilities in German-speaking countries.


The TestDaF, which means “Test of German as a Foreign Language,” is for people who are really good at German, like the advanced level. It covers B2 to C1 levels in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This exam tests your German language skills and is crucial for those planning to study at a university in Germany.

If you pass all four sections of the exam at TestDaF-level 4, you’ll get a certificate that universities in Germany recognize as proof of the German language proficiency needed for admission. The exam is available at licensed centers, including some Goethe-Institutes. For exam dates and more details, contact the test center directly.

Registration and Preparing for Exam Day

    • Exam Length: The total exam lasts for about 2.5 hours.
    • Oral Exam: You’ll have 15 minutes for the speaking part, plus 30 minutes to prepare.

You can sign up for the ZD exam at centers approved by the Goethe Institute all around the world. The cost depends on which exam level you’re taking and where you’re taking it.

The exam is graded on a scale, and you need to score at least 60% in both the written and oral parts to pass. This means you need at least 135 out of 225 points for the written exam, and at least 45 out of 75 points for the speaking part.

The final grades are computed as follows:

Points  Grades

    • 270 – 300 Very good
    • 240 – 269,5 Good
    • 210 – 239,5 Satisfactory
    • 180 – 209,5 Fair/ Pass

Additional Resources and Tips for Success

Using different kinds of study materials like online resources, books, and real-life experiences where you use the language can really help you get better at German. Practicing regularly, especially talking with people who have always spoken German, and listening to or watching German shows, news, or movies will make your German much better and more fluent.

Preparing for the Zertifikat Deutsch exam means focusing on enhancing your skills in listening, reading, writing, and speaking in a strategic way. Here’s a targeted approach for each skill:


  • Practice Regularly: Immerse yourself in German by listening to podcasts, news broadcasts, and radio programs. Deutsche Welle and other websites offer resources specifically for language learners.
  • Simulate Exam Conditions: Use past Zertifikat Deutsch listening exercises to familiarize yourself with the exam’s format and time constraints.


  • Diverse Reading Materials: Expand your reading to include a variety of sources, such as newspapers, magazines, and books. This helps increase your vocabulary and understanding of different contexts.
  • Focus on Comprehension: Practice summarizing articles or discussing them with friends to enhance your reading comprehension, an essential skill for the exam.


  • Write Regularly: Maintain a diary, write emails, or blog posts in German. Frequent writing practice is key to expressing your thoughts clearly and accurately.
  • Seek Feedback: Have a native speaker or teacher review your writing to identify areas for improvement.


  • Language Exchange: Connect with native German speakers for language exchange. Platforms like Tandem or HelloTalk can help you find conversation partners.
  • Record Yourself: Speak on various topics, record your speech, and then listen to it to evaluate your pronunciation and fluency.

By adopting these strategies, you’ll not only improve your German language skills but also gain the confidence needed to excel in the Zertifikat Deutsch exam.

Preparing for Exam Day

  • Know the Location: Find out where the exam center is before the exam day. This will help you avoid any last-minute stress about how to get there.
  • What to Bring: Check what items you need to bring with you, such as your ID and the confirmation of your exam registration.
  • Rest and Nutrition: Make sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before and eat well on the day of the exam. This can really boost your focus and energy levels.

Using technology can also greatly enhance your study routine:

  • Apps for Learning: Use apps like Anki for flashcards or Duolingo for daily lessons. These apps make learning German more interactive and can fit into any schedule.
  • Online Communities: Participate in forums or social media groups focused on learning German. This can be a great source of motivation and support, where you can share tips, ask questions, and learn from others’ experiences.

Reducing Stress

Preparing for the Zertifikat Deutsch exam is also about managing stress and keeping a positive mindset. Worrying too much can impact your performance, so it’s important to find ways to stay calm:

  • Visualize Success: Imagine yourself doing well on the exam. This positive thinking can boost your confidence.
  • Meditation and Deep Breathing: Try meditation or deep breathing exercises to relax. These techniques can help clear your mind and focus better during the exam.

After the Exam

After passing the Zertifikat Deutsch B2 level exam, you’ve hit a big milestone. This achievement can help you in many ways, like if you’re looking to study in Germany, find a job, or just travel around. Speaking German well will make all these experiences even better.

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