German examinations

A1-C2

The Goethe-Institut offers German exams worldwide for adults and young learners at levels A1-C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Quality standards during the development, administration, and implementation of the German exams are an essential part of our work. With success! Goethe certificates are valued worldwide as internationally recognized proofs of language knowledge for visa procedures, professional recognition or registration at a university.

Deutschprüfungen @ Goethe-Institut

German exams A1-C2

Would you like to book an exam at one of our exam centres or contact our colleagues on site? You can find our locations worldwide here.

Deutsch lernen

Learn German with success in more than 90 countries on-site at your Goethe-Institut or online.

Our German Examinations

Transparent, standardized, internationally recognized

The German exams offered by the Goethe-Institut correspond to the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and range from level A1 for beginners to C2 for the highest level of this framework.

The German exams can be taken in Germany and worldwide at our Goethe-Institutes and exam partners. 
The exams are administered and evaluated according to uniform standards.  Detailed information regarding the exam structure, free practice material is available unter exam preparation.

At the A1 level, the Goethe-Institut offers two exams:
  • Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Fit in Deutsch 1 (for children and young people, recommended ages 10 and above)
  • Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Start Deutsch 1 (for adults, recommended ages 16 and above) 
Both exams confirm basic language knowledge at the A1 level. The exams comprise listening, reading, writing and speaking sections. 
By passing the A1 exam, candidates prove that they… 
  • can interact in a simple way and introduce themselves, as well as answer basic questions about personal information and fall back on gestures; 
  • can use known, mundane and commonly used phrases and simple sentences (e.g., information about themselves and their family, about shopping, work/school, their living situation): 
  • understand short, basic conversations in everyday situations if the interlocutor/s speaks slowly and clearly. 
The Goethe-Zertifikat A1: Start Deutsch 1 is recognized as proof of language proficiency for spousal reunification.
 

At the A2 level, the Goethe-Institut offers two exams:  
  • Goethe-Zertifikat A2: Fit in Deutsch (for young people, recommended ages 12 and above) 
  • Goethe-Zertifikat A2 (for adults, recommended ages 16 and above) 
Both exams confirm basic language knowledge at the A2 level. The exams comprise listening, reading, writing and speaking sections.

By passing the A2 exam, candidates prove that they… 
  • can use and understand commonly used expressions and phrases in everyday situations; 
  • can participate in basic, routine communication if it is about familiar and common topics like their origin and education, the immediate environment and needs; 
  • can extract the main information from short texts with frequent vocabulary (simple newspaper articles, advertisements or notice boards). 

At the B1 level, the Goethe-Institut offers the Goethe-Zertifikat B1 as an exam version for young people (recommended ages 12 and above) and an exam version for adults (recommended ages 16 and above). Both exams certify proficient language knowledge at the B1 level. 

The Goethe-Zertifikat B1 comprises listening, reading, writing and speaking modules, which can be taken individually or combined. The exam offers full flexibility thanks to its modular structure. 

By passing the B1 exam, candidates prove that they… 
  • can understand the main information if clear standard language is spoken and the conversation is about everyday topics like work, school or leisure; 
  • can express themselves in a simple, structured and addressee-specific way about known topics, personal interests and experiences, dreams and goals, as well as give reasons and explanations; 
  • can understand uncomplicated non-fiction texts about their interests and their own field. 
The Goethe-Zertifikat B1 is recognized as proof of language proficiency for permanent residency and naturalization in Germany. 

At the B2 level, the Goethe-Institut offers the Goethe-Zertifikat B2 as an exam version for young people (recommended ages 15 and above) and an exam version for adults (recommended ages 16 and above). Both exams certify proficient language knowledge at the B2 level. 

The Goethe-Zertifikat B2 comprises listening, reading, writing and speaking modules, which can be taken individually or combined. The exam offers full flexibility thanks to its modular structure. 

By passing the B2 exam, candidates prove that they… 
  • can understand the main information in complex texts about concrete and abstract topics and professional discussion in their field; 
  • can communicate spontaneously and fluently so that regular interaction with another German speaker is possible without strain on either party; 
  • can express themselves clearly and in detail on a wide range of topics, explain a position on a current question and specify the advantages and disadvantages of different possibilities. 
The Goethe-Zertifikat B2 is recognized as proof of language for visa procedures regarding the search for an apprenticeship. For some studies at a university or institutions of higher education in Germany, the Goethe-Zertifikat B2 is also accepted. 

At the C1 level, Goethe-Institut offers the Goethe-Zertifikat C1 as an exam version for adults (recommended ages 16 and above). It certifies advanced proficient language knowledge at the C1 level. 

The Goethe-Zertifikat C1 comprises listening, reading, writing and speaking modules, which can be taken individually or combined. The exam offers full flexibility thanks to its modular structure. 

By passing the C1 exam, candidates prove that they… 
  • can use the German language flexibly and effectively in private, public, academic and professional contexts; 
  • can understand challenging and long texts and their implicit meaning even if the topic is not familiar; 
  • can communicate spontaneously and fluently and argue a position. 
The Goethe-Zertifikat C1 is recognized as proof of language at many universities and institutions of higher education in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 
 

At the C2 level, Goethe-Institut offers the Goethe-Zertifikat C2: Großes deutsches Sprachdiplom as an exam version for adults (recommended ages 18 and above). It certifies highly advanced proficient language knowledge at the C2 level. 
 
The Goethe-Zertifikat C2 comprises listening, reading, writing and speaking modules, which can be taken individually or combined. The exam offers full flexibility thanks to its modular structure. 
In the second part of the writing module, candidates may choose a literature-related topic. These exercises are being created in collaboration with the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. 
 
By passing the exam, candidates prove that they… 
  • can summarize information from different written and oral sources and reproduce justifications and explanations coherently; 
  • can communicate fluently, spontaneously and precisely and make differentiated meanings clearly; 
  • can understand practically everything they read or hear in German without any effort. 
The Goethe-Zertifikat C2 is recognized as proof of language proficiency for studies or research in Germany, Austria and Switzerland at all universities and institutions of higher education. 
In Germany, the Federal States recognize the C2 exam as proof of language proficiency as part of the teaching qualification (“Lehramtsqualifikation”). 
Further information is given by the recognizing bodies in the respective federal state, such as the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, the Office for Teacher Training, the District Council or the Senate Committee. 

The Goethe-Test PRO: German for Professionals is a digital German test for adults (recommended ages 16 and above). The test evaluates listening and reading competence in professional settings using an adaptive test method. The result is documented on a scale from A1 to C2. 

The Goethe-Test PRO can be implemented as a B2B product directly at a company on site. For further information, please reach out to pro@goethe.de
 
© Goethe-Institut (Screenshot/Video Still)
Abstract
The Goethe-Test PRO: German for Professionals has been conducted at the Goethe-Institut's examination centres and with corporate clients worldwide since April 2017. It is designed as an adaptive online test and assesses listening and reading competence in the workplace at levels A1-C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. 
In this study, the psychometric quality of the Goethe-Test PRO was analysed with regard to various measures on the basis of test data from N = 5,636 test subjects from 17 countries. The Goethe-Test PRO delivers reliable test results with a reliability of > .9. The psychometric properties of the test are similar in different countries in which the Goethe-Test PRO is administered.

The Goethe-Test PRO Pflege: German for Nursing Care is a German exam for adults (recommended ages 16 and above) who are already working in health care or who would like to do so in the future. The exam documents profession-specific language knowledge at the B2 level. 

The Goethe-Test PRO Pflege comprises listening, reading, writing and speaking sections. In the digital part, reading and listening skills are assessed using an adaptive test method on a scale from A1 to C2. 
The writing and speaking parts are paper-based and examine German knowledge at the B2 level. 
 
By passing the exam, candidates prove that they… 
  • can understand relevant types of text with professional and profession-specific topics; 
  • can write reports and messages fitting the care context in a style and register; 
  • can talk about their work, conduct patient interviews, give an oral case report and participate in work discussions. 
For further information, please contact pflege@goethe.de

The TestDaF (Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache) is an advanced-level language exam. It covers the levels B2 to C1. 
 
Candidates who pass all four of the TestDaF exam parts with the TestDaF-level 4 receive a certificate that is internationally recognized as proof of language proficiency to gain admission to almost any subject and degree course at universities and institutions of higher education in Germany.  

The TestDaF can be taken at licensed test centres, for example, at selected Goethe-Institutes. More information on the exam, as well as exam dates, is given by the test centre.

One Goethe Certificate,
many advantages

Goethe certificates open doors worldwide. We have summarized the advantages of a Goethe certificate for exam candidates as well as recognising bodies, employers and universities for you at a glance:
  • Recognised
    Our Goethe certificates are valued internationally as proof of language proficiency for the visa process, professional recognition, or university admission.
  • Verifiable 
    You can check the authenticity of a Goethe certificate quickly and easily on the verification page
  • Realistic
    Exam candidates work on communicative tasks close to day-to-day life and show what they can do in their everyday life, at work or in their studies. 
  • Transparent 
    The Goethe-Institut’s exams are aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which provides full transparency as well as international comparability of exam results. 
  • Flexible 
    Goethe Certificates B1–C2 are modular, meaning the modules listening, reading, writing and speaking can be taken and certified individually or combined.  
  • Digital 
    The digital German exams are taken and evaluated on a laptop at a Goethe-Institut.  
  • Proven 
    Our quality management and longstanding experience with exams guarantee valid, reliable and fair exams because quality is a word we take seriously.

About the German Exams

This is where you will find detailed information on what makes a good exam and how we continuously ensure and demonstrate the quality of our Goethe certificates.

This is where you will find free practice material, accessible and interactive as well, for the modules/exam parts listening, reading, writing and speaking.

This is where you can find an overview of levels A1 to C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

This is where you can find out what types of contractual collaboration are available and what requirements must be met.
 

Frequently asked questions

As an exam provider with many years of experience, the Goethe-Institut attaches great importance to fulfilling all professional demands placed on exams for foreign languages. In order to sustain this commitment to quality, numerous quality standards are adhered to in the development, organization and administration of our exams.  
We verify the quality of our exams at regular intervals using the audit procedure of the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE). Goethe-Institut exams carry the ALTE Q -Mark as official proof of this. This quality seal confirms that our tests are valid, reliable, objective, fair and practicable. 

Further information about our quality management can be found on this page.

The Goethe-Zertifikate B1, B2, C1 and C2 are modular exams. In a modular exam, the four skills of reading, listening, writing and speaking can be taken and certified in combination or as individual modules. 
The modular principle corresponds to the reality of many learners. Due to the diverse requirements and needs in everyday and professional life, learners’ language skills are often at different stages of development in the individual skills.  
The modular approach makes it possible to select modules according to need, take them at different times, and repeat them if necessary.

Yes, digital German exams take place in selected exam centres on Goethe-Institut laptops with a German keyboard. Candidates complete the reading, writing and listening (with headphones) modules on the laptop. The speaking module takes place on site with experienced examiners from the Goethe-Institut, similar to the paper-based exam. 
 
Online German exams are currently only offered at selected pilot institutes. An online German exam can be taken from any location (e.g. at home) on your own desktop computer or laptop if the technical and spatial requirements are met. Exam candidates are monitored by an online exam proctor throughout the entire exam. 
 
Please contact your local Goethe-Institut to find out whether digital and/or online German exams are offered in your country. 

Yes, there is practice material for every exam of the Goethe-Institut. For the exams at levels A1 to B1, lists of the relevant vocabulary are also available.   
The practice material, videos of the oral exam, the word lists, and interactive, accessible online practice material can be found unter exam preparation.

Yes, the Goethe-Institut offers exams for candidates with special needs. Our exam centres endeavour to accommodate candidates with special needs as far as possible. The nature and degree of specific needs must be stated when registering for the exam and supported by a medical certificate (or similar). The exam centre is obliged to maintain confidentiality.

Supplement to the Terms and Conditions for Exam Administration: Exam Participants with Special Needs (PDF, 228 KB)  
Information for Exam Participants with Special Needs (PDF, 57 KB) 

Accessible and certified exam training with interactive evaluation (display of correct and incorrect answers) is available for each exam level. You can find the exam training material at exam preparation.

For further information, please contact your local exam centre directly. 

The Goethe-Zertifikat C2: Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom is recognized by all universities in Germany as proof of language proficiency for study or research programs. The Goethe-Zertifikat C2 is also accepted for university admission in Austria and Switzerland. 
 
Many universities also accept the Goethe-Zertifikat C1 or the Goethe-Zertifikat B2 as proof of language proficiency. You can find an overview of the respective language requirements of the universities (without guarantee) in this list.
Universities that would like to be included on this list can contact pruefungen@goethe.de

You can check the authenticity of Goethe certificates (A1-C2) quickly and easily via our verification page:  
www.goethe.de/verify  
 
You can check the authenticity of digital certificates for our professional oriented exams, Goethe-Test PRO and Goethe-Test PRO Pflege, here: 
www.goethe.de/gtp/verify 
 
Please follow the instructions and notes on the respective pages. If in doubt, you can send a scan to pruefungen@goethe.de for authentication. 
Please note that only enquiries received from official bodies will be answered by the Goethe-Institut. 

Do you have any question?
If so, please contact us.

If you have any questions about exam registration (e.g. dates, prices), exam administration or preparation courses and materials, please get in touch with the contact person at the respective examination centre. Please select the country below. 
 
If you have specific exam or content-related questions (e.g. about quality standards) or questions about the authenticity of a certificate, please contact the head office of the Goethe-Institut at pruefungen@goethe.de.

German exams A1-C2

Would you like to book an exam at one of our exam centres or contact our colleagues on site? You can find our locations worldwide here.

Deutsch lernen

Learn German with success in more than 90 countries on-site at your Goethe-Institut or online.

Follow us