Frequently asked questions

We will inform you here about frequently asked questions on the examinations of the Goethe-Institut.

If you have additional questions concerning the Goethe certificates A1 through C2, please arrange an informational, free-of-charge personal consultation at one of our testing locations (Goethe-Institut location, Goethe Centers or Goethe-Institut examinations partners).

The Goethe-Institut exams are available to all interested parties and can be taken regardless of age and nationality. They are designed to demonstrate knowledge in German as a second language and/or as a foreign language.
We recommend a minimum age for taking the exams.

Please contact the testing location of your choice and request a personal consultation.

You may leave the room for a reasonable time (bathroom). This absence will be noted in the “Report on the Administration of the Exam”.

The Goethe-Zertifikat exams A1 through C2 correspond to the ‘Common European Framework of References for Languages (GER)’.
Level classification of the Goethe-Institut exams and language courses
Common European Framework of References for Languages (GER)

Please contact the testing location of your choice and request a personal consultation.

Acknowledgements stating participation in a language course, an evaluation test, an exam, etc., are not sufficient.

Only an exam certificate of having passed a Goethe-Zertifikat exam (A1 through C2, Kleines or Großes Sprachdiplom, respectively) is recognized as proof of the respective knowledge level in German as a Second Language.

Goethe-Zertifikat C2: Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom, Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung (ZOP), Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom (KDS) and Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom (GDS) are recognized for study at a college/university in Germany, and exempt one from taking the TestDaF exam or any similar exam.

To find out more about the language requirement of a specific university and/or a course or field of study in Germany, request information directly from the university, or visit

Binding for the scoring of the written part of all Goethe-Institut exams is the orthography introduced in August 2006. The basis for this is „DUDEN. Die deutsche Rechtschreibung“ (as of the 24th edition, 2006) and „WAHRIG. Die deutsche Rechtschreibung“ (editions as of 2006).

The rules currently in effect can be found at:
Duden. Die deutsche Rechtschreibung
Der Duden Produktkatalog
Bertelsmann WAHRIG. Verlagsprogramm
Institut für Deutsche Sprache (IDS)
DUDEN. Sprachberatung

Learning is an individual process. How much time you need to attain a certain level depends on various and individual factors: your commitment, your time input, and your taking advantage of additional practice resources.

Should you already have studied one or more languages, you may learn German faster. It makes a big difference if you participate in a language course in your home country or in Germany, where you will be exposed to the German language outside the classroom.

Also of relevance is the intensity of the instruction (intensive vs. evening courses, for example). Please consult the testing location of your choice and request a personal consultation.

For each exam level you will find “practice and info materials“ by downloading materials
  • free of charge
  • by additionally ordering materials.
You also may receive materials from the language department of the Goethe-Institut nearest you.

Some exams offer distance learning material and online courses.
Learning German by correspondence course

The exam as a whole can be re-taken as often as needed. Details on re-taking the exam or part of the exam can be found under Terms and conditions for exam administration.

Goethe-Zertifikats A1 through C2 do not expire.

Many institutions and employers, however, expect the certificate to be dated not more than two years prior.

The certificates of the Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung (ZOP), das Kleine Deutsche Sprachdiplom (KDS) und das Große Deutsche Sprachdiplom (GDS) will still be valid after the introduction of the new Goethe-Zertifikat C2: Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom following changes to the exams being offered at the C2 level beginning 01.01.2012.

No duplicate will be issued.

If the exam was taken within the last ten years, the testing location where you took the exam will issue a substitute document for a small fee.

In the case of a name change (for example due to marriage, adoption, divorce, etc.), neither a new certificate nor a substitute document will be issued.

A change of name can be verified either with an official document from the relevant authority (birth certificate, marriage license, etc.) or a notarized copy of the above.

Name/ spelling of name must be documented via photo ID during registration at the testing location. The certificate for the exam will be issued based on this previously recorded personal information.

You may have your certificate notarized – for example, for the purpose of studying in Germany – by any valid notary public (court, government office, school, bank, etc.). Employers usually require a notarization from a law firm.

An official translation can be prepared by a state-recognized translator or translation office.

Exam participation requires neither prior attendance at a specific language school or in a prep course nor the acquisition of a lower level certificate.

However, we recommend participation in a prep course at the testing location. There you will learn the necessary language and exam-specific skills that will help you succeed on the exam.

For more information, please contact the testing location of your choice and request a personal consultation.