Goethe-Zertifikat C2: the most advanced German exam

Nov 23, 2020

#GOETHE #German

Goethe-Zertifikat C2: the most advanced German exam

The Goethe Institut, among its faculties as a German public body that disseminates the culture of this country, that fosters foreign relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and other countries, and that promotes its language, makes available to the public multiple German language certifications. The highest of these is the Goethe-Zertifikat C2 test: Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom (large German language diploma).

The test environment

If we want to prove a command of the German language, we must choose from among multiple tests because, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ​​(CEFR), the various examinations of the Goethe Institute certifies  the six levels that go from the most basic "A1" to the most advanced "C2". In all the places where this institution has headquarters and where it has associates, the tests can be applied without restriction by age and without the need to have German nationality. However, each one has recommended ages.

In the case of level C2, it is recommended to be at least 18 years old, since it is considered a test for adults. Obtaining the German title by this means certifies a highly advanced command of the language in such a way that it guarantees:

- An ability to use the language equal to that of a learned native speaker (we understand everything that is read and heard in German).

- That we have a sufficient level to study at a German university, even in specialized branches of the language such as literature or linguistics.

- That we have a proficiency level that allows us to develop in commercial and work contexts in general, where the use of this language is required.

- That we are capable of teaching higher level classes in Germany.

- That we can summarize, rethink and transmit in a coherent way knowledge acquired by oral or textual sources.

- That we are capable of spontaneously expressing ourselves and explaining our point of view in German with deep foundations and various nuances.

- That we can properly teach German classes in our country in a professional setting.

Parts of the German C2 exam

The current C2 German certificate from the Goethe Institute combined the three exams that existed for this level since the beginning of 2012. These were the Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom (GDS) itself, the Goethe-Zertifikat: Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung (ZOP) and the Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom (KDS). In this way, a comprehensive test emerged that includes the four modules of language comprehension and use: reading comprehension, listening comprehension, oral expression and interaction, and written expression.

Reading comprehension (approximately 80 minutes). Complex texts should be read, with abstract and linguistically highly elaborated content, from which the specific tasks requested will be developed. The texts will be notices, reports, texts of scientific dissemination, comments, etc. From them, it is necessary to extract deep implicit meanings.

Listening comprehension (35 minutes approximately). Daily content from various media will be heard, it can be reports or reports; Likewise, specialist interviews will be analyzed, all in a natural rhythm. From listening, the specific activities requested must be carried out.

Oral expression and interaction (15 minutes approximately). A presentation must be made on a complex topic with valid arguments and detailing each piece of information. A discussion should also be started, with pros and cons, on an issue where we must give our opinion, and with well-argued answers for the counterpart.

Written expression (80 minutes). A dissertation must be presented in parts, and a well-crafted text must be written as a letter to the editor or summary on a topic of choice. For this part of the module, the text has to be well structured and stylistically rigorous. In addition, you must choose one of four topics: two are about the proposed literary works and two are general.

As early as 1962, the Goethe Institut was preparing the "Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom" test with the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (University of Munich). As of 2012, they continue to work together with the new denomination, specifically in the written test. As already said, in the second part of this module you have to choose between four topics. If we do not want to make use of one of the two proposed general themes, then, we have to choose one of the two related to literary texts. Every year, the University of Munich proposes the two literary works to work on.

Literary works to work on the GoetheZertifikat C2 in 2020:

Die Berlinreise by Hanns-Josef Ortheil.

Das Buch des Vaters by Urs Widmer.

Literary works to work on the Goethe-Zertifikat C2 in 2021:

Habe ich Dir eigentlich schon erzählt ... - Ein Märchen für alle de Sibylle Berg.

Der alte König in seinem Exil by Arno Geiger.

The test has a total duration of approximately 3 and a half hours.

Didactic materials

The exam is applied in a standardized way around the world and, as a general rule, about 1000 study sessions of 45 minutes each are recommended, which, added to the time of independent and conversational study, fulfill the 1000-1200 hours that the Goethe Institute suggests.

In addition to this, the institution makes online exercise materials available on its website that include an accessible model of the C2 exam. There are also materials to download, among which we will find a sample of the exam and a preparation in PDF format, two MP4 audio files that are models of the listening comprehension module and a video for the speaking module. The latter can be played right there.

Regarding a specialized bibliography, in addition to recommending the reading of the works mentioned for the written module, the following books are available:

Fit fürs Goethe-Zertifikat C2 . Exam training and textbook with integrated audio CD. Hueber-Verlag.

Mit Erfolg zum Goethe-Zertifikat C2: GDS. Exercise book and tests with audio CD. Klett Verlag.

As we can see, the C2 German certificate issued by the Goethe Institut is highly advanced, somewhat complex, and is ideal for those who, having full command of the language, wish to become accredited as such. This is all the information about it and, since we have it, we only need to register if we want to take the C2 level test.