Ok, so you have registered yourself for an Integrations Course, so, what exactly can be expected out of it ???
German B1 language test (DTZ) + Orientation Course (Einbuergerungstest) = Integrations Course
The Integrations course comprises of the German language course (Proficiency level B1) AND an Orientation course. The language course helps you develop speaking, writing, listening and reading skills in German. Whereas, the orientation course covers the German legal system, politics, history, culture, rights and societal aspects.
Course Content – Language Course
The language course will take you through German proficiency levels A1, A2 and B1. For each level, you will be working with 2 books 1. The course Book and 2. Intensive Trainer. I used the Linie 1 Series.
The lectures cover a wide range of topics such as:
- Introducing oneself
- Contacting government offices, schools etc.
- Restaurants and Supermarkets
- Hobbies and free time activities
- Studying & Working in Germany
- Hospitals & Medical facilities
- Volunteering & Clubs
- Pregnancy and Child birth
- Raising children
- School Systems
- Tourism and Culture
The lessons more or less revolve around topics such as these, things that help you express yourself in everyday situations. As you advance from A1 to B1, the vocabulary increases and so does your grammar skills.
As mentioned earlier, the course aims to improve speaking, writing, listening and reading skills in German. So for eg. when you begin with A1, you will learn how to ask for help in a supermarket, or order food at a restaurant. Eventually, you’ll learn how to write official letters for eg. to the principal of your child’s school. In my experience, we had a lot of activities during our course. We were asked to do many role plays, imagine and build up conversations. This helped improve our speaking skills. There are a lot of exercises in the course books that help for better hearing and understanding German, for eg. snippets from the radio or announcements at the train stations.
It indeed was a very interesting experience for me. There are loads of things that you learn here that help you integrate better into the German society. Usually, we start doing our research over the internet only when we need certain things. For eg. until and unless you have kids, you will not really bother learning about Kitas or school systems. Nevertheless, attending this course, gives you exposure to such a wide range of topics and helps you understand the whole culture, system, and the very essence of living life the German way. A bonus is that your classmates will all be expats too, and you’ll learn a lot more from their experiences. First hand expat experience! What can be better than this?
Tips to ace the DTZ/ language Exam
Let’s start with the basics……
- Do your homework everyday ! Yes, go back to your school days. Learning a language doesn’t happen overnight, especially not German. Practicing a bit daily will help build up not only your proficiency but confidence too.
- Start speaking in German. Doesn’t matter if it’s incorrect, you’ll soon perfect it. So, the next time you head out to the Apotheke, or meet someone at the park, strike up a conversation – in German.
- Try not to think in your mother tongue, rather think in German. Most times, before we say something aloud in German, we build it up in our heads, in a language we are comfortable in. What comes out then, is a literal translation of the same, which will not be grammatically correct. When you start thinking in German, your sentence structure automatically improves and you end up with not so butchered German.
- Try finding a partner to practice your German with.
- For the writing section, you will be asked to write a letter, may be a job application or complaint against a product etc. Learn the formats of the letters (formal & informal). Do not miss out on salutations and other minor details. The very layout and structure irrespective of what you write, carries marks.
- In addition, you can plan to incorporate a few standard conjunctions like “weil, deshalb, dass, denn“. Learn the sentence structure for these well.
- End your letter with sentences like “Ich freue mich auf eine Antwort“. This brings out the communicative factor and earns you brownie points.
- Try watching series or movies in German. Better still, have the radio running in the background while doing your daily chores. You will be surprised to learn that very soon, you begin to understand most of what is being said. This will definitely help your listening skills.
- If you have kids at home, listen to German songs with them. You’ll not only learn more German, but your child will enjoy spending this time with you too.
- Now the best way to improve your reading is to read German newspapers. Ok forget that, the Germans are famous for the huge amount of post they keep sending. Start here. Don’t directly reach out to your phone for a google translate. Instead, read it as it is, mark the words you don’t know and just translate those. Keep it going this way and soon you won’t need a translation app.
So apart from the above pointers, here are a few more apps and websites to help you prepare for your exam.
- I used https://www.verbformen.com/ for learning the articles for nouns and verb conjugations.
- There are many apps that help too. German Verbs is great for verbs again. Ankommen is an app from that not only helps you learn German but also has other details about jobs, apprenticeships and living in Germany.
- Practice as many model tests as possible. Goethe Institute, Mit Erfolg, so geht’s noch besser etc. are great sources.
In order to pass the exam with “B1”, you MUST score “B1 ” in the speaking section AND “B1” in atleast one of either listening/reading or writing sections.
The Speaking section has 3 parts, 1. Introduction 2. Describe a picture 3. Lead a conversation with your partner (plan a trip, a party etc.). It lasts for around 20 mins and is out of 100 points. For B1 you need to score between 75 – 100 points ;A2 = 35 – 74.5 points.
The writing section (30 mins) is evaluated according to content, vocabulary, grammar/ correctness and communicative design. It is out of 20 points. B1 = 15 – 20 points A2 = 7 – 14 points
Listening section has 4 parts and takes around 25 mins. The reading section takes around 45 mins and has 5 parts. Listening (20 points) and reading (25 points) are evaluated together and will mostly be multiple choice questions. B1 = 33 – 45 points A2 = 20 – 32 points under A2 = 0 – 19 points
If you want to learn more about the scoring and different possible cases as well as have a look at a sample test, click here.
Orientation Course (Einbuergerungstest)
This module is the last one in the Integrations course. Some may find it boring, while others find these sessions more interesting than the language classes. In this course, you will learn about German history, the timelines of WW1, WW2 and beyond. You will also learn about what it is to live in a social and democratic country like Germany, what is accepted and not in Society, how children are brought up i.e. schooling, pensions and more. What makes this course interesting is that the sessions here won’t be like a typical classroom sessions. There will be a lot of discussions and debates. You might even watch movies to understand German history better.
At the end of this course, you will need to take the “Leben in Deutschland” test. In other words, Einbuergerungstest, Citizenship test or German Naturalization test. The test lasts for roughly an hour, but i’m sure you’ll be out in 20 minutes tops. The exam consists of 33 multiple-choice questions. These questions are taken from a standard question bank of 300 questions. While 30 of the questions come from this question bank, the remaining 3 will be related to the federal state in which you reside (out of a standard set of approx. 10 questions). In order to pass the test, you need to answer 17 out of the 33 questions correctly.
You can study for the test and access the question bank here. Choose the federal state of residence to access the additional questions. You can also prepare for the test using apps such as Leben In Deutschland Test. There are many others too. You can practice for the test multiple times using sites such as Einbuergerungstest or deutsche-werden. Just make sure to select the appropriate federal state to include the extra questions.
Wishing you all the very best !