I now have a CEFR A1 in German, all thanks to Duolingo! The computerized voice is very good for pronunciation, I had no problems in the conversation portion of the exam.
Next up: German A2!
Edit: Danke euch für die Lingoten!
There's some really good examples of German CEFR exams that have been recorded and posted on Youtube. I'd recommend those who have tests upcoming to check them out.
I've been learning German for about 4 to 5 months now.
Using mainly DuoLingo for my German learning I'd blow the A1 exam out of the water. A2 would be no problem either. I could pass B1, I think, but they'd be a risk I'd fail - though again the speaking component would be no problem. B2, i'd have a chance - i think if I focused on exam preparation specific to what you'd expect for the B2 test (the topics, flow, structure, phrasing of questions etc) I'd have a good chance of passing with a few weeks preparation.
All in all, pretty good results for a free service.
I really don't know why people bother to pay for A1 level instruction. It's so basic you can learn all you need to know in a few weeks (or less if you really wanted to push yourself) of intensive self study. Ditto A2 level.
Here's an example of the spoken component of the A1 test:
Yeah, you can prepare for the speaking component. "Ich heiße _ . Ich bin _ Jahre alt. Ich komme aus _ . Ich wohne in _ . Ich bin _ (oder) Ich arbeite an _ . Meine Hobbys sind _ . "
And then learn to spell your name and say your phone number or PIN Code in German.
And then the other two exercises are crap (See picture of house, topic "Fahren", say "Kann ich zu Hause fahren?").
Exactly Rohan :) I guess though for an English speaker the task is much easier. If the sounds and alphabet of the German language are foreign to you then even memorizing the required sentences might be a heavy task.
A2 is basically the same as A1 with a slightly wider range of topics tested - though it too is very formulaic & basic. I'm sure you could pass with an evening of targeted studying - though the "understanding" of what you're memorizing might be lacking.
It doesn't seem to get "hard" until you reach B2 or so - and remember the people taking these tests only need to pass (not get 100%) -so there's leeway with making mistakes.
I guess that's the point - making sure I learn it at a deep, reflexive level and not just a quick cram to pass the test. So I'm willing to pay for the A1 courses even if that's all it is, as it helps me interact with others in German and drill the info deeper into my brain. BUT, that said, I think after the A1, I'll be looking for some "German dinner group" type events to help with day-to-day conversational speaking, to augment the courses.
Both, really. All they did in about 8 hours of class was make people form sentences with dative pronouns (simple ones: "Was hast du mit deinem Freund gemacht?" "Ich habe mit meinem Freund einen Deutschkurs gemacht." and "Warum bist du glücklich?" "Ich bin glücklich, weil es sommer ist.").
Plus they simply don't explain anything in English. Instead they try to demonstrate what it is, and in my opinion, not very well (for example, a telephone call with "Wie geht's! Ich bin zu Hause" for "sich melden" isn't a good example, is it?)
Plus the tests aren't hard, from what I've found online.
But, mizinamo, I found that everyone in class confused sich melden with anrufen! That's the problem. It's not the meaning - they know German well (obviously). It's they way they explain it - people can't quite understand. I find Duo's approach of giving English (or other languages') words out directly as much better. Probably I'm accustomed to this, which means I'm screwed when I do B2.
you could pass a B1 test with 5 months using mostly Duolingo? B1 is very hard to achieve in my opinion. I have a friend that has lived in Germany for 2 years and did a 9 month intensive course and didn't pass. You need to have pretty good general conversation to pass it, as well as good reading and writing skills.
It's quite possible (to pass B1 in 5 months) - there was a girl who passed B1 in 3 months on Youtube that I just watched. But there's lots of variables at play. Motivation would be the main factor. 3 months of learning German for 5h per day (450 hours) beats 1 year learning German for 3h per week (156 hours). This guy here is fairly fluent after 10 months living in Germany (and his first language is not even a Germanic language! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cREa7o2EPQ
Of course it's possible, but not with Duolingo as your main resource. Our course was 4hr per day (20hours per week) for 9months living in Germany and there ended up being a very poor pass rate. It's usually the younger students that do better.
My main point here being, that I wouldn't want people wasting time and money applying for B1 exams if they don't have decent conversational skills. Duo won't give you that.
Interesting - how long did it take from when you started Duolingo? I've been at it 6 weeks today, and also started the A1.1 at Goethe this week... but so far am unimpressed with the class, which seems very simple (and, like any group class, is held back by the lowest common denominator).
Also, I see that you have done this while at Duolingo German level 21 - that's good to hear, that you achieved this result before having to do the whole tree. Did you use any other resources at all? My biggest frustration with Duolingo is the lack of background explanation, and lack of tables (such as for conjugations of basic verbs) - I'm someone who learns well by rote and analysis, so sometimes I just want a table to memorize, & not deal with the game of "figure out the rule" from the Duolingo exercises.
There are a lot of resources online. You can go to About.com German for grammar explanations, just Google what you would like to know and you will get a lot of pages. A grammar book I like is http://www.amazon.com/Practice-Perfect-Complete-German-Grammar/dp/0071763600/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1456768519&sr=1-3&keywords=german+grammar
But you do not need to buy a book. Also go to Deutsch Welle, they have free courses.
Lack of tables? Hover mouse over every verb, and there's a "conjugate" button.
Anyway, I didn't complete my table. I've done till V. Cond. 2, and much of it was totally useless (even stuff like Animals 1). It's extremely basic, and even that, I found people poring into books and apps and flashcards before the exams, and still speaking utterly crap German in the Schreiben section ("Können See bitte ein Brod maken?" (with "Sie" pronounced as English "See", usw.). Certainly Duolingo is excellent for A1 (if one goes through all the comments and the conjugations and the notes), and I believe, enough for A2 (I was able to get ~70 as an estimate in A2-Modellsatz).