Can I take a German GCSE exam based on my Duolingo learning alone?
I'm a 52 year old who came 30th in German and 31st in French in a class of 31 when at school. I'm loving German on Duolingo and would love to get a formal exam pass if I could. Question : is Duolingo good enough preparation for. GCSE exam? And can I apply to take exams at this level ( I seem to remember a few old fogeys used to turn up on exam days back in the 70's.
I think it would be unwise to use only Duolingo, because there will be a set syllabus for GCSE with specific things you'll be expected to cover. There's no guarantee that Duolingo will cover exactly these things. Also, my French GCSE included a conversational oral component, which Duolingo will not prepare you for -- you can use http://italki.com/partners or another online conversation exchange service for that. Better still, find some real people to speak to -- if you're lucky there might be an Goethe-Institut group in your area.
If I were aiming at this, I'd equip myself with: an official GCSE coursebook, past exam papers for the appropriate exam board, Duolingo, a Michel Thomas audio course (expensive to buy but often available in your public library for free), and the aforementioned conversation practice. I'm afraid I have no idea as to the actual logistics of taking the exams as a non-pupil but I'm fairly sure it's possible. Maybe call your LEA?
Addendum: if I were you I'd consider aiming not for a GCSE but for an exam within the CEFR framework ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages ). It's far more widely recognized than a GCSE, has several levels to choose from, and is more usually taken by adult learners. Details of the German CEFR exams here: http://www.goethe.de/lrn/prj/pba/bes/enindex.htm . List of places you can take them in the UK here: http://www.goethe.de/ins/gb/lp/lrn/prf/enindex.htm .
Could you take it? Sure, that's easy enough.
Could you succeed? Maybe, but you'd want to supplement Duolingo with some other sources.
Thanks - I have German for Dummies, Teach Yourself Complete German book and Cd, Collins Grammar and am watching German News daily. - a little worried that using multiple methods I might confuse myself. Even rang a Munich hotel but after I introduced myself in German the receptionist insisted in speaking English : not sure if this was a comment on my accent or not!
It's so much about teaching to the test now that I think you might need some mediation - not because of the language skills but because of knowing exactly what they want from you. There's nothing to prevent you taking public exams at any age but I think I'd have a word with your local adult education classes provider.
Thanks for all the advice. I have ordered a GCSE revision book to see how big a gap there is between my Duolingo learning and a formal course qualification . Looking at the CEFR profile I guess I'm at level 1B or 2A. I just feel taking some sort of exam will "prove" I have learnt something. Although a week spent in Bavaria this summer may provide a more practical test of my learning so far.