A2 in German with Duolingo
Hey! There has been quite some discussion on preparing for language exams with Duolingo, so I thought I'll give my personal account. I have been doing the Duolingo course for German for quite some time now; I have completed the tree around two years ago and was doing it on and off, never really having the patience to make the entire tree gold. While it was my primary method of learning German in recent time, I had some exposure to it earlier on, with a German course in my high school (finished ten years ago), and some exposure to the educational materials on the Deutsche Welle website. Due to personal circumstances, I needed to get a language certification in German at the A2 level, and, as it was rather urgent, I enrolled in a language exam taking place in two weeks. In the short time I had left, I made some exercises from a preparatory book for the exam, listened the 25 lessons for A2 level available on the Deutsche Welle website, and dug into the Duolingo course even more (two days before the exam I actually managed to make the tree golden). The exam went surprisingly well, and I scored 93 points out of 100. What was particularly surprising for me was that my best score was in the spoken part of the exam, where I got 25 out of 25 points---even though immediately after the exam, I was absolutely sure I failed it. I guess it might have been connected with the fact that, as I panicked, I was using some grammatical forms I would have never dared to use in a more comfortable setting. I was pretty sure I was using them wrongly, but perhaps I wasn't. While quite a few factors contributed to this, I am really grateful for the Duolingo team, especially to the creators of the German course, for providing such a convenient tool for language learning. I am using more methods of learning German right now, but I will definitely stick to Duolingo for some more time.
Wow, congratulations! That's encouraging.
I'll ckeck those Deutsche Welle lessons. I just realized a few days ago that I would lose good opportunities if I never took an actual exam...
Deutsche Welle offers a variety of good quality materials, it is a very good idea to check them out. Some of the educational materials offered by them are prepared with specialists from Goethe Institut, and it is likely, that you would be passing your language certification exams in Goethe Institut itself, which is another incentive!
That's great. Thanks for sharing the story. I believe you might have done so well on the speaking part because of how many words we learn on Duolingo. Even using an "advanced" word can give you some plus points compared to a student who just prepared for A2 level and only learned a limited number of words. That is not to say we know them all ;-) , but Duolingo gives a really strong vocabulary knowledge.
That might indeed be the case. Duolingo course introduces you to, as far as I know, around 2,000 German words, which is a number enabling you to have meaningful conversations on a variety of subjects. But what I particularly value in Duolingo is that it builds up intuitive understanding of how sentences are constructed, which is of primary importance in conversational situations.
Could you guys elaborate a bit more on the resources available at Deutsche Welle for the various GEFR (A1, S2 and so on) certifications of preparations?
I am a bit out of touch with the resources offered by Deutsche Welle right now. One point you would perhaps like to check is the interactive course which, as far as I remember, gives a rather accessible introduction to German grammar. Their materials include also listening exercises sorted by level; for A1 and A2 there is available a set of 50 sets of recording 'Radio D', which may or may not be a bit irritating to you, depending on how much you tolerate resources aimed at young users. Why you might do well not to ignore them is because they also provide sets of test questions for each of the 15-minute long recording, information on grammar, etc. From the B1 level onwards, the audio recordings include news stories, along with test questions for each of them, testing you on the understanding of the material. These are the materials that I used, but there are many more there; you would do best exploring them by yourself!
There's, for instance, the Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten podcast (containing world news) which I find very useful and use to keep myself updated on world events instead of something in languages I know better.