1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. Learning German, help!


Learning German, help!

Hey everyone,

So I'm on a quest, part personal, part productive.

It turns out that I have German heritage (which should be obvious given my last name), and I'm also considering studying in Austria next year. Now, the university I'm attending (graciously) requires a B2 level exam to enter.

2 weeks ago, I knew no German. I have 1 year (just under 12 months) to get myself up to B2 level. I have motivation, and I have the drive. I just need the advice: How do I do this?

Obviously Duolingo by itself will not suffice. Due to the latest update, I think there are 115 courses. Completing one to Gold everyday will allow me to finish the tree in ~4 months.

My current plan of attack: -Finish Duolingo ASAP -Complete Memrise ASAP -Maybe use Anki to push new vocabulary

After I finish the basics and learn a few phrases, I will start doing online classes twice a week (unfortunately there are no German classes near me). I am also going through a German Grammar book.

What am I missing? How can I be sure to hit the deadline? I'm willing and ready to put 3+ hours a day into this, and I already have some days.

Thanks everyone!

October 11, 2019



I think your plan sounds good, be confident about it and stick to it. However, if I were you, I would start the online classes now at least once a week with a teacher who prepares for the CEFR exam, another option is to look for videos in youtube. I prefer to have classes with a teacher in person, but in your case online would work well since you do not have available classes in person near your neighborhood. Any app nor book will replace a comunication with a real person... Remember that one thing is to learn the language, and another one is to approve an exam. If you really need to get the B2, then you need to know how is the exam, kind of questions, and a preparation in order to approve that exam. Therefore, it is important that you add an strategy aligned to your personal goal of approving the exam.


Agreed! I've already looked at (for instance) the Goethe Institut exams, and there are some things I need to focus on. Vocabulary is the huge one (like 5000+ words here I come!).


Some tips


Unfortunately, my German is no where near good enough to even understand 50% of any written material in professional literature (probably 10%!).

I do agree to listening to German- I've been listening to 'Easy German' on youtube :)


Buy a B2 practice exam book that has an audio CD for the listening portions. Focus your vocabulary on that, as well as your preparation. Don't waste your time here on Duo, it does nothing to prepare you for such test. Austria will require you to more than likely be certified with ÖSD, but they may also accept Göthe, I'm not sure.

There are four sections as you may know:

Reading: To prepare for this, I would suggest getting an few audio books and the books to go along with them, and read the book along with the audio being played several times.

Listening: Watch movies and shows (that are not dubbed, but cartoons are ok). Watch as much as you can, no matter the difficulty.

Writing: Get a tutor. Normally you won't need one for A1 to B1 you can figure out how to write basic yourself and pass those test without too much difficulty. But for B2 and above you are going to need actual instruction and guidance.

Speaking: Tutor, or a friend.

Most importantly though, find an ÖSD B2 exam book and practice it for a year.
For a quick boost in vocab, find a top 5k vocab list on Memrise.


Yes! They are looking for a ÖSD certificate, B2 level. From everything I've read, ÖSD is easier than Goethe or other exams, because they use similar materials in their examinations. I hope thats the case!

I do want to learn the language as well, not just ace a test ;) surely Duolingo is somewhat useful for that?

I've got Memrise, 5k word list in my queue. Going through the basic list first (1k) and then will do 5k right after.


Hey, I am level A2 right now and I am going to sit of my B1 this December. I think I have been in your shoes. And I would like to advice on this since I have very recently been in your shoes. You need to really learn the language to actually study in German. Trust me I need to finish my B2 by next year June (2020). So here goes.

  • The Apps are almost useless. The best it can do is to hand you the Basic 500 Words Vocab that you need to understand "Hi/Hello" in German. Duolingo did help me achieve that level but this is not even a tip of the Iceberg. Get that 500 word in your head and forget the apps forever (Memrise or Duolingo whatever you are following). Now there are three things you have to do-

1) Set an account in DW learn German program and start doing the exercises in Nicos Weg A1-B1. They are excellent and free and way better than every paid course out there. I am absolutely speaking from Experience.

2) Get yourself some good text books. My recommendations would be - Menschen A1, A2 and B1. Netzwerk A1, A2 and B1. For Grammar get either Grammatik Aktiv A1-B1 or Uebungsgrammatik ABC (it's a series of three books- "A Grammatik" is for A1-A2).

3) Watch and listen German on YOUTUBE. There's just no alternative to this buddy. You have to listen to enough German to really get the language in your head. Three excellent channels for that are "Easy German", "Learn German with Anja", and "German with Jenny" they even have CEFR playlist.

P/S- BTW, Read and Write German as soon as you get over the initial "Wie geht es Ihnen?" level. There's just no alternative to the old fashion "writing things to memorize them" trick. I really hope you get your desired level (B2). Viel Erfolg!

Related Discussions

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.