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Goethe-Zertifikat is a German language proficiency test prepared and administered by the Goethe-Institut. 

The Goethe-Institut is a German cultural association established in 1951, operating with approximately 160 institutes worldwide, promoting the German language and encouraging international cultural exchange and interaction. 

The Goethe-Zertifikat is widely recognized in many countries globally and is frequently used by employers and educational institutions to assess German language proficiency.

Case of Use

The Goethe-Zertifikat serves the purpose of evaluating and certifying German language proficiency in professions where oral and/or written communication plays a significant role, such as tour guiding, customer service representation, translation and interpretation, piloting, and cabin crew positions. 

It is also used for proving German language proficiency in applications to higher education institutions, including universities, technical universities, university colleges, and vocational schools. 

Overall, it is utilized to determine an individual's proficiency level in the German language. While higher education institutions may have preferences for proficiency exams like DSH or TestDaF, the Goethe-Zertifikat is widely recognized by many educational institutions worldwide.

Scoring and Levels

The language proficiency levels of the Goethe-Zertifikat are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The CEFR is an assessment and reference system established for languages spoken throughout Europe.

Level Group








Can understand and use very basic sentences when it comes to meeting basic needs and familiar expressions.


Can introduce themselves and others, ask and answer questions about personal details such as where they live, people they know, and things they have, provided the other person speaks slowly and clearly and is willing to help.


Basic User

Can understand sentences and common expressions related to their closest areas of interest (e.g., basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).


Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine topics.


Can describe their background, immediate surroundings, and matters of immediate need using simple terms.






Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.


Can deal with most situations that may arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken.


Can produce simple related texts on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.


Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes, and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.


Independent User

Can understand the main ideas of complex texts on both tangible and abstract topics, including technical discussions in specialized areas.


Can interact with native English speakers with enough fluency and spontaneity to facilitate regular communication, without putting strain on either party.


Can produce clear, detailed texts on a wide range of topics and explain a viewpoint on a current issue by presenting the advantages and disadvantages of various options.






Can easily comprehend a variety of challenging, lengthy sentences and recognize implicit meanings.


Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without a specific search for expressions.


Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic, and professional purposes.


Can create clear, well-structured, detailed texts on complex topics, using organizational patterns, connectors, and cohesive devices in a controlled manner.




Can effortlessly understand almost everything heard or read.


Can summarize information from different oral and written sources, restructuring arguments and narratives into a coherent presentation.


Can express themselves spontaneously, very fluently, and precisely, distinguishing subtle nuances of meaning even in the most complex situations.





Similar to many language proficiency exams, the Goethe-Zertifikat assesses participants' reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.


In the reading section, participants are required to read excerpts from reference books, interviews, and/or reports and complete various exercises (e.g., summarizing certain sections of the texts). 

The reading test evaluates participants' ability to deal with longer and more comprehensive texts that they might encounter in real life. Participants are given 70 minutes to complete this section.


In the writing section, participants are provided with various information in a schematic form on a given topic, and they are asked to write a well-structured, detailed text. Participants are given 80 minutes for this section of the exam.


In the listening section of the exam, participants are asked to listen to discussions, phone conversations, interviews, or radio news, take notes, and categorize expressions. Participants are given approximately 40 minutes to complete the listening section.


In the first part of the speaking section, participants are asked to express their opinions in a short text. 

Subsequently, participants are required to engage in a discussion with their assigned speaking partners to reach a common decision on a specific topic or find a solution to a problem. This section of the exam takes 10 to 15 minutes.


Similar to TestDaF and DSH, the Goethe-Zertifikat does not expire, and the certificate is valid indefinitely after passing the test. 

However, some universities may require re-taking the exam if there is a significant time gap between the test date and the current date, based on their own policies and regulations.

Exam Prep

Exam preparation can be a challenging process for those who have no knowledge of German or have a German language proficiency level below CEFR B2. 

Proper preparation for the exam involves using high-quality and official preparation materials, attending German language courses, taking practice exams, and getting accustomed to a non-conventional exam format.