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German Proficiency Test- Zertifikat Deutsch

The Zertifikat Deutsch or ZD is an internationally acknowledged exam of German language ability. It tests for a level of proficiency equivalent to level B2 of the six-level scale of competence laid down in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The Zertifikat Deutsch is the outcome of a partnership among Goethe Institute, the Austrian Language Diploma (Osterreichischem Sprachdiplom, or OSD), the Swiss Education Directors’ Conference (Schweizer Erziehungsdirektorenkonferenz, or EDK) and WBT Weiterbildungs-Testsysteme GmbH.

Purpose

The ZD is needed to obtain a German citizenship, immigration, employment and university admission. Likewise, people who just wish to prove their German proficiency or wish to have their German skills certified may also take the ZD test. Normally, the exam is taken after finishing a German course provided by the Goethe Institute (GI) in Germany or overseas, but individual candidates can apply for the exam.

Candidates require a minimum of 300 to 450 hours of teaching in German language in order to get the required fluency to pass the Zertifikat Deutsch exam.

The Zertifikat Deutsch exam is designed to meet the needs of adult students, irrespective of their location, i.e., whether inside or outside a German-speaking nation.

Types of Examinations

The type of exam to take depends upon your personal circumstances. Certain ZD exams are needed for certain circumstances.

Goethe-Certificate B1: The most common ZD exam is the B1 test. It is needed for acquiring German citizenship. Passing the B1 exam confirms that you have a thorough knowledge of German language that is needed for dealing with daily life in a German-speaking nation. The examination corresponds to level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages six-level scale of competence.

Goethe-Certificate C2: The C2 exam (Groes Deutsches Sprachdiplom, GDS) is needed for admittance to a German university.

The Goethe Institute can assist you to find out which exam you should take. For the assistance, you can fix up a personal meeting (generally free of cost) at one of their testing locations or examination partner centers.

Structure of ZD

Zertifikat Deutsch consists of a written and an oral examination.

Written Examination
The written examination includes listening, reading, and written German.

Reading: In this module, emails, blog entries, newspaper articles, advertisement content, etc. are given. Candidates need to read and pick out key points of information and other important details. Also, they need to state viewpoints clearly.

Listening: This module requires the candidates to listen to certain announcements, brief lectures and casual conversations as well as radio discussions and from that pick out the key statements and important details.

Writing: This module requires candidates to write personal and formal e-mails, and express their point of views in an online posting.
  • Duration: 2.5 hours
Oral Examination: In this part, the candidate has to introduce himself/herself to the group. The Candidate needs to talk with their partner about day-to-day general topics and also reply to questions, express their viewpoints and make suggestions. You are also required to make an impromptu presentation about a day-to-day and answer questions around it.
  • Duration: 15 minutes
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes

Registration and Fees

You can register for ZD exam at the Goethe Institute approved examination centers found around the globe.
The fee depends upon-
  • the exam level
  • location of the exam

Scoring and Results

The examination is considered as passed if a minimum of 60% of the maximum amount of points has been achieved in the written and oral examination. This equates to a minimum of 135 out of 225 points in the written examination and a minimum of 45 out of 75 possible points in the oral examination. The final grades are computed as follows:

 Points Grades
 270 - 300 Very good
 240 - 269,5 Good
 210 - 239,5 Satisfactory
 180 - 209,5 Fair/ Pass

After passing the exam, a Certificate of German is issued to the candidates. The ZD exams are managed and governed by the Goethe Institute at GI locations or examination partners in Germany and overseas. To know about your test location, visit Goethe Institute.

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