German Language: Levels 1 and 2
The German Language exam measures skills typically acquired through two to four semesters of German language study.
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2021 CLEP Official Study Guide
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CLEP® German Language Examination Guide
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This guide provides practice questions for the CLEP® German Language (Levels 1 and 2) Exam only.
German Language: Levels 1 and 2
The German Language examination is designed to measure knowledge and ability equivalent to that of students who have completed two to three semesters of college German language study.
Material taught during both years is incorporated into a single exam, covering both Level 1 and Level 2 content. ACE recommends 6 semester hours of credit for mastery of Level 1 content (a score of 50) and 9 semester hours of credit for mastery of both Levels 1 and 2 (a score of 60). Colleges may award different amounts of credit depending on the candidate’s test scores.
Knowledge and Skills Required
The exam contains approximately 120 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. Some of these are pretest questions that will not be scored. There are three separately timed sections. The three sections are weighted so that each question contributes equally to the total score. Any time you spend on tutorials or providing personal information is in addition to the actual testing time.
The examination is administered in three separately timed sections:
- Sections I and II: Listening
- Section III: Reading
Questions on the German Language examination require test takers to demonstrate the abilities listed in each section below. The percentages indicate the approximate percentage of exam questions focused on each ability.
Sections I and II (40%)
Ability to understand spoken language through short stimuli or everyday situations
25% Dialogues and Narratives
Ability to understand the language as spoken by native speakers in longer dialogues and narratives
Section III (60%)
16% Part A: Discrete sentences: Mastery of vocabulary and structure in the context of sentences
20% Part B: Short cloze passages: Mastery of vocabulary and structure in the context of paragraphs
24% Part C: Reading comprehension: Ability to read and understand texts representative of various styles and levels of difficulty (e.g., passages of about 200 words; shorter pieces such as advertisements, signs, etc.)
Most textbooks used in college-level German language courses cover the topics in the outline given earlier, but the approaches to certain topics and the emphases given to them may differ. To prepare for the German Language exam, it is advisable to study one or more college textbooks, which can be found in most college bookstores. When selecting a textbook, check the table of contents against the knowledge and skills required for this test.
Besides studying basic vocabulary, you should understand and be able to apply the grammatical principles that make up the language. To improve your reading comprehension, read passages from textbooks, short magazine or newspaper articles, and other German-language material of your choice. To improve your listening comprehension, seek opportunities to hear the language spoken by native speakers and to converse with native speakers. If you have opportunities to join organizations with German speaking members, to attend German movies, or to listen to German-language radio broadcasts, take advantage of them.
A survey conducted by CLEP found that the following textbooks are among those used by college faculty who teach the equivalent course. You might purchase one or more of these online or at your local college bookstore.
- DiDonato et al., Deutsch: Na Klar! (McGraw-Hill)
- Dollenmayer and Hansen, Neue Horizonte (Heinle)
- Haublein et al., MEMO (Langenscheidt)
- Jannach and Korb, German for Reading Knowledge (Heinle)
- Lovik et al., Vorsprung (Heinle)
- Moeller et al., Deutsche Heute (Heinle)
- Sevin and Sevin, Wie Geht's? (Heinle)
- Terrell et al., Kontakte (McGraw-Hill)
- Treffpunkt, Deutsche (Prentice Hall)
- Vail and Sparks, German in Review: Lehrbuch der Deutschen Grammatik (Wiley)
- Bahlmann et al., Unterwegs (Langenscheidt)
- Moeller et al., Kaleidoskop (Heinle)
- Motyl-Mudretzkyi and Späinghaus, Anders Gedacht (Heinle)
These resources, compiled by the CLEP test development committee and staff members, may help you study for your exam. However, none of these sources are designed specifically to provide preparation for a CLEP exam. The College Board has no control over their content and cannot vouch for accuracy.
- German Academic Exchange Service: Resources
- Goethe-Institut: Learning German
- University of Northern Iowa: Jim Becker's Super German Websites
- Young Germany
Credit-Granting Scores for German Language
ACE Recommended Score*: 50
Semester Hours: 6
ACE Recommended Score*: 60
Semester Hours: 9
Each institution reserves the right to set its own credit-granting policy, which may differ from that of ACE. Contact your college as soon as possible to find out the score it requires to grant credit, the number of credit hours granted, and the course(s) that can be bypassed with a satisfactory score.
*The American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) has evaluated CLEP processes and procedures for developing, administering, and scoring the exams. The score listed above is equivalent to a grade of C in the corresponding course. The American Council on Education, the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and to influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives. Visit the ACE CREDIT website for more information.