If you were to complete your Goethe Zertifikat B1 level, what would that say about your language skill?

How would it compare to someone who has completed the C1 level?

Why do they have access to higher-paying jobs and better profiles? Are B1 and C1 really that different?


From A1, the beginner, to C2, the master, the Goethe Zertifikat levels become a decisive factor of the progress in our careers and personal lives.

To understand this, it’s important to understand what these levels mean, purely in terms of language skill.

Goethe Zertifikat: The Level System

If you want to be internationally certified in almost any European language, you go through a 6-level learning system. (Levels A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2)

This system is known as the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

This globally accepted scale applies to over 40 languages.

This is what decides your proficiency level, your qualification for a specific job, and even your eligibility to move to a German-speaking country.

Let’s quickly look at what each of these levels mean on the competency scale.

Goethe Zertifikat Competency Scale: Overview

Level Skill-Level In a Few Words
A1 Beginner Can understand and express in the most basic form of German, in a mostly personal context.
A2 Fundamental Knowledge

Can understand basic and commonly used terms in German in the context of simple everyday situations.

Can communicate in simple, routine situations and about basic, familiar things.

B1 Advanced Usage Can understand and use standard German in more detail, in the context of work, leisure, school, etc. and also in terms of personal interests, experiences, and opinions.
B2 (B2.1 and B2.2) Self-sufficient Usage

Can have a fluent and normal conversation with native speakers in more in-depth and technical contexts.

Can express opinions with detailed reasoning and clarity.

C1 Native-Level and Technical Usage

Can understand and use the language in more complex scenarios with more detailing.

Can extract more detailed information from complex data, present information, opinions and experiences in a spontaneous, precise and fluent way.

C2 Mastery

Can understand almost anything clearly through reading and listening.

Can express complex information and emotions with ease.


Your Goethe Zertifikat Level: Look At The Bigger Picture

Often, the preparation for a Goethe Zertifikat exam (or any other CEFR exam) can get strenous. It takes a lot of time and effort to study for them, and at some point, you might lose sight of the bigger picture.

Go back to the quick overview of the levels, and re-read the basic description for your current level.

In a nutshell, that is what is expected of you. All your relentless grammar practice, those long word lists and worksheets, are the smaller pictures.

While trying to perfect them, remember that the bigger picture, the general expectation from you, is quite simple.

This means that even if you are not grammatically perfect every single time with a sentence, or you forget a really impressive-sounding word that you want to use in your exam, it’s not a deal-breaker.

The bigger picture is, how spontaneously you can correct yourself, how well you can understand things in context, and how freely, fluently and precisely you can express yourself.

Now that you understand what the levels A1 to C2 can help you achieve, you can go ahead and:

  • Start planning your learning journey
  • Decide how many levels you want to pursue, based on your desired career/ job profile
  • Consume content (books, websites, online videos, podcasts, etc.) so that your skill level remains intact

With a good learning plan, a great tutor, ample of practice and exam strategies, you’ll not only excel in every level from A1 to C2, but also enjoy them.