Preparing For The Testdaf

By: Shawn Seah

You want to know an easy way to pass or excel in the TestDaF? Allow me to share my experiences and system on how I managed to conquer the difficult TestDaF examination, the German examination for foreigners.

The first thing I did was to set up a TestDaF plan. I prepared for the different sections of the TestDaF rather than doing a holistic approach. To prepare for reading comprehension, I read Der Spiegel daily, selecting articles that had themes in the TestDaF. I borrowed books and magazines from libraries so I could familiarise myself with formal standard German used in the examination.

To prepare for the listening comprehension section, I listened to themes in speeches by Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as German podcasts and songs, and Der Spiegel TV Online. I did this every day. I listened and then tried to decipher what they were saying. Later, this proved invaluable and useful because the listening comprehension in the TestDaF is actually slower and clearer than are the programmes on German TV.

Then I prepared for the writing section. I wrote an essay daily. The thing about the TestDaF is that writing can be simply prepared for. There will always be graphical explanation. There will also always be an argumentative theme to write on, and so you should prepare for that too. The planning, preparation, and thinking are the same, be it English or French, but this time you remember to express yourself in German. One good thing about the TestDaF is that it does not test you for grammar, but tests your fluency and command of the language instead. Hence, not knowing the articles of nouns will not be as important here as opposed to most other European language examinations.

I then wanted to prepare for the oral aspect. Note that there are only two major ways to do so effectively. What are they? Recitation and practice. I recited many German texts aloud, using books to get the texts and magazines as well. And I also spoke German to people as often and as many times as I could, using various vocabulary words and grammatical structures. That was how I prepared myself for the Testdaf.

There are other easy ways of preparing yourself for the TestDaF, and these may work for you as well. For example, you could do an online course that specialises in preparing you. Many are courses that require you to pay some fee and yet there are also some which are free. Furthermore, if you have time, a long-term approach is best: read more, listen more to German radio, speak more German and find more chances to express yourself, surf and use the Internet in German.

If, on the other hand, you have not much time, and the TestDaF is coming soon, the best way to prepare for the TestDaF is to now memorise key phrases and key words that you will use for writing and speaking. "This graph presents" and "upward and downward trends" and other stock phrases are the stock phrases you need to memorise if you wish to survive the TestDaF. Memorise key terms and phrases for the writing and speaking sections and regurgitate these at every chance you get. This is a technique employed not just by TestDaF takers but by students and examtakers globally, so have no fear.

Well, I hope I have helped you, so do follow my tips, and good luck and all the best for your German language examination!

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