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Tips for the A1 German Verbal Exam

So you have had your first 100-150 hours of German lessons or studied on your own and now are going for your first German exam? Good news the exam “Start Deutsch 1” was developed by Goethe and TELC in cooperation. So you don’t have to choose yet which exam to take. Today I will give you some tips on how to thoroughly prepare for the oral exam.

A1 Goethe and TELC

Good news! At the A1 level there are many elements of the exam that you can study and learn by heart to prepare you for the exam. It is important that you understand the format of the exam so that you will not only feel more relaxed, but also have the chance to develop and present in a way that is a good representation of your true knowledge.

The exam consists of three parts. When you begin the exam your two examiners will introduce themselves, welcome you and explain the details by giving an example. Then part one will already begin.

Part 1 - The Introduction

In the first part of the exam you have to introduce yourself. Luckily, this is something that you can prepare ahead and practice at home. Be sure to speak slowly and clearly so that you can be understood. A sample of this introduction looks something like this. Make sure to include the following:

  • name

  • age

  • where you are from

  • where you live

  • languages you speak

  • profession

  • hobbies



Mein Name ist Sabine.

Ich heiße Sabine.

Ich bin 42 Jahre alt.

Ich komme aus Österreich.

Ich wohne in der Schweiz. (make sure you use the article if you are living in Switzerland!)

Ich spreche Deutsch, Englisch und ein bisschen Französisch. (Make sure you know the names of all languages you are able to speak.)

Ich bin Lehrerin.

Meine Hobbys sind Lesen und Sport.

The examiner may also ask you to spell your name or other information like the city/country you were born in or perhaps give your phone number or another number. Make sure you practice these tasks as well!

Part 2 - Asking and Answering Questions

In the second part you pick a card for topic and ask a question to one of your colleagues.

When it’s your turn you pick a card and flip it over. The examiner tells you who to ask, this person answers and then picks the next card and also asks a question. Always make sure that you ask a equation relating to a topic! Once the first topic is finished for all candidates there will be a second one.


Using the topic 'food and drinks' and the card I’ve picked is 'Frühstück'.

The questions could be:

Was isst du zum Frühstück?

Wann isst du Frühstück?

Isst du Frühstück?

If you are asked these questions, possible answers could be:

Was isst du zum Frühstück? Ich esse Müsli zum Frühstück.

Wann isst du Frühstück? Ich esse um 8:00 Frühstück.

Isst du Frühstück? Nein, ich esse nie Frühstück.

Part 3 - Topics for Discussion

In the third part of the exam you will also pick cards. Only turn them over when it is your turn. Then look at the picture and formulate a request. Another candidate has to answer to your request.


The first picture is a CD. So you could say:

Laura könntest du mir die neue CD von Celine Dion borgen?

A possible answer would be:

Es tut mir leid, die habe ich nicht.

Because part three is the trickiest, let me give you some more examples:

Marcel, ich habe mein Heft vergessen, könntest du mir deines kurz geben?

Natürlich gerne.

Ich habe heute keinen Stift. Hast du noch einen?

Ja, du kannst meinen Stift gerne haben.

Ich brauche noch einen Sessel. Könntest du mir einen holen?


There is a lot of material for the A1 exam online. Make sure you go through as many mock exams as possible. This will help you to come up with creative ideas before the exam and during the exam you just need to repeat phrases you have already memorized at home!

Ich drücke euch meine Daumen! (I wish you good luck!)

Eure Sabine

Sabine Erker is an online German language teacher, content creator, editor and podcaster. She holds several examiner licenses for TELC and ÖSD and prepares students for all common German language exams including Goethe, TestDaF, ÖIF, and more. Her podcast focuses on interesting topics for German learners and reaches listeners in over 80 countries worldwide.


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