Today was the date of the German A1 exam, that we had rescheduled twice, and we passed! Despite the late night, early morning, train delays, and constantly forgetting that the exam was coming up.
I think we survived through a little luck and the residual benefits of the studying we did back in June. It was also the most basic level exam.
The listening section was much more difficult than expected. The speech was often too fast for us to keep up with. There were no doubt some lucky guesses in this section.
The reading section was the easiest, as there was plenty of time and we could use logic when our vocabulary failed us.
The writing section was much easier than expected, which was nice.
That ended the paper/written exam section. There was a 10-minute break while our papers were marked. We thought that we must have failed, which would mean that we wouldn’t be allowed to sit the oral section of the exam. We were really shocked when the examiner summoned us.
The oral section was better and worse than I thought. It was worse because my brain locked up quite a few times and I couldn’t form a question in English, despite being ready to easily mentally translate into German. It was better because there was just Katie and I, plus the two extremely-friendly and supportive examiners.
Again, we were surprised when they told us that we had passed. We will get our detailed results in January some time, after the holiday break.
Since the exam, we have been speaking more German than in the entire last week. We also feel much more confident about speaking, though not to the extent of conversing with our German-born pest controller who sprayed the house this afternoon.
We’re keen to maintain and grow our German skills, and I think more speaking is the key. Katie will be taking A1-level and A2-level German classes as part of her university course next year, and I will learn over her shoulder. At the end of the year, we should be ready for the A2 exam. I used to work on projects must faster than that, but we have other things taking up our time now.
If our private study goes well, I may achieve the bucket list goal (a 30-minute conversation with a native) before sitting the A2 exam. That’s OK; the exams are only sub-goals to aim for, and to work towards with Katie.
The next update will probably be not long after Katie begins her university course in February/March 2015, once we know the plan for those courses, though I may have another update before then.