Skip to main content

Overview of Goethe-Institut Examination & Course Levels

Our courses at Goethe-Zentrum Atlanta correspond to the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and range from A1 for beginners to C2 for language skills at the highest level. If you are unfamiliar, please read the CEFR Level Overview below.

At Goethe-Zentrum Atlanta, we structure our progressive classes as follows: 

Beginner: A1.1, A1.2, A1.3, A1.4 - also offered as A1 Intensive Course twice a year

Advanced Beginner: A2.1, A2.2, A2.3, A2.4 - also offered as A2 Intensive Course 

Intermediate: B1.1, B1.2, B1.3, B1.4

Bridging between B1 and B2: B1+ courses if offered, B1+ and up 

Advanced Intermediate: B2.1, B2.2, B2.3, B2.4, B2.5, B2.6, all B2 and up level specialized courses, B1+ and up 

Advanced: C1.1, C1.2, C1.3, C1.4, C1-C2 level courses, B2 and up level specialized courses

Mastery: C2 level courses if offered, C1-C2 level courses, B2 and up level specialized courses

To ensure learning progress, each course assigns homework and independent study work. Daily review of vocabulary is a necessity. The textbooks we use come with access to the e-book, interactive exercises on the internet, and a phone app for easy practice on the go. To further enhance learning progress, we offer specialized courses with a focus on grammar, conversation, and cultural content at different learner levels that complement your language course, many offered with a bundle pricing option if you take two classes in one quarter.

Not sure what course level is the right one for you? We can assist you with a placement test. For details and the contents of each course level, please see the individual course descriptions for all our virtual and in-person courses that outline what themes and contents are taught in each individual course.

Please note: we cannot offer all course levels during each quarter. If you have questions, please contact our Language Program at 404-892-2388 or e-mail

How long does it usually take to learn a language?

Living in an immersive environment accelerates language acquisition. If you study German while living and taking classes in the United States, the following pictures illustrate the time it usually takes to acquire each level of language skills.

Are you interested in taking a two- or four-week German course in Germany to speed up or solidify your skills? Please contact us a for a consultation. 

Levels of Goethe-Institut Examinations & Language Courses

Examinations Prerequisites

The Goethe-Institut German language exams correspond to the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and range from A1 for beginners to C2 for language skills at the highest level.

Please read all information on our exam page carefully. Each exam level is only suitable for students who have successfully completed the corresponding CEFR level of language acquisition. 

CEFR: Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Website of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages 

Elementary use of language

A1 A2
Can understand and use familiar, everyday expressions and very simple sentences, which relate to the satisfying of concrete needs. Can introduce themselves and others as well as ask others about themselves – e.g. where they live, who they know and what they own – and can respond to questions of this nature. Can communicate in a simple manner if the person they are speaking to speaks slowly and clearly and is willing to help. Can understand sentences and commonly used expressions associated with topics directly related to their direct circumstances (e.g. personal information or information about their family, shopping, work, immediate surroundings). Can make themselves understood in simple, routine situations dealing with a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and common topics. Can describe their background and education, immediate surroundings and other things associated with immediate needs in a simple way.

Independent language use

B1 B2
Can understand the main points when clear, standard language is used and the focus is on familiar topics associated with work, school, leisure time, etc. Can deal with most situations typically encountered when travelling in the language region. Can express themselves simply and coherently regarding familiar topics and areas of personal interest. Can report on experiences and events, describe dreams, hopes, and goals as well as make short statements to justify or explain their own views and plans. Can understand the main contents of complex texts on concrete and abstract topics; also understands specialized discussions in their own primary area of specialization. Can communicate so spontaneously and fluently that a normal conversation with native speakers is easily possible without a great deal of effort on either side. Can express themselves on a wide range of topics in a clear and detailed manner, explain their position on a current issue, and indicate the benefits and drawbacks of various options.

Autonomous language ability

C1 C2
Can understand a wide range of challenging, longer texts and also grasp implicit meanings. Can express themselves spontaneously and fluently without having to search for words frequently and noticeably. Can use the language effectively and flexibly in their social and professional life or in training and studies. Can make clear, structured and detailed statements on complex topics and apply various means of text association appropriately in the process. Can effortlessly understand practically everything which they read or hear. Can summarize information from various written and spoken sources, logically recounting the reasons and explanations. Can express themselves spontaneously with high fluency and precision and also make finer nuances of meaning clear in more complex topics.