Do you want to know how to ace the TestDaF? Here I share my skills and techniques on how I aced the TestDaF examination, the tough and important German language examination for foreign students. Let me show you how it can be easy and fun to ace the examination.
Firstly, I came up with a good idea – to prepare for each section individually. I prepared individually for the various and different sections of the TestDaF. To prepare for the reading comprehension part, I read Der Spiegel Nachrichten daily, choosing articles that had themes similar to the TestDaF examination topics. I also borrowed books and magazines from many libraries in order to familiarise myself with formal and standard German. You will find that the library and the newspapers will be your good friends when preparing for examinations.
Secondly, to prepare for the listening comprehension part of the TestDaF, I listened to many podcasts by Kanzler Angela Merkel, Germany’s podcasts on YouTube, and Der Spiegel TV Online, among other German language programmes. I listened to them often and tried to decipher what they were saying, and tried to write down whatever I could hear and understand. Later, this actually proved extremely invaluable because the listening comprehension part of the TestDaF is actually recited slower and more clearly than are the programmes on actual German TV programmes.
Thirdly, to prepare myself for the writing part of the test, I wrote a German analysis or article every day. The best thing about this exam is that the part on writing can be simply prepared for if you know how to do so. There will always be a form of graphical explanation, and so you will need to prepare for it as it will crop up on the exam. There will also be definitely an argumentative essay or topic to write on, and so you should prepare for that as well, but this time, instead of writing in your mother tongue, try writing it out entirely in German. The planning, preparation for the essay, and the thought processes are the same, be it English or French or Spanish, but this time you remember to express yourself in German. One good thing about the TestDaF is that it does not test you for German grammar, but rather, tests your eloquence and command of the language. Hence, not knowing the articles of nouns won’t be as detrimental here as opposed to other European language examinations which are more rigid.
Fourth, to prepare for the oral section, there are only two major ways to do so. The two ways are recitation and simple practice. I recited many texts aloud. And I also spoke German as often and as many times as I could. That was how I prepared myself for the exam.
That’s not all. There are other ways of preparing yourself for the TestDaF too. Perhaps you could do an online course that specialises in preparing you for the TestDaF. Many are paid courses that make you pay a fee and yet some others are free. Do your own research before committing to any programmes.
If you have quite some time before the examination, a long-term approach is best for you: read more, listen more to German speakers, speak more to German speakers and find more chances to express yourself to both German speakers and classmates or friends, surf the Internet day by day at Yahoo.de and other German websites. Languages are not learnt in a week, despite what some people optimistically and ridiculously claim.
On the other hand, if you have not much time, and the TestDaF will be upon you in no time at all, the best way to prepare for it then is to memorise all the key phrases and expressions that you will need for your writing and speaking parts of the paper. That way you will ensure that you can pass two sections well, and might help you in the other two. “This diagram shows” and “decreasing and increasing trends” and other important key phrases are the major phrases that you will need to memorise and commit to memory if you want to ace your TestDaF. Memorise the key terms and sentences you require for the writing and speaking sections of the TestDaF and throw in those words and key phrases each and every time and every single chance you get to do so in your essays. This is a common and simple exam technique used not just by desperate TestDaF takers but by many students and many exam takers all around the world.
Well, in any case, good luck and all the best for your examination! I am sure you will do well. I am sure I managed to help you in my own way to ace the TestDaF. Cheers!