Language Placement

Which German language course is right for you?

1. Overview:

You want to take German, but don’t know which class would be right for you?

Let’s start with an overview:

A. If you are a beginner, advanced beginner, or beginning intermediate-level student of German, here is our language course sequence:

GER 101: Beginning German 1
GER 102: Beginning German 2

After GER 102, you have two choices: continue with regular 3-credit courses (these meet 3 times a week), or take our intensive 5-credit series (these courses meet 5 times a week, and allow you to take upper-level courses a semester earlier).

Regular series:

GER 103: Beginning German 3
GER 201: Intermediate German 1
GER 202: Intermediate German 2

Intensive series:

GER 203: Intensive Intermediate German 1 (follows GER 102)
GER 204: Intensive Intermediate German 2

B. If you already have advanced intermediate or higher German skills and want to move directly to advanced intermediate and advanced-level courses, please contact the Director of Language Studies, Dr. Viktoria Harms at vih16@pitt.edu. These courses have the numbers 1000-1499.

Note: 1500-level GER courses are taught in English! They have no prerequisites, but also do not count towards the German Certificate or Major.

 

2. Which German language course is right for you?

If you have never taken any German, please enroll in GER 101.

If you have some knowledge of German, here are some guidelines to help you find the right class for you. If you are not sure and want to discuss this with someone, please contact the Director of Language Studies in the German department, Dr. Viktoria Harms (vih16@pitt.edu).

The quick version:

  • If you have had a year in high school or equivalent, enroll in GER 102.
  • If you have had two years in high school or equivalent, enroll in GER 103 or 203.
  • If you have had three years in high school or equivalent, enroll in GER 201.
  • If you have had four years in high school or equivalent, enroll in GER 202 or 204.
  • If you have had five years in high school or equivalent, contact the Director of Language Studies in the German department, Dr. Viktoria Harms (vih16@pitt.edu) to discuss your options.

You will have two weeks at the beginning of the semester during which you can make sure that you are in the right class or make changes if you feel that the course is either too easy or too difficult. We recommend that you discuss this with your instructor as sometimes students underestimate their skills at the beginning of the semester.

Exended version:

GER 102 is probably the right level for you, if you can

  • give basic information about yourself and your friends, your apartment, your hobbies and daily routine
  • use numbers, name the days of the week, months, and the time of day
  • ask and understand simple questions about yourself and your current situation
  • write simple short texts in the present tense, e.g. a postcard
  • read simple short texts on familiar topics​

GER 103 or 203 are probably the right level for you, if you can​

  • talk and write about past events in your life (i.e. use the present perfect)
  • talk and write about your feelings about something, make suggestions (e.g. for a city tour), give tips (e.g. for staying healthy), discuss the pros and cons and make simple comparisons
  • describe where things are
  • write and read short texts like invitations, blog posts, simple movie reviews

GER 201 is probably the right level for you, if you can

  • talk and write about past events in your life (by using the present perfect)
  • describe objects and people in detail (e.g. by using adjectives and relative clauses)
  • talk and write about hopes, wishes, and expectations (by using the subjunctive)
  • complain, apologize, give reasons, ask politely for a favor, give advice and recommendations
  • write and read short texts about topics like sports, the arts, holidays, your living situation (roommates!), and cultural differences

GER 202 or 204 is probably the right level for you, if you can

  • talk and write about topics like new technology, ads, workplace issues, environmental policies, city life, historical events and future plans
  • talk and write about the past, present and future
  • discuss advantages and disadvantages (e.g. of new technology), express your preferences and dislikes
  • comment on longer texts
  • write a short story
  • read a short book with simple grammar and limited vocabulary (i.e. simplified for learners of German)

You are probably ready for one of our 1000-level courses, if you can

  • read a simple book in German
  • participate comfortably in spontaneous discussions about topics related to your personal life, travel, family, work, current events, etc,
  • explain your opinions and plans,
  • summarize the content of a book or movie
  • write longer cohesive texts about personal experiences and thoughts
  • understand most of written and spoken texts about topics familiar to you.

Online Placement Tests:

If you would like even more guidance in finding the right level for you, you can take an online placement test provided by our textbook Netzwerk*. These online tests can only provide limited information, of course, as they do not test your writing, speaking or listening skills, but they can be helpful in determining your knowledge of grammatical structures and vocabulary.

Note: Each placement test consists of 38 multiple choice questions. The tests have no time limit. Depending on your level and your test-taking style, one will probably take you between 20 and 40 minutes to finish. You might also get done much faster, of course. If you find it taking a very long time, please remember that this is only a test to help place you, not a test you are taking for a grade!

Are you thinking about taking GER 102? Take the A1 test:
http://einstufungstests.klett-sprachen.de/eks/netzwerk-A1/

Are you thinking about taking GER 103 or 203? Take the A2 test:
http://einstufungstests.klett-sprachen.de/eks/netzwerk-A2/

Are you thinking about taking 201, 202, 203, or 204? Take the B1 test:
http://einstufungstests.klett-sprachen.de/eks/netzwerk-B1/

The books/levels correspond to our courses as follows:

GER 101: A1, chapters 1-8
GER 102: A1, chapters 9-12 and A2, chapters 1-4
GER 103: A2, chapters 5-12
GER 201: B1, chapters 1-6
GER 202: B1, chapters 7-12
GER 203 (intensive course): A2, chapters 5-12 and B1, chapters 1-2
GER 204 (intensive course): B1, chapters 3-12

*We use the textbook series Netzwerk in our beginning and intermediate language classes. The series covers three levels: A1, A2, B1, following the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).