3rd and 4th grade students can take the ZfA A1 test (ZfA = Central Agency for Schools Abroad in Köln, Germany). This test that certifies that your child has basic German competence in listening, reading, writing and speaking. This is also the first preparation for the DSD tests, as this test has the same format as these more advanced tests. Your student will benefit from taking this test by becoming familiar with the basic test format as well as becoming comfortable with a testing situation. The test also documents their language development and provides valuable feedback to their teacher.
Click for more detailed information about the A1 test
7th and 8th grade students can take the ZfA A2 test.
This test will certify that your child has advanced basic German skills. Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking will be tested, and your child will have to give a short presentation in German that he / she will have to prepare at home.
This test will also provide the school with valuable information about the language development of your child, and it will also show if your child is ready to take the more rigorous DSD 1 exam.
Most of the test will probably be done towards the end of the school year during class time, but depending on the number of students tested, there might be special time frames for the oral exam.
This test has the same format as the DSD 1 test, and is another stepping stone towards the higher level tests.
Click for more detailed information about the A2 test
Starting with 7th grade, students can take the AATG National German test. This test is organized by the AATG (American Association of Teachers of German) and was designed for High School German students. The four levels correspond to the first, second, third and fourth year of German instruction. The AATG test is an online-only test, testing reading and audio-visual comprehension exclusively.
Level 1 is tested in April and Level 2-4 in December / January.
Successful students will receive a certificate and a medal.
All students whose score is at least at the achievement award level will be invited to an award ceremony (most likely in April).
Students who do not speak German at home and have never been to Germany but achieve the gold level will be eligible to apply for a travel grant to Germany.
Again, the AATG exam will provide the teacher with valuable information about the child‘s learning process.
As this test is well known at High Schools with a German program, your child might benefit from the documentation of this test (for example, we had a German Learner student who took the AATG 1 at GSEB and was able to skip German 1 in High School and start directly with German 2).
Click for more information about the AATG exam
Students who are at least 14 years old might take the DSD 1 test.
This rigorous test issued by the ZfA can be passed on two levels: A2 (advanced basic) or B1 (intermediate). A student who reaches the B1 level is eligible to attend a Studienkolleg in Germany, the tuition-free college prep program for international students.
The student will have to give a short prepared presentation for an exam committee in Mountain View (GISSV) and take an approximately 3 hour written exam, which will most likely be at GSEB, but not necessarily during class hours.
We will have to register your student in December before we know the exact dates of the examinations (most likely in March / April). Please note that we cannot unregister your child once he / she were registered. If you have a scheduling conflict due to traveling (spring break), it will count as a failed exam.
The DSD 1 exam can be repeated once if it was not passed or if it was passed on the A2 level. We recommend waiting until your student is at least 15 and a freshman or sophomore in High School, as this test is not only rigorous regarding the German skills, but also regarding their intellectual maturity. Older students usually test significantly better than younger students.
Your student will need at least 20-30 hours at home to prepare for the written exam and to write and practice their presentation for the oral exam.
Students who wish to register for the DSD I exam need to meet stringent registration criteria, certified by their teacher.
Students who are at least 16 years old and who have passed the AP German test with a score of 4 or higher are eligible to be registered for the DSD 2 test if they meet the ZfA criteria, certified by their teacher. The DSD 2 test can be passed on two levels, B2 (advanced intermediate) or C1 (nearly native level). A student who passes on the B2 level is eligible to attend a Studienkolleg in Germany, the tuition-free college prep program for international students, a student who passes on the C1 level meets the language requirements to attend a German University. The actual admission is also dependent on their academic performance in High School.
This most rigorous exam consists of an oral exam that the student will have to prepare at home, with guidance from their teacher. Please schedule at least 25 hours for the preparation of the presentation.
The oral exam will be in Mountain View at GISSV, most likely in January.
The written exam will be held in December, either on a Saturday at GSEB (not necessarily during class time) or on a weekday at a location TBD. Please schedule at least another 25 hours of homework to prepare for the written test.
We will have no influence on the dates and locations of the tests, and we will have to register your child in mid September before we know the exact exam dates. Please note that we cannot unregister your child once he / she were registered. If they do not take the test, it will count as a failed exam.
Your child will be able to retake the test once, if they don’t score on the B2 or C1 level. A test passed on the B2 level cannot be retaken to achieve a better result.
Students who wish to register for the DSD II exam need to meet stringent registration criteria, certified by their teacher.
Students who are at least freshmen in High School can take the AP preparation class.
The GSEB is not an AP testing site; you will have to inquire at your High School about the possibility to take the AP German test. If your High School is not willing to offer the AP test for your child, we might be able to refer your child to other High Schools. In the past, all students were able to take the exam, if they were willing to travel to an alternate high school in the Bay Area.
Many, but not all colleges (public colleges more likely than private colleges) will grant course credits for a successful AP exam score, allowing your student to meet their language requirements faster. The main benefit of the AP program is the learning experience within a high level peer group. It may also provide benefits for college applications and résumés.