If you want to stay in Austria for any length of time there is a basic German language test that inevitably, you have to take.
I started preparing for this as soon as I arrived, studying doggedly for two hours a day, painfully learning pronunciation with my Ukranian teacher. It helped not having a job – I had such a lot of time and a high desire to use my brain.
They say that the A1 test can be passed in three months, with two hours of study a day. I can tell you for a fact that I was nowhere near ready after three months. I still felt like a drunk fruitcake whenever I tried to speak German.
To be fair, if I had studied just for the A1 test for two hours a day for three months, then I probably would have been ok, but I was learning German not just to pass a test, but to actually learn German, so I could actually function here and communicate with my future in-laws.
Around the end of spring I finished the second book and as my teacher was going on summer holidays I decided to do the test while she was gone. Well… being summer there wasn’t a whole lot happening and by the time we found somewhere to take the test, a month had passed. Then it was another six weeks or so before the actual text took place.
By this point I was champing at the bit to get it over with. I knew I was beyond ready. Finally the day arrived and I was like a sweaty cupcake, even though I knew it was going to be easy.
But once I started I relaxed. And it was easy – dead easy.
A1 Test Part 1
I had to match up some written advertisements with their matching pictures. It took me about 1 minute. And then I had 14 minutes to check it over… carefully.
A1 Test Part 2
The listening part was a little harder. Some of the things they only play once so if you miss it, it’s gone. But the speaking was easy and slow, and it’s multiple choice which I kick ass at!
A1 Test Part 3
The writing part: first, a form to fill in. This was simple. Even someone with no German language skills could probably work it out. The second part was a letter reply and was a little harder, but once again, still pretty basic. You only have to write 30 words. Mine was almost double that.
A1 Test Part 4
This was by far the hardest part and the part I was most scared of. I was given a choice of three pictures, ten minutes to write some notes and then I took my picture into the room to have a conversation with the examiner about it. I struggled through but felt I did ok. At the end one of them seemed to say that it had gone very fast and I wasn’t sure what that meant. Did it mean that I hadn’t said enough? Or had it gone fast because I was so much more awesome than everyone else?
Turns out it was the latter. A week and a half later I received my results. 100%. An amazing result, though to be fair, since I studied harder than I did for most of my end of school exams, one I probably deserved.