If you’re learning German without tracking your level, then you may be crossing a finish line in your study marathon but not even know it.
That’s why, besides testing your German with quizzes or taking a formal exam, you should also be checking your language progress with German exercises.
These tend to cover a variety of topics, situations and subject matter that a German learner might encounter in day-to-day life.
Here’s how you can both measure and boost your skills with online German exercises!
- How to Get the Most out of German Exercises Online
- Online German Exercises: 6 Resources to Keep You On Track
How to Get the Most out of German Exercises Online
- Set a goal. A goal can be getting the B1 certificate in six months, or being able to speak about football for five minutes in German. Learning German with a goal in mind helps you learn effectively and quickly by having a plan of action that you can stick to and divide into small, doable steps.
- Stick to a regular study time for exercises. Based on your schedule, you can set your exercises for a time of the day when your memory is most effective at absorbing German. You may find study time for German exercises in the morning works well for your energy level. To keep energetic, you can use some productivity strategies such as the Pomodoro technique. You also need to stick to your study routine without being distracted. Consistency can be maintained by thinking of your “why,” meaning the reason why you’re doing these exercises and learning German (i.e., your goal).
- Only show corrections after completing an exercise. In a study published by the American Psychological Association, participants were asked questions and had to wait 24 hours to receive corrections to their answers. This was shown to have no detrimental effect on their ability to later learn and retain the correct information. What this means, in short, is that you don’t need to worry that making mistakes or waiting to correct your own mistakes will cause you to retain incorrect information.
One mistake language learners commit while undertaking exercises is showing corrections before even trying to answer. We should always check the correct answers after making errors to make sure the information is picked up and retained, but it’s also beneficial to make a sincere effort to complete an exercise, even if we don’t know all the answers.
- Work on all receptive and productive skills. Many German learners fall into the trap of comfort, where they only work on the skills they find easier to learn. For example, when I first got started with learning German, I used to only consume readable materials and learn writing in German, as I wasn’t able to easily comprehend verbal German. Now that I’m preparing to take the TestDaF, I found out that my listening and speaking skills aren’t as good as my reading and writing skills. Therefore, I need to spend a lot of time catching up on those skills.
Online German Exercises: 6 Resources to Keep You On Track
Goethe-Institut – Accessible Practice Exercises
Accessible Practice Exercises is a page created by the German organization Goethe-Institut to help beginner (A1-A2), medium (B1-B2) and advanced (C1-C2) German learners access their exam training material easily.
The materials are interactive, meaning results are shown upon finishing all the exam sections: Hören (Listening), Lesen (Reading), Schreiben (Writing) and Sprechen (Speaking).
To take the exams properly, you should respect the instructions listed at the beginning of each page (i.e., regarding exam time and using dictionaries).
Because this resource is created by the Goethe-Institut—the institution that hosts the most German tests around the world—German learners can rely on this resource to experience the ins and outs of real exams before they take them.
FluentU – Video-Based Learning
FluentU is an app and browser program that takes authentic German videos, such as movie clips and news, and transforms them into language lessons.
In every video, there are interactive subtitles in both English and German that give you instant access to a word’s definition, pronunciation and example usages. Any vocabulary can be saved in the form of multimedia flashcards that you can compile into decks.
After watching any video, you can test your knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar in it with personalized quizzes that are tailored to your performance. The quizzes also include “speaking questions” that let you say answers aloud, providing the opportunity to work on your German pronunciation.
FluentU gives you the option to set a daily goal so that you can study accordingly. The program also automatically tracks all of the words you’ve learned. This means you can use it both to test how far you’ve come and to keep improving your German every day.
DaF (Deutsch als Fremdsprache)
DaF (Deutsch als Fremdsprache) is an online resource offering a diversity of materials for German learners.
DaF provides you with exercises covering these topics: Texte (texts), Rechtschreibung (spelling), Grammatik (grammar), Wortfelder (lexical fields), Lieder (songs), Bildergeschichten (animated stories) and Prüfungen (exams).
You can choose which materials to work on, depending on your areas of weakness.
Every category on the website contains tons of exercises covering several fields, teaching you new vocabulary and preparing you to interact in a variety of situations in German.
GermanPod101 – German Listening Practice
GermanPod101’s German Listening Practice is a YouTube playlist dedicated to improving your listening.
They upload videos for German learners of all levels and categorize each level with a specific color (Absolute Beginner: Blue, Beginner: Yellow, Intermediate: Orange, Advanced: Red).
All exercises focus mainly on real-life situations such as getting to the airport, talking about breakfast, etc.
If you enjoy these practice exercises, you can check out the GermanPod101 website for a lot more audio and video learning material available by subscription. You also have the option of accessing their community forum and downloading PDF lesson notes.
Easy German – Exercise Sheets for YouTube Video Episodes
Easy German is one of the most viewed German learning channels on YouTube.
Unlike your typical language learning resource, their method consists of interviewing people in German streets and asking them philosophical questions or starting conversations with them. All Easy German’s videos are enhanced with subtitles in both German and English, making it easy to understand their content.
Cari, the CEO of Easy German, has recently started providing exercise sheets to her channel’s supporters (you can become a supporter by committing to a small donation) on Patreon for all episodes published since January 2017. Each sheet includes six corrected exercises for beginner, intermediate and advanced students and a vocabulary list extracted from the conversations in each video.
They offer three free sample sheets of episodes 101, 102 and 103 at the link above.
Deutschlernerblog – German Listening Exercises from A1 to C1
Deutschlernerblog provides you with German listening exercises (Hörverstehen Übungen) for several German levels.
The exercises consist of questions on vocabulary, comprehension and grammar after listening to an audio file (i.e., radio recordings, music, book chapters, texts, etc.). For example, some tasks include filling in blanks to complete the lyrics of a German song, such as this exercise that’s available for AnnenMayKantereit’s “Oft gefragt.”
To access the materials, scroll down the page Hörverstehen Deutsch and click on one of the options under the subheading Übungen zum Hörverstehen Deutsch nach Sprachniveau (German Listening Exercises by Level), choosing the option that matches your language level.
So, you’re now all set to get started! Pick up the online German exercises that best fit your needs, put a plan together and start following your study routine.
Bis bald (see you soon)!
Yassir Sahnoun is a writer, polyglot and co-founder of WriteWorldwide — the go-to resource for freelance writers whose first language isn’t English.