Have you ever seen a marathon with no finish line?
You might cross one without knowing it if you’re learning German without tracking your level.
Slow and steady certainly wins the race, but if you’re not aware of your goals and surroundings, you may not even know where you’re headed.
But there’s a much more efficient and exciting way…
Unlike some other resources that test your progress, German exercises are plentiful and diverse. They tend to cover a variety of topics, situations and subject matter that a German learner might encounter in day-to-day life.
What’s more, you can use them both to test your current German skills and as a regular method for learning and improving.
Below are six exercise resources you can use to target all your key language skills.
But before we get into those, let’s look at how to get the most out of German exercises online.
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
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.
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.
FluentU takes the crème de la crème of authentic German YouTube videos—like cartoons, news, vlogs, movie trailers, music videos and talks on a variety of subjects—and turns them into German exercises, vocabulary flashcards, vocabulary lists, etc. In every video, there are optional subtitles in both English and German, and all videos are categorized according to level.
After watching any video, you can test your knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar in it with a series of quizzes. The great thing about these quizzes is that they’re personalized based on your performance and you can continue to use them to refresh your memory later on, for as long as necessary. Also, you’re not learning German in the abstract, you’re being tested on real-life usage and seeing actual examples—so it’s always clear exactly what you need to work on and why it’s useful.
FluentU gives you the option to set a daily goal, and it automatically tracks your progress, keeping track of all 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, all by watching and learning from fun videos.
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 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 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.
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