German Language Levels Explained: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 (2023)

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Why is it important to know the German language levels and how to reach them? Here is an article with all German language levels explained.

Key takeaways

  • You’ll understand the differences between the German language levels.
  • You will also learn what it takes to reach a new level. And how long it might take you to get there.
  • The article covers the basic levels A1 and A2, which are the bare minimum to get along in Germany, based on my experience.
  • By reaching the independent user levels B1 and B2, you can also have more fluent conversations in your daily life and business.
  • Last but not least, I will also cover the proficient user levels based on the Goethe Institut tests C1 and C2.
  • From my experience, it should be your goal to reach at least the German language level C1 so that you are well equipped for work.

Topics in this article

The different levels of the German language >>
A1 level in German >>
A2 level in German >>
B1 level in German >>
B2 level in German >>
C1 level in German >>
C2 level in German >>

What are the different levels of the German language?

Before I dig deeper into each level in the rest of this article, let me begin explaining the different German language levels to you. The levels are there to sort your German knowledge into one of the three broader levels: primary user, independent user, and proficient user.

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) defined the levels. Primary users are in A1 or A2, independent users in B1 or B2, and proficient users in C1 or C2. The higher the number and letter combination, the better your German.

Sometimes the CEFR is also referred to as GERS (Gemeinsamer Europäischer Referenzrahmen für Sprachen). So let me give you an overview of the requirements to reach each level and answer a few questions in the following chapters.

German Language Levels Explained: A1 level in German

The German language level A1 means that you can only communicate familiar topics. The people you talk to need to speak slowly and clearly to you so that you can understand them. You should also be able to have short conversations about everyday situations.

Is A1 in German easy to reach?

Based on my experience, you will need about 70 to 90 hours of lessons to get to language level A1 in German. The A1 and A2 levels are very elementary, and the minimum to have a conversation. You can reach the A1 level with zero knowledge within that timeframe.

(Video) A1 to C2 : overview of German Language levels.

German Language Levels Explained: A2 level in German

Now, others can understand when you talk about routine situations at that level. In addition to that, you can ask and answer questions about familiar topics.

Is A2 in German easy to reach?

With roughly eight weeks of intense training and 20 lessons per week, you can advance to the German language level A2. If you put some effort into it, I’d say that level A2 is easy to reach.

German Language Levels Explained: B1 level in German

Your German made tremendous progress as soon as you reached the intermediate level. You can express yourself when it comes to plans and other experiences. In addition, you can justify decisions and almost effortlessly follow a conversation around familiar topics or common themes. Those can be work, travel, school, or leisure.

How difficult is B1 in German to reach?

As soon as you reach level A2 in German, it would help if you learned more about grammar and vocabulary. Based on my experience, the leap between A2 and B1 is big, and your German will improve significantly. Based on that, it’s not as easy as moving from German language level A1 to A2.

How long does it take to get to B1 in German?

If you continue your intense training of about 20 lessons per week, it may take up to ten weeks to reach that level. That also depends on how good your teachers are.

German Language Levels Explained: B2 level in German

The B2 German language level is another huge step forward. You can now understand the critical parts in complex texts, even in abstract topics. In addition, you can communicate clearly and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various positions and options.

(Video) CEFR Language Levels Explained: What is A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2?

How long do I need to get the B2 in German?

Beginning from B1, it may take another ten weeks of intense training to reach the German language level B2. What made a big difference for me was the daily communication with my coworkers and friends. I learned many colloquial language terms or “Umgangssprache” thanks to this daily practice.

Is B2 level in German enough to study in Germany?

Studying can be challenging, especially if the courses are in German only. One of my friends who moved to Germany with his son, who had reached the German language level B2, told me he struggled a lot during his first few years at university. So I would answer that question with a no.

Is B2 level in German enough to work in Germany?

By reaching the B2 language level in German, you can start working. Depending on the profession you are working in, this can be the bare minimum to get a position.

If you have a higher qualification like a bachelor’s or master’s degree and consider working in a better position, I recommend putting more time into learning German properly. Your next goal should be to reach the C1 level at least.

Is B2 German fluent?

The German language level B2 based on the CEFR rating is almost fluent. But in everyday situations, it is eloquent. Still, you won’t be able to understand longer and more challenging conversations, which might require some thinking before you can answer.

German Language Levels Explained: C1 level in German

The German language level C1 is the first essential level you should have when you consider working in Germany from my own experience. You are now an advanced student by reaching the C1 language level in German.

From now on, the texts you understand can be longer and more challenging. You are also able to grasp implicit meanings. Additionally, you can now have spontaneous conversations without any problems. Whether you talk about private or professional matters, you no longer have any difficulties.

Why is it essential to have a C1 level in German?

By reaching a C1 level in German, you are ready for business life in Germany.

(Video) What Does it mean By A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2 | What are CEFR Levels in IELTS

Is C1 in German fluent?

The German language level C1 is almost fluent. People will still recognize that you are not a native German. On the other hand, you can have more or less fluent conversations without too many difficulties about almost any topic.

German Language Levels Explained: C2 level in German

Congratulations! Now you’ve reached your final level of the German language levels based on the GER rating system. You can effortlessly understand everything you hear or read. When you express yourself about any topic, you no longer make any noticeable or significant grammar errors.

Is C2 in German the highest language proficiency?

Yes, it’s the highest level in the GERS or CEFR rating that you can officially achieve. You may consider taking the Goethe-Test PRO for the C2 level, specifically for professionals and business people.

Why should I get C2 in German?

By reaching the German language level C2, you gained near-native mastery of Germany by non-native speakers. This especially comes handy if you want to study, research, or work in Germany.

How long does it take from A1 to C2 in German?

First, let me consider that you have enough time to take an intensive course in German with at least 20 lessons per week. Reaching levels C1 and C2 in German highly depends on your time and efforts. From my experience, I can tell you that it will take you at least 34 weeks to get from level A1 to B2. I estimate it will at least take another year of intense learning to reach C2 in German.


I hope I explained the German language levels well enough, making them easy to understand. Your final goal should be reaching at least the German language levels B2 or C1.


(Video) Learn Online German Language Level : - A1, A2, B1,B2, C1, C2

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> What level of German is required to work in Germany today?

> 6 tips on How to Learn German A1 at home gets Super EASY

> 10 Ways To Learn Business German Fast

> Checked: How to get B2 Level in German at Goethe Institut

(Video) What Is Your Language Level?

> Effective Online Courses For German Language

* The links that are marked in this way are affiliate links and indicate that we receive a small commission if you decide to buy the products or services offered by our partner sites. But for you, it won’t cost anything extra.

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What is level A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2 in German? ›

The European Framework of Reference for Languages divides language ability into six levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2). Level A1 is the beginner level, B1 and B2 are roughly intermediate level, C1 and C2 represent a good to perfect language mastery, which comes very close to a native speaker, especially in C2.

Is C1 German fluent? ›

The C Levels: Fluency

At C1, you will be able to use German effectively in your social, academic and professional life. You will also be able to express your thoughts eloquently and use different ways to link ideas together appropriately.

What is the difference between A1 and A2 and B1 in German? ›

These levels are classified as A1 for beginners, A2 for elementary, B1 for intermediate, B2 for upper intermediate, C1 as advanced, and C2 as mastery.

Is C1 higher than A1? ›

Other level names in this convention are: A1- Breakthrough, A2- Waystage, B1- Threshold, B2- Vantage, C1- Advanced, C2- Mastery. Which CEFR level is the highest? C2 (Proficiency) is the top level you can achieve on the CEFR scale.

Is German A2 level difficult? ›

German A2 exam pattern is quite simple. As it's a language, there are 4 modules- Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. It is a 60 points exam and you have to score a minimum 36 points (60%) to pass the exam.

Is B1 German difficult? ›

This learning can get quite complex, because of a lot of gender and plurals to remember. So basically, it's totally up to you how seriously you learn the German language. If you studied well in previous levels, then the German B1 level is not a difficult task for you.

How long does it take to learn B1 German? ›

8 weeks

Can I learn German C1 in 3 months? ›

It takes 600 to 750 hours to learn the German C1 level.

You will be able to recognize implicit meaning and express ideas fluently and spontaneously without having to search for words.

How long does it take to master C1 German for a beginner? ›

B1 (Conversational German): 260 – 490 hours. B2 (High Intermediate German): 450 – 600 hours. C1 (Advanced German): 600 – 750 hours. C2 (Near Native Fluency): 750+ hours.

What is B1 and B2 level in Germany? ›

Level | Difficulty. German A1 – for beginners, easy. German A2 – a bit more difficult, basic knowledge of the language is necessary. German B1 – for advanced students, you should be able to speak German well. German B2 – you must be able to speak German fluently.

What is A1 level of German language? ›

A1 (Lower Beginner)

At the A1 level, you should be able to understand simple German sentences and recognize basic words that describe yourself and the world around you. You can use familiar greetings and introduce yourself. You can also write simply, for example, filling out forms.

What is Level B2 in German? ›

The Goethe-Zertifikat B2 is a German exam for young people and adults. It certifies that candidates have acquired advanced language skills and corresponds to the fourth level (B2) of the six-level scale of competence laid down in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

What is C2 level German? ›

C2 level German is the last and final level of the six-level scale of proficiency laid down in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This level is learned to express demands.


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