I have just completed the first month of my Intensive German course at the Goethe Institut. I was placed in the B1.2 class (the second half of the B1 course) and even though I have already done the B1 Exam, I really needed the refresher. I had forgotten most of the grammar and to be honest, I have my doubts about how much I really learnt and understood the first time around. This time around I feel my knowledge is much more solid, even though I will probably forever struggle with Adjective Declension.
The plus about doing the Intensive German course at Goethe Institut is that at the end of every month, you receive an written assessment of all your skills with a corresponding grade. This is fantastic for knowing where your strengths lie, what you need to improve and just generally how your German is for the course level you are at. The grades are given using the German system (naturally), so it is graded from 1 – 4 and includes an n.a if you failed. Therefore 1 is very good, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory and 4 is sufficient. Also, you can get in-between grades as well as plus and minuses. So, how did I go in my first month?
All in all, I’m pretty happy with my results. I’m actually impressed that my listening skills are ranked as 1/2 as that used to be my weakest skill. I guess listening to news radio and watching more German TV is starting to pay off. Reading is still my strongest skill, reading books in German is paying off big time. Writing, as expected, is my weakest skill, so I will need to keep working on that. I’m not that happy that my speaking was ranked as 2/3, but then again, I did mess up my presentation by getting too nervous about it all, so it’s to be expected. Still lots of room for improvement there. I would like next month to get 2 or above for all my skills, so I guess we will see if I can pull that off.
So, how did I go with my own self-imposed rules for the month? I did all the homework that was assigned, went to more than just 2 activities in German for the month (I think I averaged about 2 activities a week) and I listened to 1-2 German podcasts a day on the way to German class. I kept English TV to just one evening a week and instead got addicted to the German series Mord mit Aussicht (Murder With A View) as well as watching 4th season Game of Thrones in German. Doing my homework doubled as learning vocab daily as we were assigned 10 words per day to learn, the words coming from what we had done in class that day. What I didn’t do was doing 30 mins extra study a day – I tried and did well for 2 weeks and then, honestly, I burnt out. 5 hours of class plus at least 1 hour of homework a day is more than my brain can handle without adding to it. I also didn’t go to Kung Fu at all and am actually debating if I want to continue learning at that school as I’m less than happy with the level of teaching there. So, all in all, I think I did pretty well with my own rules for the month.
I now get to enjoy a 5 day break before starting next month’s course. It’s a 5 day break I really need to give my brain and body a rest. Still given my addiction to Mord mit Aussicht, I’ll still be watching a good deal of German TV over these 5 days (I just love Netflix) so it won’t be a complete break from German and nor should it be. Still 5 days without any homework is going to feel like a holiday.