Levels according to the Common European Framework
Examination: Start Deutsch 1
You can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. You can introduce yourself and others and you can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where you live, which people you know and what things you have/have got. You can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
Examination: Start Deutsch 2
You can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. basic personal and family information , shopping, local geography, employment). You can communicate in a simple way about every day routine. You can describe in simple terms aspects of your background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
Examination: Zertifikat Deutsch
You can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. You can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. You can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. You can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes, ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
Examinations: TestDaF Level 3 (4), DSH1
You can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in your field of specialisation. You can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speekers quite possible without strain for either party. You can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
Examinations: Goethe-Zertifikat C1 (ZMP), TestDaF Level (4) 5, DSH2
You can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. You can express yourself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. You can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. You can produce clear, well- structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
Examinations: Goethe-Zertifikat C2 (ZOP), DSH3
You can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. You can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. You can express yourself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.