Goethe-Institut Testing Center

The German Department at Duke University is an official testing site of the Goethe-Institut (IMP – Institut mit Prüfungsberechtigung). The Goethe-Institut examinations set the global standard in German language proficiency testing, and passing certificates are accepted by employers and higher education institutions across the German-speaking world. All exams are administered by professionally trained and Goethe-Institut certified language examiners.


To register for the Goethe exam, please contact the coordinator Cori Crane. On the day of the exam, please bring an official ID (driver's license or passport) to complete registration, and a check (made out to "Duke University")

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Goethe-Institut examinations correspond to the levels set out in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and range from A1 for beginners to C2 for native-level speakers. At Duke, we offer examinations for A1, A2, B1, B2, and C1 (see chart below). Each exam consists of four portions: writing, reading, listening, and speaking.

Elementary Use of Language A1 Can understand and use familiar, everyday expressions and very simple sentences, which relate to the satisfying of concrete needs. Can introduce themselves and others as well as ask others about themselves (e.g. where they live, who they know and what they own) and can respond to questions of this nature. Can communicate in a simple manner if the person they are speaking to speaks slowly and clearly and is willing to help.
  A2 Can understand sentences and commonly used expressions associated with topics directly related to their direct circumstances (e.g. personal information or information about their family, shopping, work, immediate surroundings). Can make themselves understood in simple, routine situations dealing with a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and common topics. Can describe their background and education, immediate surroundings and other things associated with immediate needs in a simple way.
Independent Language Use B1 Can understand the main points when clear, standard language is used and the focus is on familiar topics associated with work, school, leisure time, etc. Can deal with most situations typically encountered when traveling in the language region. Can express themselves simply and coherently regarding familiar topics and areas of personal interest. Can report on experiences and events, describe dreams, hopes and goals as well as make short statements to justify or explain themselves own views and plans.
  B2 Can understand the main contents of complex texts on concrete and abstract topics; also understands specialized discussions in their own primary area of specialization. Can communicate so spontaneously and fluently that a normal conversation with native speakers is easily possible without a great deal of effort on either side. Can express themselves on a wide range of topics in a clear and detailed manner, explain their position on a current issue and indicate the benefits and drawbacks of various options.
Autonomous Language Ability C1 Can understand a wide range of challenging, longer texts and also grasp implicit meanings. Can express themselves spontaneously and fluently without having to search for words frequently and noticeably. Can use the language effectively and flexibly in their social and professional life or in training and studies. Can make clear, structured and detailed statements on complex topics and apply various means of text association appropriately in the process.

Practice and Review

Find online practice exams and further information on the Goethe-Institut website.