German language prep
Before coming to Munich
Approximately five to six months span the time between when you are admitted to the Junior Year in Munch Program and the time you actually arrive in Munich. We strongly encourage you to use this as an opportunity to strengthen your German language skills. This is especially important for students in the full-year program since the long months of summer most likely will not provide much opportunity to take formal German language instruction.
We can't learn German for you and we can't use German for you when you are in Munich. Making this one of your goals while you're in Munich will help you adjust more quickly to living abroad, find it easier to get involved and make friends and make your academic goals more realistic and obtainable. It will also pay off when you enter the job market after graduation.
What to expect
Before you arrive in Munich, you will take an on-line German language placement test (Einstufungstest). Based on the results of this test, you'll be assigned to a section of the Advanced German Language course along with other students who have a similar level of language proficiency. Students on JYM land at a range of different levels. Focus on yourself and not on others. Your goal should be to improve at least one level (moving, for example, from B1-1 to B2-1) over the course of a year. More growth is possible, however. We've seen a student who came to JYM with only four semesters of college German under their belt pass the C-1 exam before returning to the U.S.!
Test yourself first
The first thing you'll want to do is take a placement test to see what level you're at according to the Common European Frame of References for Languages proficiency scale (both the scale and the testing format are quite different from the U.S., so this is also good practice). Deutsche Welle offers a free online placement test (Einstufungstest).
Set aside time every day to study German
Even if you're already taking a German language course right now, make a plan to do even more. You'll be glad you did! Just 20 minutes a day from the time you are accepted to JYM to the time you arrive in Munich would amount to approx 60 hours of instruction. That's equivalent to an additional whole semester of German!
- Join the German Language Preparation for JYM Facebook Group
- Follow Slow German on Facebook for your daily dose of German and explore the many topics from the Slow German Podcast
- Strengthen your German with Deutsche Welle A2 level video clips and exercises
- Kick it up and challenge yourself with Deutsche Welle B1 level video clips and exercises
- Check out the free online German course (also from Deutsche Welle)
- Explore the many B2 level video reports (with transcripts and exercises) from Deutsche Welle
Buy a German language textbook at A2 or B1 level
Highly recommended if you are in your third semester of German.
Begegnungen A2+ Integriertes Kurs- und Arbeitsbuch by Anne Buscha and Szilvia Szita. Comes with an answer booklet and two CDs for listening comprehension.
Schubert Verlag also has additional exercises and PDF worksheets online, covering levels A1 to C2.
Buscha, Anne and Szilvia Szita. B Grammatik. Sprachniveau B1-B2. Leipzig: Schubert Verlag, 2011. Comes with an Answer Booklet and CD for listening comprehension. Available from Amazon (order from SuperBookDeals; they ship from IL).
Online grammar exercises
- Verbs with prepositions (26 exercises)
- Verbs with cases (22 exercises)
- Adjectives with prepositions (8 exercises)
Online listening with exercises
- German News from Deutsche Welle (read slowly (langsam gesprochene Nachrichten))
Practice tests for Zertifikat B1
Glotz-Kastanis, Jo and Aliki Ernestine, Olympia Balser. Zertifikat B1 neu. 15 Ãœbungsprüfungen. Munich: Hueber Verlag, 2013. (15 practice tests at the B1 level, including CD for listening tests; answer key can be downloaded from Hueber Verlag website). Available from Amazon (order from SuperBookDeals; they ship from IL).
- Online vocabulary exercises
- Vocabulary books
- Langenscheidt Grundwortschatz Deutsch (Basic German Vocabulary). Covers level A1 to B1. ISBN 978-3-468-49400-0
- Langenscheidt Grundwortschatz Deutsch: Ãœbungsbuch (exercise book). Covers level A1 to B1. ISBN 978-3-468-49419-2
- Forst, Gabriele. Mastering German Vocabulary: A Thematic Approach. New York: Barron's Educational Series, 1995. ISBN 0-8120-9108-6
- Hachenburger, Petra and Paul Jackson. Topics, Questions, Keywords. A Handbook for Students of German. London: Routledge, 2000. ISBN 0-415-19405-9
Different kinds of dictionaries serve different purposes. You should familiarize yourself with all of these.
- leo: useful for direct, one-to-one translations
- dict.cc: useful for direct, one-to-one translations
- linguee: useful for determining which terms to use in which context)
- forvo: pronunciation dictionary
- duden: The German-German dictionary. Useful for formulating German-language definitions, also has pronunciation examples
- Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm: The German equivalent of the Oxford dictionary. Useful if you are interested in the history of words and linguistics, or if you are reading older texts
- Specialized dictionaries
- De Vries, Louis.German-English Technical and Engineering Dictionary. First published in 1950 by McGraw-Hill, inexpensive used copies of the 1965 edition can be found online
- Freeman, Henry G. and Günter Glass, eds. Taschenwörterbuch Technik. Ismaning: Max Hueber Verlag, 2000. Available as Deutsch-Englisch, or Englisch-Deutsch
- Grammatical structures and functional use
- Whittle. Ruth. Modern German Grammar: A Practical Guide. Third Edition. Routledge, 2011. For intermediate to advanced learners, i.e. level B1 and beyond. ISBN 978-0-415-56726-8
- Zojer, Heidi. Modern German Grammar Workbook. Third Edition. Routledge, 2011. For intermediate to advanced learners, i.e. level B1 and beyond. ISBN 978-0-415-56725-1