Hi, welcome to the forum.
Your situation really reminds me of my own, that I've gone through recently. I got from rusty A1 to B2 (with Goethe Zertifikat) in like 5 and half months. So, my two cents will be based on first hand experience. Plus I also had a similar experience years ago, from rusty A1 to B2ish Spanish in under 2 months (but without certificate, just a month in the country as the exam). Really, it is possible. And both were without any teachers!
Biofacticity wrote:-Let's say a guy's future depended on whether he if he could get B1 certificated by 16th January 2023, he has been slacking for the whole year and didn't go past the basics (about 700-1000 words according to Anki, can't construct any, but basic sentences or phrases, comprehension a bit higher though), that's a little over three months.
Yes, this is definitely believable, I was there earlier this year and was lucky to have found an alternative in the end. But: Yes, 16th January, that's definitely possible, if you make German your priority from now on. Don't beat yourself up about the past, it won't help, just take the lesson from it. Now you will need to work harder.
Good, 700-1000 words are nice, it will make the beginning of learning much easier. But about the rest, you're starting from zero. Still doable.
-He cannot attend physical class with teacher because of time lost for traveling.
Not a problem at all. You don't need a class. You don't even need a teacher.
Some people will tell you to get an online teacher. I would advise against, unless you find a sufficiently experienced one, not the usual moron telling you "but you are naive, just go the slow way, keep paying me for years, and postpone your goals" (really happened to me, when I was in such a situation with Italian). Do not waste time looking for teachers, you don't really need one.
-He has at least 4 hours a day for study available, more on weekends when he is not working.
-and potentially a budget of about 200-300 USD (or euros since they are almost the same now) to spend on study materials and other resources for the purpose of achieving this goal. (graded readers, course books, apps, italki lessons for the speaking part of the test)
-Access to internet, and no problem with German-English materials even if English is not his native language.
Excellent. You can get all the resources like that. Before we dive into it in more detail: I'd basically recommend one CEFR based coursebook series from 0 to B1, one or two grammar books, an exam preparation book, anki. And (only if time allows!) any supplemental tools like extra podcasts.
-At work he is in an environment where German is the predominant language used (don't know if this helps at all actually, maybe for making some vocabulary sticking better or simply by immersing in the sounds and grammatical patterns there might be a possibility of learning by osmosis, but given the short duration for the goal required I don't know if this changes anything, just thought I should mention it.)
Good, but not the main part. People overestimate this all the time. It's not about other people, it is about your studies, especially at the low levels. If you get to practice stuff, perfect. If not, don't let it discourage you.
BeaP wrote:Sorry if I'm repeating myself, I've said this a lot of times already, but I firmly believe that the quickest and easiest way to a CEFR certificate (like the Goethe) is a CEFR coursebook. CEFR exams contain very specific topics, situations and text types. If you have so little time, you need to focus on your goal and only learn the things that might come up in the exam. Look at some sample pages, pick whichever book you like. If you have so little time, you need to focus on your goal and only learn the things that might come up in the exam.
No clue why so many people pick CEFR, want exams, but then use totally different tools. The CEFR coursebooks are meant to teach you what is needed.
From 0 to B1, you don't actually need many extra resources (more on those later), it really is contained in the books, at least the good ones. They vary in quality, in how the material is presented, how user friendly they are, how self-study friendly they are. Some are better than others, some are pretty terrible even for classes. Even monolingual books are usually ok useable by a beginner with a bit of a dictionary. Or you can combine one bilingual and one monolingual resource.
The RULE NUMBER ONE: you have limited time, you need to streamline your learning. Pick one coursebook series to be your main resource and don't let anything else keep you away from it. If you spread yourself too thin among several, or among tons of online supplements, you will simply fail. Your priority is to get through the main material, rather than master perfectly units 1-3 in several courses.
Some excellent course examples:Themen aktuell:
An older series, but still not too much. And it is the absolutely best, when it comes to self teaching. A monolingual coursebook and a bilingual workbook with explanations, wordlists, tons of exercises. It is a rare exception, that gets you actually above the official level label. The audio is good, the content is not too boring, and so on. However, it does have a weakness: you definitely need to support it with an exam preparation book, it is not that exam oriented. And the third volume looks worse, I didn't do it, I switched to something else for B1.Begegnungen:
An excellent series, I am now using the follow up series. It is very grammar heavy, which is great, tons of exercises, it will prepare you very well. It looks dry, but it is one of the best on the market. There is also a new edition, Spektrum, not sure how those two (by the same publisher and apparently in the same style) differ. DaF kompakt
: Actually my recent favourite. I was a bit of a false beginner, I think this one will be a challenge for a true beginner, but manageable, especially with the few supplements I will write about later. Unlike many others, it has not dumb audios and texts, it does have wordlists, explanations, audio transcripts, the exercise book is very good. It is meant for intensive progress. But as I said, it could be a challenge at first.
There are two crucial criteria: you need a key with the solutions, you need a lot of audio with good dialogues. My favourite coursebook is Aussichten from Klett, but it's mostly a personal choice. Try to finish the books in 3 months (90 days). One month for one level is difficult but realistic in my opinion. If you work hard and don't spread yourself too thin you'll make it.
All of my examples have a key and a lot of audio.
Yes, finish the book, that is the priority. But do not dwell too much on A1, for example. I think A2 is a huge challenge in German, B1 and B2 are all about how you mastered A2 or whether you are relearning it. But in terms of vocab and overall skills, A2 has more than A1, and B1 more than A2. DaF kompakt even has more and more lessons for each level, I think 8 in A1, 10 in A2, 12 in B1. And I've seen the same logic in a few more resources. Do not dwell on A1 for too long.
Important: For B1 you don't need additional resources, the CEFR coursebook is enough. Believe me. At the exam you'll see the same situations, the same topics. Extra grammar workbooks, YouTube videos, applications can be more time-consuming than one would imagine.
Yes and no. I agree that the books contain all you need up to B1. But I don't think most learners can learn it sufficiently well just with the usual amount of exercises in a textbook with workbook. I personally find an extra grammar book to be the key to my success.
My personal favourite:A-Grammatik
, published by Schubert. It is the best one. It is followed by B-Grammatik. But honestly, I think mastering the A-Grammatik is sufficient for the B1 exam, it is a very solid base. And A-Grammatik is bilingual, which is a godsend for a self teaching learner! I passed my B2 Zertifikat also thanks to the A-Grammatik, I actually went through very few B-Grammatik lessons.
I agree about the youtube videos, apps, etc.
I would suggest an exam preparation book though, at the end of the preparation. And a few youtube videos on B1 Goethe Zertifikat speaking, I found this type of videos helpful, you can even get sample students and examiners' comments! But this is really worth it at the end of the preparation, the basic resource should be finished first!
You need focus. Imagine it this way: if you learn everything in these 3 books, you'll pass with flying colours. If you remember a little more than half of the material, you'll probably pass. It's an exam, just like any other, the exam material is fixed and known.
Yes. But as I've said, I don't think most students will learn all the grammar well enough without extra exercises. And most people won't learn the vocab well enough so fast without SRS.
Anki is a good tool and OP has already started well with that. I'd recommend just downloading a good deck with the B1 vocab based on the official Goethe list! The coursebooks will contain the same stuff, so will the exam.
Even if you use a digital version of the book, regularly write down the answers to practice problems by hand.
This! And I would add: also do everything out loud! Every audio is an opportunity to improve by repeating after it, as closely as possible. Every grammar or vocab exercise is an opportunity to rewrite something and say it out loud. It makes a world of a difference. Rewrite especially stuff you make a mistake in, to remember better the correct version.
Buy at least one book with practice exams. I recommend the Mit Erfolg series from Klett. In the last 2 weeks concentrate on exam techniques and if possible have some lessons with a tutor who is an active examiner. Don't choose a non-examiner tutor just because it's cheaper. Your tutor needs to know the details of scoring, the typical mistakes in preparation and performance. Ask the tutor to concentrate on the speaking and writing part.
I already mentioned this and agree again, the preparation book can be extremely helpful, there are several on the market, it mostly doesn't matter which one you get.
About tutors: I wholeheartedly agree that non-examiner is worthless and can even do more damage than good. But overall, you don't really need any tutor. So, if you get some, good. If you don't, good. Don't make the (far too common!) mistake of believing your success to depend of another person.
do the mock exams with a stopwatch.
Yes, I second this!
Draw conclusions: what are your weak points, where you you lose a lot of time.
Yes, where you lose a lot of time, and also where do you struggle with something. When you are near the exam, focus on things that give you a lot of value and are used everywhere.
The key of the success is familiarity with the exam: you should never be surprised, you should never hesitate about what to do. Good luck and if you feel stuck come back and ask.
While I would agree it is extremely useful to be familiar with the exam, you can pass even if you are not that much familiar. I've done that at times. That's not to discourage you from preparation, no! It's just to reassure you, that there is wiggle room for mistakes, and that you are not supposed to have memorised tons of practice exams.
You are not expected to be perfect, just good enough.
Lawyer&Mom wrote:Based on my experiences with studying for bar exams or training for marathons while working full-time, this is a “try easier” situation, not a “try harder” situation. By that I mean, you need to find a sustainable rhythm and avoid burnout. Don’t give 110%. You can’t keep that up for three months. Make a calendar. Figure out how much you need to do each day to reach your goal. Do that each day, and then be *done* for the day.
These are good points, it is important to prevent burnout. But honestly, not everyone is the same, and for example I need rather the opposite to succeed. Every time I ever made elaborate study plans (in languages, in medschool, etc), I failed, and I was extremely miserable while trying to stick with them.
What helped me and I often see people use successfully:
1.Chop the tasks into smaller pieces. Enjoy every tiny achievement ("Yay, did another page of the coursebook!" "learnt 20 new words from the Goethe B1 deck" "Completed another grammar exercise and this time with only one mistake! Last time, there were three mistakes on the same thing"). Visualise how much you've completed. That way, every tiny bit completed will be a source of motivation for the next one. It is easy to do with coursebooks!
2.I recommend making a log, to hold yourself accountable. Use the progress bars, to visualise progress. And enjoy us cheering for you!
3.There will be one 6 Week Challenge during your study time. Those are awesome, I find them extremely useful and motivating. Join us!
4.If you need anything, ask. Especially moral support. This is one of the rare places, where your goal is not weird and your frustrations will be understood.