How to prepare for the German Oral Exam B1?

How to prepare for the German Oral Exam B1?

Preparing for the German oral exam B1 TELC, Goethe, ÖSD (AU) or Fide (CH) is very doable if you know how. This article will provice you with an approach that helps you prepare for your oral exam in German without the help of a tutor. You’ll use ChatGPT and I’ll show you how. I’ll also provide you with a list of topics that have been used in the past and that will help to prepare yourself even though they will not be the topics you’ll get in your exam.

The topics will be different from exam to exam but the range of topics is relatively limited. Here a list of very common topics for the mündliche Prüfung B1 provided by my students who have taken it in different countries and cities at TELC or Goethe Institut over the last 5 years.

Tips to prepare efficiently for your German oral exam B1

Here a few tips on how to use these to prepare efficiently for your German B1 oral exam at TELC or Goethe:

  1. You never have to tell the truth. If you simply can’t relate at all to a topic, make things up. E.g. you have no opinion or experience about extreme sports just say what’s common sense. Anything extreme is problematic and dangerous. I suggest a more moderate way to do sports. “common sense” is not always easy to grasp (see diverse internet comments if you doubt this) so cut yourself some slack to get into this kind of thinking. The exam is not about a truthful account of your experiences or personality at all!
  2. Smile be patient and friendly. Impatience and unfriendliness will cost you points that you need to pass.
  3. No one ever expects perfection in B1. I call B1 the elementary school level of intelligence. If you sound like a 10 year old intellectually that’s fine. You shall pass.
  4. Keep things simple. While boxed sentences, complex vocab or the occasional Nebensatz will give you bonus points, you don’t need (m)any of those to pass with 60%. Use one “weil” and one “dass” sentence (which the structure above provides already) and you’ll be fine. Expressing yourself in a simple manner needs practice. So practice.
  5. Assume that the examiners are on your side. They want you to pass (in 99% of the cases). If they are grumpy that isn’t related to you personally at all. You never know what caused their grumpiness. Rather feel compassion for them than being self-concsious. I promise it is never related to you unless you directly insult them.
  6. The oral exam is only 20mins long usually divided by 2 as you will have a partner in your exam and minus 2 mins instructions. That leaves your speaking time at about 9mins. At a max speaking speed of 80 words per minute you’ll only have to produce 720 words of which 50% will be repetitive words like articles and prepositions and such. So to pass the oral exam all you need to know is 360 different words. Admittedly they better be the right ones but all I wanted to show to you here is that you don’t have to have a very broad vocabulary to get through your B1 oral exam in German.
  7. General advice: Even though it seems obvious: get enough sleep, eat light before the exam but don’t fast, arrive an hour earlier at the examination center and sit in front near the audio device they use (for the written parts of the exam). Take a bottle of water with you and don’t forget your watch in case they don’t have a clock in the room. In the oral exam you won’t need your watch as time will pass by very quickly.

Now here’s how to prepare efficiently for your B1 oral exam without having to pay a tutor:

For Presentation (TELC & Goethe)
Put this prompt into chatGPT (free version suffices):
You are an examiner in a German oral exam level B1. You follow the examination guidelines of Goethe and TELC institutions. I need to hold a 2minute presentation in German on level B1 CEFR about the topic below. Can you first provide me with a sample presentation that follows the following format:

– Was ist das Thema:
– In meinem Heimatland…
– Als Kind / in meinem Leben…
– Ein Vorteil / Nachteil von xy ist…
– Ich denke, dass man…
– Prompt me to say: Vielen Dank für Ihre Aufmerksamkeit. Haben Sie noch Fragen?

Write two short sentences per item of this list.
Then prompt me one by one with these items and wait for my input.

When I’m closing the presentation with “haben Sie noch Fragen” continue to ask me three follow up questions to what I used in my presentation (priority) or simply questions related to the topic but about my personal life and attitude towards the topic.

Ask them one after the other. Wait until I’ve answered one question before posing the next question.

At the very end provide me with feedback on my performance in English in regard of the given level on whether or not I was close to the topic, about my grammar and sentence structure and about the level of my vocabulary. And finally give me a grade between 0% and 100% considering the language level b1 CEFR and the exam guidelines from Goethe and TELC.

The topic is: leben vegetarier gesünder? ← add your topic

If GPT says something in German that is too complex give it the following instruction:
Das verstehe ich nicht. Einfacher bitte.
I don’t understand. Simpler please.

For Event Planning:
Put this prompt into chatGPT:
You are an examiner in a German oral exam level B1. You follow the examination guidelines of Goethe and TELC institutions. I need to plan an event for about 3 minutes with a fellow examinee in German on level B1 CEFR about the topic below. Ask me for the topic and after you received the topic start by providing me with a short summary of the situation (2–3 short simple sentences) asking me the first question to start off our event planning conversation. After each response or question of mine, respond accordingly and always wait for my input. After about 7 sentences/questions of yours let’s come to an end whether the topic is concluded or not. Smoothly bring the conversation to an end.

After we are done provide feedback in English language – this is important – about my performance and grade it according to the examination guidelines and the level b1 CEFR in %.

Then restart the same conversation but with changed roles. I’ll now start the conversation off by providing a short summary of the situation and by asking you the first question. I will be the one that brings the conversation to an end. Not you.

Possible Topics for your German B1 Oral Exam:
Opinion / Presentation

  1. Viele Leute essen Fertigmenüs
    Many people eat ready meals
  2. Essen und Trinken
  3. Leben Vegetarier gesünder?
    Do vegetarians live healthier?
  4. Kann man auf Dating-Websites wirklich Liebe finden?
    Can you really find love on Dating Websites?
  5. Sollten sich sowohl Männer als auch Frauen um den Haushalt kümmern?
    Should both men and women take care of household?
  6. Leuten in der Freizeit helfen
    Helping people in your free time
  7. Mit 25 noch bei den Eltern leben
    Still living with parents at 25
  8. Ist es einfach in einem fremden Land zu leben.
    It is easy to live in a foreign country
  9. ins Kino gehen oder Fernsehen
    Go to the cinema or watch TV
  10. Ist Social Media gut oder schlecht für uns?
    Is social media good or bad for us?
  11. Einkaufszentren: alles an einem Platz
    Shopping centers: everything in one place
  12. Sollten Großeltern Babysitten?
    Should grandparents babysit?
  13. Sollten Kinder alleine Entscheiden?
    Should children decide alone?
  14. Was denken Sie über Extremsport?
    What do you think about extreme sports?
  15. Wieviel Sport ist gesund
    How much sport is healthy
  16. Schuluniformen
    School uniforms
  17. Sollten Kinder Süßigkeiten essen?
    Should children eat sweets?
  18. Wieviel Fernsehen ist gut für Kinder?
    How much television is good for children?
  19. Geschwister oder Einzelkind? Was ist besser?
    Sibling or only child? What is better?

Event Planning

  1. Einen Ausflug in die Natur organisieren
    Organize a trip to the nature
  2. Eine Überraschungsparty zum Geburtstag planen
    Plan a surprise birthday party
  3. Party für Kollegen who moves away
    Party für einen Kollegen, der wegzieht
  4. Besuch planen – eine ausländische Studentengruppe kommt nach Berlin
    Planning a visit – a foreign student group comes to Berlin
  5. Ihr Deutschkurs ist zuende. Planen Sie eine Abschlussfeier.
    Your German course is over. Plan a graduation ceremony.
  6. Planen Sie ein Klassenpicknick
    Plan a class picnic
  7. Sie besuchen einen Klassenkameraden im Krankenhaus
    You visit a classmate in the hospital
  8. Gemeinsam ein Geburtstagsgeschenk für eine Freundin kaufen
    Together buy a birthday gift for a friend