Speak German in 30 Days: Is It Possible?


We don’t offer this to anyone anymore. It was just to prove a point. The motivation to get to B1 in 30 days contradicts our approach today, as we want you to enjoy your learning and not race through it. Just work with our standard courses and you’ll be fast enough.

Six weeks ago, I was looking for someone who didn‘t speak any German and hasn‘t taken any classes so far to prove the concept of Smarter German, which aims to teach German in just 30 days to English speaking learners. The aim was to help these German learners pass the Goethe B1-exam shortly after these 30 days.

The Candidate

Almost the first applicant seemed right from the beginning. She had tried to study German a bit but has never taken nor spoken any word of German before although she was already living about half a year in Germany. But working in a start-up, where everybody speaks English and having English speaking friends, Camilla had no real need to learn German although she really wanted to. 

She just didn‘t want to sit in classes with ten to twenty others at fixed times for at least half a year, if not more. That was also not compatible with her working schedule.

When she heard of my offer to teach someone 30 days for free with a guaranteed result, she was in immediately. She had nothing to lose she said… afterwards.

The Right Attitude

In the second session, I could see that she was serious and that I hadn‘t erred in picking her for the Challenge. She worked according to my instructions which is crucial for the program’s success.

And we made sure that we protocolled her progress in four short videos at the end of every week. I have to say that even I was amazed by her progress and her ability to work with the techniques that differentiate Smarter German from all other offers available.

It was a mere pleasure to see her absorbing all this information like a sponge and being able to use it right away. She also got lovely support from her partner who started to speak German to her as much as was possible.

Learn German Fast

die Raumfähre – the space shuttle / Image by NASA via Pixabay

The Exam

As the end came near it was time to register for the B1 exam. I wanted her to do the Goethe because it has the best reputation and is one of the most challenging exams out there. Berlin was booked out so we checked other possibilities and found that Hamburg had a few free spots left.

On March, 28th 2013 Camilla sat in the exam with mixed feelings. She reported on every step she took in the breaks and didn‘t feel too confident, especially about the listening comprehension. But I was sure that she would pass it.

The mock exam she did at home in a third of the required time gave her an 80% score, so the real one couldn‘t fail. And now almost two weeks later, when she checked her mailbox after work she found the letter with the news from the Goethe Institute and was so nervous to open the letter.

The Result

What came out was so overwhelming, she called me right away telling me that she passed the exam with a very good. She‘s got 272 out of 300 points, that‘s 91%. I don‘t know if I had felt that happy before. That was a giant proof that my system worked, that it is possible to learn German in just 2-3 hours per day for a month.

Speak German – The Next Level

In May we will start to work on B2. Of course in 30 days only. We will leave the weekends out this time and it is not that revolutionary as the first part because we will only save two months time but just imagine she continued on her own later on and would do C1 in just another month.

A year‘s work in just 3 months. And with splendid results instead of just passing it somehow. That‘s a certificate that you like to put in your CV or show your friends. By the way, this is Camilla’s B1 Certificate:

Speak German in 30 Days: Is It Possible?

I am more than thankful for this experience and am currently already working with two other clients, that will finish B1 in just 30, respectively 60 days. Chris just has too much work on his schedule and is doing an MBA at the same time, so we just work over Skype three times a week, at six in the morning. That‘s the spirit that I am looking for.

You‘ve got that too? Why don‘t you try Smarter German and save valuable time and spare yourself a lot of frustration. It‘s still some work, but hey, if it is fun, is it really working?

Another Experiment and Tips for Effective Language Learning

Embarking on a linguistic experiment, another German learner successfully grasped the basics of the language in just 30 days. Let’s walk through the details of the method used by Alex Svanevik and a few tips he shares that can turn the journey of beginner-level language learners into a success story.

Clear Goals

Using the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) approach, Alex set himself a goal: mastering as much German as possible in 30 days. Key results included learning the 1000 most frequent German words, memorizing 10 German songs, and achieving basic conversational skills. He also planned a trip to Berlin, with the intent of spending an entire weekend conversing exclusively in German with a local friend (a native speaker of German).

Speak to Native German Speakers from Day 1

Rejecting the common tendency to delay speaking until feeling adequately prepared, the learner initiated conversations early on. Utilizing appear.in, a daily 30-minute online platform, Alex engaged with a group of language enthusiasts, reinforcing the belief that active practice is essential. To overcome language blocks, he created a handy Cheat Sheet containing essential phrases, ensuring seamless communication during these sessions.

Focus on Frequent Words

Alex used a compilation of the most frequently used words in German subtitles, and from there, he created his personal GoogleDocs spreadsheet featuring the top 1000 words. His task was to complete the “meaning” in the definition column for each word within the 30-day timeframe, meaning he had to figure out and learn about 30 words daily.

He heavily relied on cognates from English and Norwegian. Weekly, he exported the learned words to Anki to ensure they stuck.

The frequency list emerged as a standout method, acting as a reliable anchor around which he could center my learning. For a real-world vocabulary check, he occasionally delved into German newspapers or books, marking unfamiliar words. Towards the end of his study period, he found himself hovering around 80–85%, with cognates and context helping him surpass the initial 75% benchmark from the top-1000 list.

Immerse Yourself

Immersion techniques included changing the language setting on social media platforms and consuming German video lessons content on Yabla. A pivotal strategy involved compiling a Spotify playlist featuring 10 German songs, enabling continuous exposure to the language through music. By learning and singing along with the lyrics, the learner integrated language practice seamlessly into daily life.

Keep Track of Your Progress

The spreadsheet containing his Top 1000 new words was incredibly useful for gauging his vocabulary at any given moment. With the frequency data for each word, he could calculate the overall “mass” of German knowledge he had acquired, going beyond merely tallying the number of words. This aspect turned out to be particularly motivating for Alex.

In addition, he maintained a straightforward daily diary on Evernote, documenting his activities. It turned out there was only one day when he didn’t engage in any language-related tasks.

So, this holistic approach to learning the German language in 30 days underscores the efficacy of setting clear goals, engaging in active communication, prioritizing frequent words, immersing oneself in the language, and meticulously tracking your progress.

Alex’s success story is a testament to the effectiveness of these principles, providing valuable insights for language enthusiasts seeking a swift and efficient path to linguistic proficiency. If you’d like to emulate his success, why not sign up for one of our SmarterGerman courses?

FAQs about efficient foreign language learning

Here are some of the questions people ask about learning the German language quickly and efficiently.

How quickly can you become fluent in the German language?

Becoming fluent in German depends on various factors, including your prior language learning experience, dedication, and the methods used. Generally, achieving fluency may take several months to a few years of consistent practice and immersion. Daily practice, exposure to authentic materials, and regular communication in German can expedite the process.

How can I learn German on my own?

Learning German independently is achievable with a structured approach. Start with online resources, language learning apps, and textbooks to get the basics of German grammar and vocabulary. Practice regularly, join language exchange platforms, listen to music and look up lyrics using Google translate, and watch German movies with German subtitles.

Is 1 hour a day enough to learn German?

While one hour a day is a good starting point, the effectiveness of your learning depends on the quality of that hour. Consistency is key, so make the most of your time by combining various activities to practice German like vocabulary drills with new words, listening exercises, and interactive tasks. Supplement your daily hour with immersion experiences, such as watching German media or practicing with native speakers to work on your understanding, German pronunciation, and enhance your overall language acquisition.

Is learning German good for your brain?

Yes, learning languages, and German in particular, can be beneficial for your brain. The process of learning a new language has been linked to cognitive benefits such as improved memory, enhanced problem-solving skills, and increased mental flexibility. Additionally, acquiring a new language can stimulate brain activity and contribute to overall cognitive well-being.

Summing Up ‘Speak German in 30 Days: Is It Possible?’

This experiment with Smarter German challenges the conventional pace of language acquisition. Camilla’s success, achieving a remarkable 91% in the Goethe B1 exam within 30 days, is a testament to the effectiveness of this unique approach.

While Michael Schmitz no longer offers this intensive language course, he emphasizes the importance of the learner’s motivation and the value of enjoying the learning process. Camilla’s journey sets the stage for Smarter German’s continued success, showcasing the potential to master higher language levels in mere months. Alex is another motivated learner to prove that this goal is doable with the right attitude and structured method.

Each of these examples show an innovative approach, blending dedication and enjoyment, and offers a promising alternative for language enthusiasts who want to learn how to use German in everyday life and pass their exams successfully. If you’re also interested in learning German efficiently, come sign up with us today!