National German Exam aka Nationale Deutschprüfung

August 27, 2020
By AdmissionSight

National German Exam aka Nationale Deutschprüfung

The National German Exam is an exam that allows students who study German to receive feedback, gain rewards, and reach goals. The National German Exam is in its 60th year of providing 25,000 tests a year to all regions of the United States. The National German Exam has various levels, structures, and targets to ensure various options as well as to provide teachers data for curriculum.

Flags in a table

The National German Exam is led by important committee members and offers a way for high school students to become proficient in a language, while also opening up doors for the eligibility to win awards and attend trips. The National German Exam is a great opportunity for students to beef up their experiences and knowledge in preparation for the Common Application, where your talents shine.

The National German Exam has four levels for various students to participate, the National German Exam measures the performance of students off of what is taught in German classrooms and the National German Exam is administered electronically.

Continue reading this blog if you want to learn more about the National German Exam, how to take it, how to prepare, the benefits of knowing another language and potentially winning awards for it, and how AdmissionSight can help you prepare for academic exams, competitions and more.

The American Association of Teachers of German

The American Association of Teachers of German has been around since 1926 helping to bring the language, literature, and German culture to American schools.

Teacher of German language

The American Association of Teachers of German is in all 50 states and 20 countries in elementary school through college and universities.

The American Association of Teachers of German aims to:

  • Develop programs for a diverse membership
  • Promote the highest quality of the teaching and research of German language, literature, and culture
  • Expand teaching and research at all levels and in all settings

Read more about The American Association of Teachers of German goals here.

About the National German Exam

The National German Exam is in its 60th year of tests. Taking the tests allows for you as a student studying German to receive feedback to prepare for the next levels and important. Not a lot of exams offer results or feedback, such as the SAT or AP exam, so it’s a great opportunity to not only learn from mistakes but to be able to tangibly see those mistakes and learn from them.

a student studying

The National German Exam is an exam including four levels, all with the same format, 100 multiple choice questions in two parts, 50 questions each. There are a listening and viewing section which is 40 minutes including audio and video segments. There is a reading section which is 45 minutes and includes print text, graphs, and images.

The exam is normally electronic, there is a remote testing resource provided by the American Association of Teachers of German here. Normally, the exam is given electronically, level 2, 3, and 4 is given in the winter for when it comes to applying to study trip awards, but due to coronavirus, some things have changed. Normally the calendar for exams for levels 2, 3, and 4, registration is in October and the exam is in December. While for Level 1, registration is in February with the exam in April.

If you’re interested to learn more about how coronavirus is impacting other topics specifically college admissions, read here.

The exam levels aren’t based on one textbook or lesson, the exams reflect the principles of the World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages, and the development of student’s abilities to communicate with knowledge of the culture.

The exam isn’t supposed to be impossible like some other exams, it’s meant to prove your knowledge and be accessible to a general population of students. The National German Exam is not a proficiency exam, it is meant to measure performance based on what is taught in German classes. If you’re interested in the difference between the National German Exam, AP exams, as well as the SAT, AP courses and exams, are explained here and SAT here.


No matter what level you take, there are opportunities for awards

Level 1:

  • The Level 1 exam targets the beginner German students, who understand some ideas on familiar topics phrases, simple sentences, and frequently used the expression, these students should be able to understand the main point and a few details in short conversations, messages, and announcements
  • The Level 1 exam is similar in length and structure to the other levels, level 1 is designed to allow German I students to show what they know

Level 1 Practice Exams can be found here.

Level 2:

  • The Level 2 exam focuses on students who are more proficiencies in German
  • These students can understand the main idea and some details talked about in sentences, short conversations, presentations, and messages

Level 3:

  • The Level 3 exam is for students are at the beginning stages of intermediate
  • These students are able to comprehend the main idea and details talked about in connected sentences, conversations, presentations, and messages
  • These students understand information similar to basic personal, social needs which are relevant to their immediate environments like everyday life, school, and community

Level 4:

  • The Level 4 exam is for students who are higher intermediate
  • They can understand the main points and details in conversations, presentations, and messages on familiar topics
  • They should be able to understand the main idea and some details on unfamiliar topics
  • These students can make inferences and can comprehend texts focused on relevant real-world topics and culture

The Level 1 exam is given at a different time than the Level 2, 3, and 4 exams because they need to be given in the winter so if you qualify in the 90th percentile you can apply for the AATG/PAD Study Trip Awards. The AATG/PAD Study Trip Awards is a four-week study trip program to Germany. Trips like these can prove to counselors you did something academically important with your summertime when it comes time to apply to school, continue reading about the study trip below.  You need two years of language to qualify, which is why Level 1 students aren’t eligible. No matter if you qualify for a trip, win awards, etc, having the skill of being able to speak another language, its harder with just good grades to be an impressive student, the standards are much higher and you need stronger skills.

What Does the Exam Look Like?

Question Types

Questions are formed from authentic audio or video clips, or a print text. Each set of questions consists of around 5 clips or text, with no more than 10-12 multiple-choice items. The questions are supposed to reflect a range of skills.

Each section has at least one question in where students are asked to identify the main idea, two or three where students identify details, and one question to infer beyond the text or detect the tone and where it is headed, or to state the audience. There also may be questions about vocabulary.


The National German Exam is taken in an electronic format that is compatible with Windows, Apple operating systems, and others. Students need access to the internet to take the exam. Headphones or earbuds are needed for students to listen and complete the audio portion of the exam. Students can pause audio and video materials, and replay portions as many times as they want in the allotted time.


The National German Exam results allow the comparison of students in all regions of the country, not only for award reasons but for teachers and students to use results to improve or change direction. Check out past results for 2020 here.


The National German Exam provides practice and released exams so that students can become familiar with the exam and feel more comfortable when the exam comes. The practice and released exams emulate the structure and functionality of the National German Exam and students can take these exams an unlimited number of times. Check out all of the practice exams and released exams here.


The National German Exam highlights students who take the exam in various ways. All Gold, Silver, and Bronze Award Winners are honored in the Presidential Honor Roll, there are certificates and certificate Seals. Students who do well are recognized at special award ceremonies or school-wide honors programs, which are also really great for German programs.

three medals

Being awarded any of these honors is a boost to your college application or Common Application, to get into top tier schools both need impressive skills, awards, and more. If you are looking for assistance when it comes to applying, if you’ve won enough awards, etc, contact us at AdmissionSight, we can help.

  1. Presidential Honor Roll
    • National German Exam Gold, Silver, and Bronze award winners are honored online by the AATG President.
    • The awards are given to students who reached the highest percentile rankings on the National German Exam
  2. Study Trip Award
    • For over 50 years, the Federal Republic of Germany, through the Auswärtiges Amt and its Pädagogischer Austauschdienst, has provided the AATG/PAD Study Trip Awards
    • The Study Trip is a 3-4 week trip to Germany in the summer
    • Students attend classes at an academic high school, live in homestays, and participate in excursions to places of cultural significance
    • To learn more, if you’ve taken the exam and are curious if you are eligible, look here
  3. Chapter awards
    • Chapter Testing Chairs receive prizes from AATG to give to students who participate in the National German Exam
    • These prizes could be medals, books or educational materials

Other Programs

The American Association of Teachers of German has other programs for students in high school, including an honor society and other awards.

  1. Outstanding Senior Award
    • This award is for students chosen based on their academic achievement and commitment in German as well as their activities related to German
  2. Honor Society
    • The American Association of Teachers of German has an honor society for junior high to college students
    • Delta Epsilon Phi is a national honor society for students in high school who excel in German
    • Kathe Wilson Scholarship
    • The Kathe Wilson Scholarship is for students in Delta Epsilon Phi and in a German class

In Conclusion

This year, over 1800 students participated in the Level 1 exam, Over 7,700 took the Level 2 exam, over 6,000 took Level 3 and over 4,500 Level 4. The reach of this exam is impressive, and taking the exam shows determination and engagement. Not only are students rewarded with knowledge, but an impressive prize program.

Winning awards and participating in special exams is a stand out when it comes to college admissions, and being apart of the other programs the American Association of Teachers of German offers can prove your leadership and commitment to your study of German and skill. Schools are looking that you’re taking subject exams and challenging yourself, but they are looking for much more than just that, so make sure your academic plan is mapped out, to ensure you have the right chances when it comes to college admissions.

Participating in the National German Exam or any of the other programs the American Association of Teachers of German offers can improve your German, and add a valuable skill to your life. If you are interested in taking the exam, preparing, or are in need of any assistance when it comes to the exam, high school, or college admissions preparation, contact us at AdmissionSight.

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