I finally signed up for an Einstufungsprüfung (placement test) at the Goethe-Institut in Kuala Lumpur, despite fears and doubts that my German ability had barely scratched A1. Like many tests, it had three sections: reading comprehension / grammar, writing (50-100 word essay) and oral. I was allocated an hour for both the grammar and writing parts, if I remember correctly.
The Goethe-Institut uses the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). If you’re not familiar, an explanation can be found here.
Reading Comprehension & Grammar
This first section is multiple-choice, and is quite similar to some placement test examples you might find on the Internet, like this one from the Goethe-Institut itself, and this, and also this. It was a relief, as I was expecting A1/A2-style exams, with listening sections. However, having tried both the A1 and A2 sample papers, I think the A2 section on the placement test (not stated, by the way) was slightly harder than what I encountered on the model paper. Although this may be a biased opinion formed under the influence of nervousness and pre-test anxiety. I placed around A2 here, with some gaps in my A1 knowledge.
Having expected to write long, important letters, I was armed with my ‘Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren‘s and ‘Mit freundlichen Grüßen‘s, but it was a simple essay requesting that you write about yourself, how long you’ve been learning German, where you’ve learnt it, why, etc. I merely tried to explain how I used to study for about only 15-20 minutes per day for five months, before spending more time on the language beginning in December, after my school exams ended. I was quite pleased to be placed at A2.1, as I always thought my writing skills would be around A1, having almost never practiced them.
Nothing like the Mündliche Prüfung videos you might find on Youtube for the respective levels. You won’t be required to plan a shopping trip with your partner based on a given schedule, nor will you have to give any mini presentations. It was basically a general conversation. Let’s just say I messed up at this part. I’ve never spoken to anyone in German before (except myself), and I pretty much froze, and couldn’t even say a measly Auf Wiedersehen at the end.
That pretty much sums it up. The place itself is comparatively small, but that’s rather expected, given the level of interest in / engagement with the German language in Malaysia. It’s nice, though.