Becoming German, englishman abroad

My experience of the Deutsch-Test für Zuwanderer (DTZ)

This morning I toddled down to a private language school in Oldenburg for my appointment to take the German Test for Immigrants (DTZ – Deutsch-Test für Zuwanderer), as part of my ongoing quest to Germanize myself before Brexit. Here is what happened.

The candidates, about twenty of us, milled around aimlessly outside until I got the arse and went inside, to ask if I could go inside. I could. So I went upstairs and sat alone in a corridor adjacent to the computer lab which formed a makeshift examination room for the day. Once I had been joined by the other students, the invigilator, a portly German lady in her thirties, and her assistant, a slim young man of around twenty who spoke Arabic and Kurdish, ushered us into a room. The exam was due to begin at 0900 but actually started closer to 0930, as this was how long it took to get a group of twenty young, mostly male students to follow simple instructions.

I have to say, although the entire point of being there was to take an exam that showed we could use sufficient German to survive in day-to-day life, I felt that precious few of the people in that room could have, based upon their inability to follow exceedingly simple instructions such as “sit over there”. Anyway, thirty minutes pass and we’re all sat down, and the exams are being handed out: “Do not open the exams until I tell you to, this is very important! You will be kicked out if you do!” said the German lady approximately forty times. Behold, six of the other candidates flatly ignore this and casually peruse the exam before the official start time. This is not very German behaviour. Throughout the exam, it was the norm for candidates to talk to each other and attempt to look at each other’s answers. They did not listen to the German lady. Occasionally they heeded the assistant when he addressed them in Arabic or Kurdish. The lady decided to move some of the male students to stop them from talking to each other; this nearly caused a riot. It seemed to me that they didn’t like being told what to do by a female.

Anyway, the first part of the exam itself was reasonably straightforward, listening followed by reading and then writing; it took me less than an hour. The writing subtest had me write a letter of complaint about my unsatisfactory (fictional) experience of buying a television online, which I gleefully did.

Then came the speaking subtest, in which I talked about myself, as well as a picture of an entirely too-happy looking family cooking dinner together in their spotlessly unused kitchen (I mentioned this), and then finally I had to make plans with my partner.

I’m relatively confident that I passed this exam. It’s just a B1 level test (lower middle difficulty) and, frankly, the standard of the other candidates was so awful…

Next up is the citizenship test, in ten day’s time. Questions about Germany, its history, society and political system.

Step by step I am mitigating the Brexit shitshow and sticking to my new year’s resolution

10 thoughts on “My experience of the Deutsch-Test für Zuwanderer (DTZ)”

      1. I think that I probably will. I have no desire to live in the US ever again and here seems as good as any place I have been. The language has been difficult for me. It’s so frustrating, I really have never had trouble learning anything before…but I do not seem to have the aptitude for learning languages.
        I will get there, slowly very slowly


      2. I’m feeling the same way about the UK, recent events have put British identity into a stark and ugly light. Don’t worry about the language; one day you’ll wake up and discover that you suddenly can speak German. It’s unexpected but that’s just how it goes.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Russell
    I took the dtz last week in Ingolstadt and found the circumstances almost the same it was kiosk, it look around 45 min just to fill in the form , which was a bit off putting, i am an older lady of 65 and haven’t taken a test for over 35 years , I found the hearing part okay not to difficult , but I ran out of time on the reading part , so I suggest keep your eye on your watch, letter writing , l knew would be a problem as I don’t write much in German, just Whatapps and that doesn’t count, Speaking went very well, as I have a bit of a Bavarian accent , pick up from my husband & his Family
    The examiner noted that and said it didn’t matter , I was partnered with a lady from Spain and we really went for it with planning
    a party . I found it quite an experience, people taking an exam who have no chance of passing it , a Man from Syrier told me he could not read the questions and certainly could ‚t write, we have to pay over 100€ to Takt the test and they pay nothing
    Pleased all went well with you

    Liked by 1 person

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