Goethe | Zertifikat C2: GDS

Goethe | Zertifikat C2: GDS

The Goethe-Zertifikat C2: Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom (GDS) is a German language examination for adults. GDS enables foreign students to access German universities and colleges and in many places serves as proof of language proficiency in teaching German. It confirms a very advanced language level and corresponds to the highest level (C2) on the six-level competence scale of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Exam Information

Who takes Goethe-Zertifikat C2: GDS?

The Goethe-Zertifikat C2: GDS is for adults who wish to confirm their advanced language level with an official and internationally recognised certificate and live and work in Switzerland.

People with a Goethe-Zertifikat C2: GDS can:

  • understand with ease practically everything they read or hear in German.
  • summarise information from various written and oral sources, giving reasons and explanations in a coherent presentation.
  • express yourself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely and be able to make finer nuances of meaning clear in more complex subject matter.

Goethe | Zertifikat C2: GDS - Zeugen, was man wirklich kann

Format of the exam

Exam section Content Duration
Reading You read non-fiction texts, commentaries, reports and advertisements and work on different tasks in each case. You can understand the texts effortlessly, even if they are abstract or complex in terms of content and language, and at the same time grasp implicit meanings. 80 Minutes
Writing You will reformulate a short paper in parts and write a text based on a general or a literature-related topic, which is well structured and stylistically appropriate as a letter to the editor or book review. There are two general topics and one topic on each of the two books on the literature list to choose from. You will work on one topic out of four possible topics. 80 Minutes
Listening You listen to reports and reports from the media, informal conversations as well as interviews with experts at a natural speaking pace and complete different tasks for each. 35 Minutes
Speaking You give a presentation on a more complex topic, e.g. globalisation, explaining your argumentation in a differentiated way when asked. You discuss another topic in a pro-and-con conversation by representing your own opinion, reacting to counter-arguments and trying to convince your interlocutor of your position. 15 Minutes

Explore the Goethe test goals and insights in the Manual by Goethe-Institute.

Rating by the Goethe-Institut

All candidates who have passed all parts of the German exam will receive a certificate. On the back of the certificate there is an explanation of the results.

The score achieved can be interpreted as follows:

Points Rating
100 - 90 very good
89 - 80 good
79 - 70 satisfactory
69 - 60 sufficient
59 - 0 failed

Preparation material

Preparation material

Preparation material for students and teachers



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