I always imagined the German language as an opportunity opener for me. I have been studying German since 3rd grade and it has been a very interesting journey. For higher education, I am looking at Germany as an option because education is free, under some conditions. In order to access free education, knowing German is a requirement. Therefore, I was very happy when I saw German B in the subject list of the IB curriculum. You might think that it is a hard language and especially the pronunciations sound ridiculous. It is partially true, but as long you work hard and put dedication into it, learning German becomes very fascinating.
Tips for Speaking – Oral Examination
German oral examination requires students verbally reacting to stimulus, responding to the question and engaging in a general conversation.
Speaking in German can be tricky sometimes. It is necessary to pay attention to the intonation, to the letters and speak mindfully. Pronouncing certain words might be difficult and will take practice. This includes words like, “Ohrwurm” (earworm), “Zungenbrecher” ( Tongue breaker) and so on. I improved upon my pronunciation and speaking by listening to German podcasts, watching random German videos or movies. I would love to suggest one YouTube channel “Easy German”, which considers different levels of german speakers/learners. “Deutsch mit Marija” is also very helpful.
Pronouncing hard words out loud and just talking in German randomly all by yourself is a catalyst to making you feel more comfortable/confident with speaking the language. I would also suggest participating in class discussions and asking the teacher for feedback on your speaking if there is any certain point you need to improve. For the HL oral examination, which costs 25% of your grade, we are given an extract from the book that was read in the class. We need to discuss it and analyse it. To pass IOA successfully it is important to know the text well and be able to talk organised and correctly. This means that if you follow the tips for speaking from above, oral examinations will be a piece of cake for you. The only thing that you will require to add to those methods will be a very good reading of the literary work and a good conceptual understanding of it.
Tips for Reading and Listening
As paper 2 consists of reading and listening comprehension, it takes 50% of your grade ( 25% each). Practice, practice, practice! Doing past papers and seeing the mistakes you made is very helpful to see your weaknesses and strengths. As I am aware there are not as many past papers in German B, unfortunately. However, completing the exercises in the coursebook provided by IB is already a step forward. Furthermore, reading articles or books in German will boost your reading and comprehension skills. I would always note down the words that I didn’t understand, find the definitions in the internet, connect to the concept and memorise it afterwards. The best way to memorise new words is to connect their meaning to your mother language or the subject it describes.For instance, “das Buch” means Book in German, in my language it translates as “წიგნი”[Tsigni]. It doesn’t sound the same at all. However, as we put the book on we associate the sound of it to “buch”. Making links will let it stick in your brain faster and more effectively. Repeating them regularly and using while talking or writing will subconsciously trick your brain to memorize it.
As for the listening comprehension, doing the listening exercises is an amazing way to improve your listening comprehension skills. Other than when you are relaxing or taking a break from studying, it is really helpful to put on some German video or a podcast and listen to it. You will notice later how much your listening and understanding skills have improved.
Tips for Writing
Paper 1 takes up 25% of your German B grade. Using the right text structures, idioms, words and grammatical structures is a big challenge during the writing process in paper 1. I would suggest writing as much as you can, even without the teacher assigning you the writings. It really helps to train writing skills. And it would be amazing to get the feedback and notes from your teacher and follow them accurately afterwards. During the practice, try to write paper 1 in the exact timeframe as on the exam ( which is 30 minutes ). That way you will acknowledge what you have to pay attention to more and how to improve the time management during writing. It would be great to work on the articles that each word owns, to put them into the right forms during the writing. You can memorize them according to the rules that some words obey. Or it will be amazing to make flashcards and use active recall for memorization. Furthermore, doing small practices on the internet or some other grammar books will help a lot.
To conclude, learning a language is an amazing process. You get to explore the complexity and the originality of it. You become aware of the culture as well since in the German B textbook there is a huge amount of reference to Germany. It might be challenging but it is exactly what makes learning enjoyable.