No matter whether you have chosen to take the German Language B Standard Level (SL) or Higher Level (HL) exam, you will certainly be aiming to achieve the highest possible grade. Many students think that in order to achieve a 7, you must be a genius and have reached a level of German which only native speakers can reach. These simple tricks will help you on your way to acing your exam and achieving that seemingly impossible grade 7.
The first step is to become confident with German grammar. The earlier you master the basic grammatical skills (like putting the right adjective endings for definite, indefinite or non-article nouns, or knowing which prepositions take which case, or feeling confident with the conjugation of regular and irregular verbs, and knowing a variety of conjunctions) the quicker you will see that German is not as hard as it initially seems. It might sound like a rather daunting task to practise grammar over and over again, but the quicker you get your head around it, the quicker you can focus on the course content and on expanding your vocabulary, which is vital in order to be able to understand a variety of different texts (see below!).
There are plenty of resources for different ability ranges that you can use to develop your grammar skills. Try choosing one grammar topic per week and spend at least ten minutes on related exercises each day. By the end of the week you will have worked through a number of different tasks and hence you will feel much more confident with that specific area of German grammar.
In the exam you will be faced with different types of texts which will contain plenty of words you might not have come across before. Never fear! The earlier you start reading articles from German magazines like “Der Spiegel”, “Stern”; “Focus” and many more (which can all be found online), the earlier you will build a good vocabulary around the many topics that you will study throughout the two-year course.
To give one example, if you are working on the topic of health in class, try to find at least three related articles from online resources like those mentioned above. Print these articles and go through them with a highlighter, underlining all unknown words. Initially it might take a while to do this. But, if you can manage to learn the words which you come across in your text book and add a few more words from these online resources, you will build a good vocabulary in no time. This will give you a great pool of words from which to draw when you stumble upon these words in exam texts.
Once you have worked on increasing your vocabulary and have done plenty of grammar tasks, you should turn your attention to past papers in order to get a feeling of what will be expected of you in the exam. You will find that many of the texts that come up in exams are easy to manage if you follow certain steps. Always read the texts first without looking at the actual task below as you must get a feeling for the content. Once you manage to identify the key words from the text, you can look at the questions and go through them systematically. The more past papers you set yourself, the more you will see how text topics tend to repeat themselves quite often.
For those who have chosen to do the German IB HL course, you will be faced with plenty of literature which your teacher will have chosen to work on throughout the two-year course. The best thing is to get the books prior to the start of the course and to familiarise yourself with them. This doesn’t mean that you have to have read them cover-to-cover before the course starts but it is certainly useful to look into the authors and the time periods in which the books have been written. This will equip you with excellent background knowledge and make it easier to follow the time line when you discuss the books in class.
Achieving a grade 7 in your German IB may seem an impossible task. But mastering grammar and growing your vocabulary will give you a solid foundation on which to build and allow you to tackle exam texts with confidence.