The learning process from Gloria to C1 german

A few days ago Gloria sent me an update to publish. I have literally copied the text she sent me:

“Last minute!

And, finally, after months and months of work, effort and enthusiasm … I’m starting my professional career in            Switzerland!  What used to seem like a utopia, is now is a beautiful reality. And, if you believe in yourself, if you try hard and have the support of great people, all your dreams can be fulfilled.

The role of Tobias in this dream has been fundamental. And, somehow, it still is. Without his support as a German teacher and coach, I could not have quickly reached the level necessary to get a good job here in Zürich. And, without his encouragement, his advice and his training in class, it would have been really difficult for me to adapt to the reality of a full-time job in a German-speaking office.

Because it is very different to prepare a certification exam, to face meetings each day, e-mails, conversations, debates, presentations … all in German, in intensive sessions of eight (or more) hours a day. Suddenly, new words are added, new expressions, new accents, different ways of speaking …

And it is precisely in these moments that I remember the encouragement and advice of Tobias. Little by little, step by step, I’m moving forward and understanding expressions and accents that at first seemed impossible to me.

If you want, and if you have the right support, you can do it. It would be great news if my story could be of help to all those who are immersed in the process of learning German.

Go for it! With the help of Tobias, it will be easier for you to achieve your goals! ”

Is it possible to achieve a C1 level in German within a year, without any previous knowledge of German and without doing a super-intensive course, with only 3 classes of 90 Minutes per week, 4 times faster than in traditional courses? 

At the end of the Post there’s some very interesting data and there is a picture of Gloria with her German C1 certificate.

Before continuing to tell her story, I first want to explain what it means to be at a C1 german level. 

There is a lot of talk about learning levels, but … what does a C1 in German really mean?

According to the European framework of reference for languages, a person with a level C1 german is able to:

“Understand a wide range of demanding, longer clauses,and recognize implicit meaning” “Express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions” “Uses language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes” “Can produce clear, well structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.


Day one

I remember perfectly the day I had the first lesson with Gloria:

“I want to learn German quickly; I need it for my job as communication manager”.

Gloria was very clear from the beginning that she wanted to achieve a very high level to open a new stage in her career in Switzerland in the corporate communication sector.

We started doing 3 lessons of 90 Minutes per week and, in approximately 4 months; Gloria had already reached level B1. With an intensive learning plan of, for example, 1 lesson in the morning and another lesson in the afternoon, she could have achieved it in 6-8 weeks. This is, without doubt, a very striking fact.


After these first 4 months there was a period of irregularity, both in the frequency of the lessons and also in the time that Gloria could devote to learning the language. To this add the constant trips between Asturias and Switzerland, before moving relocating permanently.

Once installed in Switzerland, we returned to the rhythm of before and Gloria climbed quite fast to level B2. The preparation for the B2 test was not very good, since work trips once again arose. However, Gloria passed the certification exam; something quite amazing, considering the short preparation time. Having a B2 level and preparing a B2 German test are very different learning fields, since the training for a certification exam requires a specific and differentiated process from the usual one in learning a language.

Until now, Gloria had only practiced German almost exclusively with me. Only on some occasions could he put into practice what she had learned: in restaurants, supermarkets or some basic conversation in German with people he knew.

However, there was still something missing in order to make the leap to C1 in German. Thus, Gloria began to attend theater classes in German and began to talk in a constant and consistent German with German and Swiss friends whom she had been meeting in this new stage in Zürich.

Meanwhile, we started with the C1 exam preparation. Progressively, Gloria was raising her average in the tests to reach scores of 8 – 8.5.

We must not forget, however, the critical parts of the learning process: 

the drawbacks, the exhaustion, the doubts, the nerves of the exam that was approaching … Little by little, I was realizing that, apart from her teacher, I was becoming her coach, her personal trainer for learning German.

It is in these moments when one realizes how important a good relationship is between the person who teaches and the student, the professionalism of the teacher … It is at critical moments of learning that our profession becomes more demanding. 

Gloria was in a rut. With my help, she got out of it … and we kept progressing together. Another drawback appeared … from which we also prevailed, to continue advancing. The goal was getting closer!

The day of the C1 german exam. 

She had already reached C1. Gloria is able to develop presentations in German on very complex topics, she understands practically all the news, she is able to read complicated texts, write essays of a high stylistic level … Only the official certificate was missing!

Surprisingly, there were no places to take the C1 test in Zürich or the surrounding area and Gloria had to report to a center located in a German town near Stuttgart, 200 km from Zürich. It is not the best start to give an exam, because you are not in your usual environment.

The day before the exam, she drove to Böblingen (a town near Stuttgart), where she had booked a room in a hotel.

The previous nerves began … In fact, the night before the exam, she could barely sleep for an hour. Even though we had talked more than once about the subject of nerves, but at this moment they were getting the best of her. Also, that weekend was very cold … seven degrees below zero and she also had to walk a few minutes to the academy where she was going to take the test !!

She was about to turn around, stomach pains, nerves and body trembling from the cold … She was ready to suspend the exam.

On the other hand, the entire examination was carried out in a single day. There were a few minutes of pause between the part of Lesen, Hören and Schreiben and a slightly longer pause before the verbal test.

In the next class, we analyzed the exam and she told me that in the first part she did not have good feelings, she was not focused and was exhausted … But, as the hours went by, she was remembering all the advice we had analyzed in our lessons and little by little it was going somewhat better.

It took six long weeks to receive the result …

The day of the result 


C1 german exam

Result C1 german exam:

Lesen 15.5 / 25

Hören 12.5 / 25

Schreiben 20/25

Sprechen 20.5 / 25

She had passed with 68%. Maybe some would say: “well, she passed, but with a average score”.

Passing an exam of this magnitude, in the conditions in which Gloria was presented, is only achieved by an authentic champion. 

In addition, there is a clear difference between the first part and the second part of the exam, which is a clear indicator of how bad it was going during the first part of the exam before things took a turn.

It’s like playing a football game in which a team plays a bad first half, loses 0-2 at halftime … and then goes back in the second half and in the end wins 3-2. These are the matches of real champions. 

Some very interesting facts: 

-One of the biggest German teaching academies recommends between 800-1000 units of instruction (lesson unit: 45 minutes). Aside from that, the student often has to do complementary courses … extra writing courses, extra conversation courses , examination preparation courses etc and that can easily reach 1200 teaching units,

Gloria got it 4 times faster: with only three 90 minute lessons per week, she was able to reach level C1 german within a year. A record time, compared to the usual term in standard courses (3-4 years of learning to reach this level). This also means that there was also time and money saved.

-There was no other teacher or academy, Gloria only taught German with me. When a student learns with a single teacher, it is a clear advantage. Experience tells me that those students who have had several teachers / academies always take longer to reach their goals.

– Gloria has genuinely reached C1, not a C1 german certificate. Many academies and also other professors “sell their product” and even the student obtains a certificate at the end of the training cycle; but it does not have, by far, the real level. And, certainly, what counts in a job interview and in real life, is that the candidate has to master the level indicated by the certificate. Having a real C1 and also having the certificate, is a very strong cover letter.