B2 | Step 07: Writing - How to write efficiently - sich vorstellen

Schreiben Sie - Write

How to write efficiently (overview)

Don't try to remember all of the following. I'll point out the important parts as you proceed with this course. Also, this is just an overview. A few lines down you'll find your first real writing assignment.

A very powerful way to apply and review what you have learned is by writing texts. But writing without an efficient feedback mechanism is rather inefficient. Here is how you make writing one of your most powerful learning and review tools. You will need a bit of external help, but that might not cost you much.

01 | Find a topic or use the one I suggest in each writing lecture.

02 | Write a draft in English or your mother tongue. Do not skip this step!

03 | Limit your initial writing to 100 words in the beginning. Less is more. As you get better, you can write longer letters (increase in little steps of 20 words) → In a B2 exam, you are required to write texts of ~250 words length (+-10%).

04 | Simplify your English draft.

05 | Write one sentence per line in your draft AND in the final German text, number each sentence in draft and final text. This will help you to estimate how much of the required amount you have already written and it will also help you with the corrections.

06 | ONLY in an exam or when working with a corrector via Google docs as shown below, leave one line distance between each sentence for more control over the text and corrections (See example below). You can also share your texts here in the comments but we won't correct them so you won't have to leave any lines empty.

01 - Ich habe gestern einen tollen Film gesehen.
02 - Er hieß Titanic.
03 - Es ging um ein großes Schiff.

07 | Translate your draft into German without a dictionary. If you can’t find the fitting German word simply write the English one instead. Highlight the English word(s) so that you can easily find it/them later when you are allowed to look it up.

08 | Once you are done with your translation, either encircle the remaining English words or look them up in a dictionary. Make sure to add them to your blacklist.

09 | Now take a little break before continuing with the correction.

10 | Go through your text two more times: The first time, check for verb positions and verb endings. The second time, check all datives and accusatives especially after prepositions (vor, hinter, über, mit etc.) and personal pronouns (mich, mir etc.)

11 | Ideally you have a German or advanced German learner to check your writing. If you write your texts in Google docs which is free of charge, you can invite others to comment on them. Let them only highlight your mistakes and maybe give a hint here and there if the mistake is not really obvious (see my video about corrections a few lines below). BUT there are a couple of fantastic online spell checkers which also check your grammar. TPlease check out Duden Mentor and Languagetool.

If you work with a private tutor or a native German please make sure to share this video about how to correct someone with them so that they can correct you effectively.

12 | Try to analyse your mistakes. If you don’t understand what went wrong, first take note in your questions notebook that you browse regularly mainly to see how many questions have been answered almost by themselves. You can also ask your German (speaking) friend or tutor 1-2x per week if you have one at hand. Generally try not to answer everything all at once. Everything you need to know for B2 will become clear by the end of this course so give this course and your brain a bit leeway.

Your first writing assignment

Your topic: Introduce yourself

We'll mix between formal (Sie/Ihnen) and informal address (du/dir/dich). In your exam you'll have a similar mix. The initial writing assignments will be of more creative nature as I'd love you to play with the German you already know. A while in, you'll focus on exam like assignments but I'll always provide you with an alternative topic. Now let's get started:

Stellen Sie sich bitte vor. Schreiben Sie über folgende (=the following) Punkte:

  • Wer sind Sie?
  • Warum lernen Sie Deutsch?
  • Was sind Ihre Stärken und Schwächen?
  • Wofür interessieren Sie sich besonders und warum?

Schreiben Sie 80-100 Wörter und denken Sie an die Anrede (e.g. "Liebe Maria,") und den Gruß am Ende (e.g. "Liebe Grüße").

REMEMBER: Start with a quick English draft, even if this seems to be a simple task for you. The draft fulfils a very (!) important function as it allows you to repeat writing a letter about the same topic and to be able to compare it to your first version. DO NOT SKIP THE DRAFT.

Sample letter

1 | Hallo Michael,
1 | Hello Michael,

2 | ich heiße Jane Doe.
2 | My name is Jane Doe.

3 | Ich bin 25 und komme aus New York in den USA.
3 | I am 25 years old and I come from NY in the US.

4 | Aber ich wohne bereits seit einigen Jahren in Deutschland.
4 | But I've already been living in Germany for quite a few years.

5 | Ich lerne Deutsch, weil ich in Deutschland lebe
5 | I'm learning German, because I live in Germany.

6 | und hier gerne Karriere machen möchte.
6 | and I would like to build my career here.

7 | Sie haben nach meinen Stärken und Schwächen gefragt.
7 | You have asked about my strengths and weaknesses.

8 | Darüber muss ich erst noch nachdenken.
8 | I'd have to think about that first.

9 | Ich denke, dass ich manchmal ein wenig zu regelkonform bin.
9 | I think that at times I play too much by the book.

10 | Aber das kompensiere ich durch meinen Arbeitseifer.
10 | But I compensate that with help of my enthusiasm for my work.

11 | Seit neuestem interessiere ich mich sehr für Künstliche Intelligenz.
11 | Recently I got interested in Artificial Intelligence.

12 | Das Thema wird zur Zeit sehr kontrovers diskutiert.
12 | The topic is being debated controversly at the moment.

13 | Das sollte erstmal reichen für meinen ersten Brief.
13 | That should suffice for my first letter.

14 | Liebe Grüße
14 | Warm regards

15 | Mia Musterfrau
15 | Jane Doe

~100 Wörter / words or 15 Zeilen / lines


You don't have to write a letter every day. Feel free to write one every other day or every third day, but if you want to learn German fast, writing is certainly beneficial. You will find 1 writing assignment per lesson in this course. As you will most likely need several days to finish one lesson, you can repeat your writing assignment from the day(s) before using the draft from your first writing for the days in between.

Share your Letter with Us

We won't correct it here but sharing is caring. And you care about your German, right?