In order to apply for permanent residency and/or citizenship here in Germany, you have to take the “Life in Germany” test. For residency, I believe you need to answer 15 out of 33 questions correctly, and for citizenship you need to answers 17 questions correctly. Assuming you have a fair knowledge of German and you’ve reviewed the information, it’s pretty easy.
30 questions are pulled from a 300 question catalog over German politics, history, and culture. The last 3 questions are pulled from a 10 question list that relate specifically to the state the tester lives in. All of the questions are available here for practice purposes – though going through the whole list numbs your brain.
I found the political questions the most difficult, as I had a tendency to jumble up the different offices a bit. The German government follows a three branch system as the United States does, so I at least had something I already knew about to compare to. I found the history section fairly easy, as it focused on 1933 to now, and American history classes loooove World War II and the Cold War. I had learned most of what was covered already. The culture section focused mostly on day to day life and laws, which seemed pretty intuitive to me, but might have been more tricky if I came from a culture that was completely different.
Some of the questions were pretty easy – and some were comical. I went back through my giant printout of question and pulled them out and translated them for your enjoyment. Others who come from a different background might not find these as funny as I do, but I feel that a lot of people who read this will find some amusement from it.
8. What is not stated in the constitution of Germany?
a. Human dignity is inviolable.
b. Everyone should have the same amount of money.
c. Everyone can speak their minds.
d. All are equal before the law.
Unfortunately the answer is B. The government does not ensure that everyone has the same amount of money. This could be considered a good thing or a bad thing depending on how much money you already have.
137. Which court in Germany is responsible for conflicts in the work-world?
a. The family court
b. The criminal court
c. The work court
d. The district court
It almost feels like a trick. It would be too simple if the work court was responsible for work conflicts. Thankfully the Germans are very straightforward and c is correct.
226. Which is the flag of the European Union?
The US wishes the first was the answer! (or not… probably not) I actually had to take a picture of the last flag from my test paper and reverse google image search it to figure out what it is even for. It is the flag of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) – thanks Google!
245. Who can not live together as a couple in Germany?
a. Hans (20 years old) and Marie (19 years old)
b. Tom (20 years old) and Klaus (45 years old)
c. Sofie (35 years old) and Lisa (40 years old)
d. Anne (13 years old) and Tim (25 years old)
Oh my lord, Tim is so creepy.
251. If someone beats a child in Germany…
a. that’s no one’s business.
b. that is only the family’s business.
c. they can not be punished for it.
d. they can be punished for it.
This is one of the ones that I’m sure will have different opinions based on cultural differences. For me, I find all of the answers besides d completely absurd, but I suppose it isn’t like that everywhere.
267. A young woman in Germany, 22 years old, lives together with her boyfriend. The woman’s parents disapprove, because they do not like her boyfriend. What can the parents do?
a. They must respect the decision of their adult daughter.
b. They have the right to take their daughter back to their house.
c. They can go to the police and show them the daughter.
d. They look for another man for the daughter.
Another cultural one. The parents could do a few of those things, but they would run into some problems with b and d – and get laughed at by the Polizei for c.
276. What should you do if you are mistreated by your contact person in a German office?
a. I can do nothing.
b. I have to put up with the treatment.
c. I threaten the person.
d. I can complain to the office supervisor.
I think this one is here just so that immigrants know that they don’t have to put up with being mistreated when they jump through all their bureaucratic hoops. This one is funny to me because I didn’t actually know the German word for threaten at the time (drohen), so I had a bit of a shock when I looked it up.
If you are preparing for this test, don’t be too scared! While I haven’t actually received my results yet, I found it way easier than the language test, and I passed that one!