Project Update: 90-Day Push

I’ve been spending the last three months getting ready to take the ACTFL German reading test. You can read why in my original post.

St. Pauli Theater - Hamburg, Germany Image Source

St. Pauli Theater – Hamburg, Germany
By Andre-Pierre from Stellenbosch, South Africa [CC BY 2.0], Image Source

Here’s a quick update.

1. I gave myself an extra three weeks and scheduled the test the second week of January. I just felt like I wouldn’t be quite ready by mid-December, as originally planned. Considering that the cost of the test is a couple hundred dollars (if you take into account proctoring fees) I figured it was okay to give myself some extra time. Every 21 days help.

2. As the kids say, I’ve been on my grind. Day in, day out. Getting tired, but I want to pass the test. Having the goal and a deadline has been vital in keeping me going. I know I rushed myself, but I wouldn’t have made the progress I’ve made if I hadn’t.

3. Readlang has been vital for my intensive readying and vocab studying. Looking at my library on there, I see that I’ve studied 89 texts intensively. That’s a total of about 30,000 words in those texts, as well as 1856 new vocab words.


For the record, I haven’t “acquired” each of those 1856 words. They’re a work in progress, needing to be reviewed and reviewed again. These are on top of the vocabulary of 3000 or so I had coming into the project.

(Oh, and if you’re curious about which texts I’ve been studying, I’ll discuss those in the wrap-up post.)

4. On top of my intensive reading/studying, I’ve been reading and listening to between 5000 and 7500 words a day. I’m reading a lot of news stories and watching documentaries. A staple recently has been Löwenzahn, a 1980s German kids show. It’s like a cross between Mr. Rogers and Mr. Bean. The language is simple but spoken naturally, so I’m using it to build my cognitive fluency. That’s a highfalutin way to say I’m using easy, natural language to make German really sink in.

Wrapping Up

Given my progress, I think I’m going to meet my goal (3 weeks late). I get scared when I encounter a text in which I’m absolutely lost, but I remind myself that I’m shooting for an “Advanced Low” or “Advanced Intermediate” level, not mastery.

Just gotta keep going and cross the finish line here.