Learn German A1 in 30 days for free: a step-by-step online course

Master German A1 in 30 days by yourself! A 30-day, step-by-step, full guide to German A1. Based on the curriculum of such renowned schools as Goethe Institut.

Sherzod Gafar
September 21, 2022
25 MIN
Learn German A1 in 30 days for free: a step-by-step online course

Course intro - read this first

Congratulations - In the next 30 days, you’ll learn A1 German. 

You’ll be surprised by all the amazing guides, posts, vocabulary lists, and educational videos available to German learners like you for free. The only thing missing is the structure - a step-by-step plan that guides you through all the grammar and vocabulary topics to achieve your goal of mastering the German A1 level.  Well, we created a structured course using these free resources for you

How is this course designed?

We designed this course based on the topics that such renowned language schools as Goethe Institut and Humboldt cover in their A1 courses. The difference is the content - this 30-day A1 course builds on the videos and posts from some of the best language influencers and credible websites on the web.

To speak German, you must learn the language's grammar rules and building blocks - words and phrases. Each day you will cover one or both topics by watching short videos in English and German, reading articles, and learning new vocabulary.

Each class lasts 35-40 minutes. Depending on your motivation and willingness to spend extra time watching videos or learning new vocabulary, it can take less or more.

Download this course as a PDF

To download this course as a PDF, go here. (It's a link to Google Docs)

Practice makes perfect

Your mindset is 50% of success - I want you to commit that you will apply everything you learn every day. Create your own sentences and do additional research if you don’t understand something. Speak - to yourself, your dog, or your imaginary German friend. Don’t just speak in your mind - speak out loud - the point at the objects and name them in German, repeat sentences you just read, and introduce yourself. Do anything that tells your brain that grasping and speaking German is important to you.

Thrilled to get started? Los geht’s! (Let’s go)

Day 1

In the next 30 days, you will master the German A1 level and be able to say simple phrases, understand the basic speech and have a solid grammar foundation.

Topic of the day - German pronunciation

The German language has some sound and sound combinations that are unique. Before we jump into learning new vocabulary, you must know how to read those words correctly.

Memorizing vocabulary with the wrong pronunciation is a very bad practice - it’ll be tough to correct it down the road. Bad habits die hard. Learning a new way of pronouncing words takes the same mental effort as learning a new word.

Task 1. Go through each letter and sound on this list from Deutsche Welle

Pro Tip #1: Not sure how to pronounce a word? Check its pronunciation with Google translate or Wiktionary

  • Search for the word
  • play the sound
  • repeat it a few times.

Bonus homework: Start learning the basic German vocabulary. Here is a list of the 300 most frequent German words for you.

Day 2 

Verb conjugation in the present tense (Verbkonjugation im Präsens)

The present tense is your first touchpoint with German grammar! It’s the most basic construction to express your thoughts.

Task 1

  1. Video 1 (10 minutes)
  2. Video 2 (4 minutes)

Pro tip #2: Not sure about how to conjugate a verb in German? Reverso Conjugator is the free online tool that got your back. 

  • Enter the German verb and click ‘Conjugate’
  • Get all the conjugation forms for any tense.

W-questions (W-Fragen)

W-questions are the question words such as what, why or where. In German, most of these question words also start with W

Task 1. First read about the W-question words 

  1. Post #1 is here
  2. Post #2 is here.

Task 2. Now let’s watch a few video explanations:

  1. Video 1
  2. Video 2 
  3. Video 3

Topic of the day: Introduce yourself

The first topic you’ll master is how to introduce yourself and meet new people: 

Task 1. Go through this post to get the basics

Task 2. More useful vocabulary from the Rocket Languages 

Task 3. To make sure you got everything, go through this post quickly as well

Task 4. Video lessons:

Day 3: rest day

You deserve a break!

Day 4 

Personal pronouns (Personalpronomen)

A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun in a sentence. Let’s look at an example.

 “Max learns German. He watches youtube videos in German.”

He” is a personal pronoun. It replaces or refers to “Max” without mentioning him.

It’s time to learn personal pronouns such as “I”, “you”, “we”, and others in German!

Task 1. Start with this video

Task 2. Continue with this guide

Task  3. And finish with this more extensive video on the topic

Task  4. Go through this video and exercises on DW

Task 5. And through this one

Task 6. Do these exercises

Pro tip #3: Use google translate or Deepl to translate the sentences you don’t understand. Google translate has a handy chrome extension, but Deepl is much more precise!

Sentence Construction (word order)

You wouldn’t say in English, “Works Max today” (unless you’re Yoda). You’d rather say “Max works today” (noun > verb > adverb). German has similar sentence structure rules, albeit more flexible. There are a few ways you can twist and formulate sentences. Let’s learn the rules!

Task 1. Start with this video in English

Task 2. Same content, different explanation approach - watch this video next

Task 3. Go through this more detailed guide that also covers negation and questions

Task 4. Play on Duolingo for 10-15 minutes and observe how the sentences are formulated.

Hobbies and free time

Task 1. Watch this video first

Task 2. Watch this video next

Task 3. Go through this vocabulary list and this one. write down whatever sounds useful for you.

Task 4. Watch this video in German

Task 5. Watch this video in German

Pro tip #4: Learning vocabulary is more than just reading it once or writing it down. You must review it many times before it gets into your long-term memory. The most effective way to do this is through the Spaced Repetition method. The method is about spacing out the review sessions and increasing the interviews between each review session over time. Apps you can try are Heylama or Anki.

Heylama is a free powerful, engaging flashcard app designed specifically for language learning.

Day 5

Possessive pronouns in nominative (Possessivartikel)

Possessive articles are words that help you express or indicate ownership. Let’s look at the example: ‘This book belongs to me. This is my book’. The word “my’ is a possessive pronoun that indicates that the book belongs to me. Other possessive pronouns in English are ‘your’, ‘her’, ‘our’, etc. Let’s dive deeper to learn about such pronouns in German.

  1. Watch this 6-minute video that will introduce you to the concept
  2. Go through the nominative possessive pronoun section of this guide on study.com.
  3. For more examples and additional clarification, go through this guide on transparent.com
  4. If you like, you can also go through this guide by Collinsdictionary. Pay attention to the nominative case only, you can ignore other cases for now
  5. For the most diligent ones, you can also take a look at the exercises and explanations on Deutsche Welle.

Vocabulary topic of the day: Germany’s geography and culture (Deutschlands Geographie und Kultur)

One secret to making progress is not to try to understand everything! Try to get the gist of it from the context and learn the most important words in those sentences - if you learn 5-8 new words related to the topic, consider it a success!

  1. Watch this video. Translate the words you don’t understand and memorize them. Repeat what the narrator says out loud to get used to the German sounds and words.
  2. This video is quite advanced for the 5th day, but you might still want to watch it. You will not understand everything, but you’ll get it from the context.
  3. Recycling is part of the culture in Germany. Here is a great video by EasyGerman on the topic.
  4. A great interview video by German learners about what to do in Germany.

Day 6: rest day

You worked hard, now, you should take some time off to let your brain sort things out. Feel free to watch some youtube videos or review your vocabulary, but doing nothing is just fine.

Day 7

Grammar topic of the day: Bestimmter und unbestimmter Artikel

Just like English has the definite article “the” and an indefinite article “a/an”, German has articles that do the same job - they define the subject in the sentence (nouns). Each noun in the German language has its own gender and its own article. Today we will learn about these articles

Pro tip #5: Always learn new nouns with their articles! It’s tough to relearn the articles and fix your mistakes down the road.

Pro tip #6: Don’t try to map the article to the biological gender - it’s false logic. Noun Gender in German a linguistic gender, and it doesn’t always map well to the biological gender. The word “das Mädchen” in German means “a girl”, but the definite article ‘das’ is a neutral gender. A girl cannot be a neutral gender, can it? The reason is that the ending ‘-chen’ takes the neutral article. The best way to navigate the articles is to memorize them. Later on you will read a lot, watch videos and listen to podcasts and  will instinctively recall the correct articles.

  1. Start with this guide from the routetoGermany.com
  2. Learn about the definite article “der” in this video
  3. Learn about the definite article “die” in this video
  4. Learn about the definite article “das” in this video
  5. Bonus video on the definite articles
  6. Another bonus video on the definite articles
  7. Learn about the indefinite articles in this video
  8. A more detailed video about the indefinite articles
  9. And for the most studious ones - here is a great video guide to German articles  in German

Day 8

Grammar topic of the day: Negation in German (nicht and kein)

If we want to negate something in English, we usually use the particles ‘not’ or ‘no’. In German, we have a similar particle ‘nicht’, but we also have a special word for nouns only - ‘kein or keine’. Today you will learn how to say things like “I don’t know” or “I don’t have a car” or “I don’t have a sister”. Let’s go:

  1. Start with this guide. Only pay attention to the nominative case for now.
  2. Go through this guide now to make sure you understood everything
  3. Go through some extra examples here
  4. If you want a video explanation, you can watch this 5-minute video.
  5. Or this one, a more detailed video explainer (12 minutes).
  6. And finally, go through this guide on Deutsche Welle
  7. Make sure to write down and learn all the new words you don’t know!

Vocabulary topic of the day: shopping - Einkaufen

  1. Watch this video and repeat after the narrator
  2. Now watch this one and do the same
  3. A bit awkward video, but full of useful conversation phrases
  4. PDF with useful vocabulary on the topic.
  5. Bonus: A long video that extensively covers the topic. You don’t have to watch it all, just go through it and write down the phrases you like or find relevant.
  6. Bonus: An advanced video in German, but even if you understand 10%, it’s still helpful. Turn on the captions.

Day 9: rest day

You worked hard, now, you should take some time off to let your brain sort things out. Feel free to watch some youtube videos or review your vocabulary, but doing nothing is just fine.

Day 10

Grammar topic of the day: Verben mit Vokalwechsel

Some verbs in German change their vowel in certain situations. Today we will learn about such verbs.

  1. If you don’t know what a vowel is, go here.
  2. Start with this primer-video.
  3. Simple explainer video ( especially if you are a bit familiar with the US geography :D)
  4. Short explainer video in German
  5. Watch this video to practice some of the most common verbs and pronunciation.
  6. And another video with the most common verbs that change their vowel
  7. Make sure to write down and memorize all new words - Heylama app can help you with that!

Day 11

Vocabulary topic of the day: visiting the post office and a doctor (Post und Arzt)

  1. Start with this video on the topic of post office
  2. Video on the topic of doctor visit
  3. Bonus video: visiting a doctor
  4. Bonus video: visiting a doctor
  5. Write down and memorize all the new words!

Day 12: rest day

You worked hard, now, you should take some time off to let your brain sort things out. Feel free to watch some youtube videos or review your vocabulary, but doing nothing is just fine.

Day 13 

Grammar topic of the day: Sentence structures in the German language

Let’s learn how to formulate different types of sentences - declarative (just a normal sentence), question, and imperative (giving instructions, telling someone to do something) sentences.

  1. Start with this video
  2. Go through the guide to the declarative sentences
  3. A deeper dive into the rules of asking questions in German
  4. The rules of telling someone to do something (imperative sentence)
  5. Immediate task: Formulate at least 5 sentences using each. Post your examples in the telegram group to get your grammar checked by me or other peers.

Day 14

Vocabulary topic of the day: Uhrzeiten und Wochentagen

Today we will learn to speak about time and weekdays in German. Let’s go:

First of all, let’s make sure we know how to count:

  1. A short video to learn to count from 1 to 20 is here
  2. If you are ambitious and want to know how to count up to 1 billion, here is a video for you.

Now let’s find out how Germans talk about time:

  1. A cool intro video by Jenny
  2. To make sure you got it, let’s watch this video by Anja

Let’s learn about weekdays:

  1. Watch this video first
  2. To wrap both topics up, watch this video and try to say everything after the narrator.

Day 15: rest day

You worked hard, now, you should take some time off to let your brain sort things out. Feel free to watch some youtube videos or review your vocabulary, but doing nothing is just fine.

Day 16

Grammar topic of the day: trennbare Verben

Some verbs in German are separable! Yes, you heard that right - some verbs in some sentences break into 2 pieces. And there are specific rules about where to place each of those pieces. Let’s figure this out.

  1. Read through this guide to understand the concept
  2. Watch this video to learn more
  3. A pretty good video in German on the topic. It has English text explanations.
  4. If you dare, here are some exercises to practice 

Day 16

Vocabulary topic of the day: everyday life and daily routine

  1. We will start with this video from Anja
  2. Go through this post. Make sure to study the image with useful vocabulary. Write down all the vocabulary on the image and memorize it.
  3. For the most studious and ambitious ones, watch this video in German and try to learn at least 5 new ways of saying things. Repeat after the narrator.

Day 18: rest day

You worked hard, now, you should take some time off to let your brain sort things out. Feel free to watch some youtube videos or review your vocabulary, but doing nothing is just fine.

Day 19

Grammar topic of the day: Modalverben

Modal verbs are auxiliary verbs that express necessity or possibility. English modal verbs include must, shall, will, should, and others. Let’s learn from their German peers:

  1. Start with this guide. You only need the intro and the section on the Present Tense, but getting acquainted with the Past Tense is also a good idea.
  2. Watch this short video with Anja that shortly covers the topic of Modal verbs in German.
  3. Deeper dive into the modal verb “must - müssen
  4. Deeper dive into the modal verb “can - können
  5. Deeper dive into the modal verb “may - dürfen
  6. Deeper dive into the modal verb “want/will - wollen” (it’s not a modal verb in English)
  7. Deeper dive into the modal verb “should - sollen

Day 20

Vocabulary topic of the day: giving and asking for directions

  1. Let’s start with this video by Deutsche Welle
  2. To expand our vocabulary - let’s go through this post on basic words and phrases
  3. Then we go through this list by the Rocket Languages
  4. Finally, let’s watch Anja’s video fully in German! (Turn on the subtitles)

Day 21: rest day

You worked hard, now, you should take some time off to let your brain sort things out. Feel free to watch some youtube videos or review your vocabulary, but doing nothing is just fine.

Day 22

Grammar topic of the day: Akkusativ (accusative case)

Let’s first go through this extensive post on Akkusativ

Next, we will watch a 3-part video series from Jenny that explains the Accusative case step-by-step:

And finally, to make sure you’ve grasped everything, I highly recommend watching this video, too.

Day 23

Vocabulary topic of the day: Essen und Trinken

  1. We’ll go through the basic vocabulary by watching this video
  2. Let’s now watch a video on the topic from Anja
  3. Easy German street interviews about favorite foods
  4. Easy German video about German breakfast
  5. Four mini-lessons based on the Nico’s weg series from Deutsche Welle that will introduce you to useful vocabulary in a fun way:

Pro tip #8: If you haven’t started yet, I recommend starting watching Nico’s weg on Deutsche Welle!

Day 24: rest day

You worked hard, now, you should take some time off to let your brain sort things out. Feel free to watch some youtube videos or review your vocabulary, but doing nothing is just fine.

Day 25

Grammar topic of the day: Dative case

  1. Let’s first watch in intro to Dative from the Learn German channel
  2. Now go through this post on Dative by Chutterbug
  3. Finally, to consolidate our understanding, we will watch a 7-part video set by Jenny:

Day 26

Vocabulary topic of the day: weather

4 videos for you to learn the necessary vocabulary to speak about the weather:

  1. Weather vocabulary  video from Anja
  2. Weather vocabulary video from Learn German
  3. Weather vocabulary video from GermanPod101
  4. Weather vocabulary video from Get Germanized
  5. That’s all you need! Don’t forget to memorize the new words with Heylama

Day 27: rest day

You worked hard, now, you should take some time off to let your brain sort things out. Feel free to watch some youtube videos or review your vocabulary, but doing nothing is just fine.

Day 28

Grammar topic of the day: German prepositions

Here is a definition of preposition by Lingoda: “a preposition will typically describe a movement or direction, a location or position, or some other relationship between the object and the rest of the sentence.” Examples of prepositions in English include with, at, from, by, on, in, etc.

  1. Let’s first familiarize ourselves with the prepositions
  2. A deeper dive into the prepositions that take the accusative case
  3. A deeper dive into the prepositions that take the dative case
  4. Two-way prepositions - prepositions that can take both accusative or dative depending on the context

Pro tip #7: Prepositions are key to being able to speak. If you don’t understand any specific preposition, google it and watch videos or read the explanations with examples.

Day 29

Vocabulary topic of the day: Meine Wohnung - my apartment

  1. We will start with a cool animated video
  2. More vocabulary on the topic (with English subtitles!)
  3. Four mini-lessons based on the Nico’s weg series from Deutsche Welle that will introduce you to useful vocabulary in a fun way:

Day 30

Final Test

You made it! Irrespective of the test results, you committed to learning German A1 in 30 days and made it so far - I’m very proud of you!

Scientists that study learning and education have proven that testing is one of the most effective ways of learning something in the long term. Today we will test your knowledge of A1. This test will help you find your blind spots, but if you followed the guide and did your homework, you should easily nail it. Good luck!

Link to the final test: German A1 test.

What's next?

What a ride - 30 days ago you didn't know how to introduce yourself, speak about the weather or describe your day in German. Now you are able to do all of that!

Depending on your preferences you have 3 options to keep learning German:

  1. Attend a language course - you can start from a more advanced German A1.2 or A2.1 level.
  2. Study with a tutor - platforms like iTalki or Preply will help you find affordable German language tutors. If you combine self-study and learning with a tutor, it's usually cheaper than attending a language course.
  3. Self-study - you can keep learning on your own! There are hundreds of resources out there to learn German on your own. For example, taking a course from Deutsche Welle would be a good next step.

Whatever you pick, don't give up and you will start speaking German confidently in no time.

Mach's gut 🙌
Sherzod

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