Yeah, languages are a huge passion of mine, on its own and it also ties together with my other passions as well, history, food and wine, traveling and a few other things as well.
I have never taken these sorts of tests before. There are some online tests but as far as I know none of them are considered official, they will only give a general idea of your level. Some languages have prestigious language institutes that offer real certified certifications that are valid in say job interviews.
To name a few there is Institution de Cervantes (for Spanish), L’alliance Française (for French), Goethe institute (for German), then for lesser studied languages there is some sort of EU based organisation that offers languages tests for languages like Bulgarian or Dutch and so on. My reasons for getting these sorts of certificates are largely based on ego, I feel it is good to have the certificates since talk is cheap and proof is in the pudding.
The way I plan to prepare myself for the tests is to scour through meticulously a few comprehensive grammar books in the target languages and write down every grammar rule down with examples in a word document.
Essentially, I am building own personalized grammar books, it sounds crazy and to an extent it probably is but I love grammar and my ultimate goal is to become sort of “amateur linguist (in the academic sense)”.
The benefit is that I will have all the rules in one place no matter how minuscule or seemingly nit-picky.
It has taken up a lot of time but when I do it in small outburst of sessions it is significantly more efficient. Once I have gotten this project done, I will proceed to listen to lots of podcasts, watch “TV” (YouTube/news channel streams), read, essentially just enjoy and the fruits of my labor.
If there is something, I am unsure of (in terms of grammar), I know exactly where to find the information within a few seconds. I will probably have to look up lots of idioms and phrases but that is quite fun. It is like owning your own business “you work hard at first so that you can take it easy further down the line” (at least the ideal scenario). Again, like owning a business, this method is not suitable for everyone and I have specifically tailored it to my strengths.
I am not only interested in languages themselves but also in linguistics and I like finding out what do different languages from languages families have in common and what separates them. So that is another advantage to have grammar rules in a uniformal way indexed, where it is easy to directly compare.