I fully believe that you can get through a DA course without using any other tools than what they provide. i’ve decided to buy a English to German & likewise German to English dictionary to help with the course A 2.1. Surprisingly I’ve been using this dictionary on a daily basis. It even helps out our class lectures, when our teacher has a hard time describing a complicated German word… she frequently asks me to quickly look up what the English translation is. I use it mostly at home to double check my spelling. I would say learning a new language you definitely want to good dictionary handy.
another cool tool I found in the shelves of the bookstore called Thalia, (Austrians Barnes & Noble’s), is a circle chart you can use to help translate verbs into different tenses. I think it’s a great help tool for beginners who are trying to understand the different ways Germans conjugate their verbs. although size as A limiting factor, it doesn’t give you all the answers like an online program would… but for quick glance it really is helpful. Best of all these tools I’ve been using were really not expensive at all. The dictionary was maybe six euros in the chart was five euros. since I’m already paying almost €300 for the DA course… its a great find.