Just so you can understand more in few words, I am adding my answer.
Like @Veredomon said, people in Germany are not all the same in speaking.
There are communities for talking, as well as in every other place on earth, people have their own circles where the people in the academic field talk just another language than those in the restaurants or bars.
Perfekt ist the form of talking about something in the near past, in Germany you will hear in like all the time, almost everywhere.
The perfekt in German uses the verb "have" (haben) and "be" (sein) according to the verb that is being used to express the past.
- For example, "eating" (essen) will be used with "have" (haben): (ich habe gegessen).
- while verb like "going" (gehen) will be used with "be" (sein): ich bin gegangen.
There is also the rule: if there is
movement/state-changing/(exception) -> (sein), otherwise it is always
When talking about something happened in the far past, here it comes to the Präteritum. Now the same examples are going to look like:
- ich aß
- ich ging
But you would most probably see the Präteritum used in the written text rather than hearing it, except for few verbs that are OK to speak in Präteritum even for something happened in the near past.