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Sprachkurs in Deutschland

Language tests and language certificates

Why do language schools conduct language tests?

Warum einen SprachtestLanguage courses and especially language trips to Germany are a good way to gain experience abroad in Germany and get to know the German culture. But of course the main goal of language courses is to improve your foreign language skills, for example to complete an internship abroad or a semester abroad in Germany or to have better chances on the German job market. Whether you need a certain level of competency for your studies at a German university or would like to improve your business language, there are special tests and certificates for all these areas.

In order to be able to demonstrate your abilities in as much detail as possible, language tests are standardized. These are often offered directly by the universities, but there are also numerous other institutes and centers. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). is now used to classify language levels throughout Europe. Proficiency levels range from A1 for beginners to C2 for experts. The levels are not only suitable for foreign languages, but for one’s native language as well.

Many language schools or institutes organize their language courses in such a way that they are aimed at a specific target group, the participants of which all share the same general language level. This not only ensures a pleasant, frustration-free learning experience, but also ensures that every student completes the final test with good results. Before you attend a language course , , you can take an online placement test to determine your current language level. You can then know which course is right for you or how to prepare for the course. You will find here an online version of a general German test.

To study at a German university you need to have very good command of the German language.

You should keep in mind that you will be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of German with a language certificate. Usually only 2 certificates are accepted: TestDaF (Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache or, in English, test for German as a foreign language) and DSH (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang or, in English, German language test for university/college admission).


TestDaFThe TestDaF is the most important language test for German, as it is recognized by most German universities and you, therefore, are on the safe side. The language assessment of the TestDaF is based on the CEFR, but, in order to pass the test, the participants must demonstrate a minimum level of B2, according to the CEFR, or level 3, according to the TestDaF. As a rule, however, German universities require level 4 as an admissions requirement when enrolling.
Due to this high level, examinations are carried out in the following areas:

  • reading comprehension
  • listening comprehension
  • Written expression
  • Oral expression

You can register online for the test on the TestDaF-homepage.

DSH (German language test for university/college admission)

DSH The DSH is aimed exclusively at foreign applicants for studies in Germany and is compulsory for enrollment into a university/college as long as you have not received a comparable certificate from the Goethe-Institut or the TestDaF.

For a semester abroad or summer course in Germany , during which you only spend part of your studies at a German university, you usually do not need a DSH certificate. If you have to re-learn German to study in Germany, it is particularly helpful to complete this course and receive the certificate , as you will also be tested for academic knowledge and language skills necessary for your studies.

There are also language courses that prepare you specifically for this language test. The examination consists to a large extent, as your studies, of written exercises/production and approx. 20% of listening comprehension tasks.

Most of the time you will have to take the test at your future university. The examination fees are determined by your university and range from 40 to 170 euro.

B1 Zertifikat German (Goethe-Institut)

Goethe B1 ZertifikatThe B1 certificate of the Goethe-Institut is one of the best-known German language tests and is, therefore, particularly well known and recognized. Although the B1 certificate is evaluated according to CEFR guidelines, it does not fulfill university/college admission requirements. Nevertheless, it can help you find a job in Germany during a summer course or Work and Travel trip.
As a language institute, the Goethe-Institut also offers language courses that prepare you for the exam in the following areas of competence:

  • reading comprehension
  • Vocabulary and grammar
  • Writing
  • speaking

You can take the exams in a Goethe-Institut test center as well as at various universities and language schools.

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