German language tests and certificates

German language tests

How well do you speak German? Are you accurately able to demonstrate your language skills? To study in Germany, foreign students usually need to get a language certificate to prove they are sufficiently fluent in German. Are you looking to better your odds of securing an internship in Berlin or a job in Zurich? Several German language tests allow you to assess your knowledge of business German. To make sure you have the right level of language proficiency, take a German exam!

Studying in Germany

Taking a language test is a requirement for almost all foreign students wishing to study in a higher education institution in Germany. If you have expat student insurance and a German language certificate, you are ready to study abroad!

TestDaf

TestDaf (Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache) is an advanced level exam (B1 to C1 levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for languages). A TestDaf certificate allows you to enroll in a German university. The exam can be taken in one of the 390 TestDaf centers in 80 different countries. Examination fees depend on the country.

What is the test format?
The exam lasts 3 hours and 10 minutes and is divided into four sections: reading comprehension (1 hour), listening comprehension (40 minutes), written production (1 hour) and oral production (30 minutes). Results are assigned to a level between 3 and 5: TDN 3, TDN 4 or TDN 5. A TDN 5 level means you have a very good knowledge of the German language.

DSH

DSH (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang) is an exam your host university in Germany will be organizing. If you have not yet assessed advanced language skills, DSH will be compulsory. Test fees vary from one institution to another.

What is the test format?
DSH contains five different sections: oral comprehension, written comprehension, written production academic language structures and oral production. There are three grading levels: DSH 1, DSH 2 and DSH 3. To be able to study in Germany, having reached level 2 or 3 is requested.

Working in an international environment

Would you like to land an internship or a job in a German-speaking country? Prove your skills in business German by taking the adequate language test.

Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf (ZDfB)

The Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf is a Goethe-Institut certificate which corresponds to CEFR B2 level. This test is designed to assess your ability to use German in the workplace. To take the exam, find the Goethe-Institut closest to you: there currently are 158 institutes in 93 different countries. Examination fees depend on which test center you register in.

What is the test format?
The exam is divided into two sections: a group written examination (160 minutes) and an oral individual examination (20 minutes).

WiDaf

The WiDaf test was developed by the French-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce to meet companies’ needs. The test now is available in over 237 centers in 17 different countries. WiDaf allows you to prove you are ready to use German in an international working environment. Examination fees depend on the country and on how quickly you wish to receive the test results.

What is the test format?
WiDaf test contains 150 vocabulary, grammar, written and oral comprehension multiple-choice questions. Test scores range between 0 and 990.

BULATS

BULATS (Business Language Testing Service) is used worldwide by individuals and companies to assess knowledge of business German. EUR60 is the average registration fee.

What is the test format?
The standard BULATS German test lasts 60 minutes and contains two sections: listening & reading and language knowledge. Test scores are on a scale of 1-100.

Finding out what your German language level is

Are you wondering how well you speak German? Why don’t you take one of the Goethe-Institut German language tests, which are recognized worldwide?

Goethe-Zertifikat: six exams & six levels

Each Goethe-Zertifikat is associated with one of the six CEFR levels. Certificates may be classified into three broad levels:

  • Goethe-Zertifikat A1 & Goethe-Zertifikat A2, basic user,
  • Goethe-Zertifikat B1 & Goethe-Zertifikat B2, independent user,
  • Goethe-Zertifikat C1 & Goethe-Zertifikat C2, proficient user.

These examinations can be taken in 93 countries, in a Goethe-Institut.

Exam format

  • Level A1 Goethe-Zertifikat tests: group written examination, group oral examination.
  • Level A2, B2 and C1 Goethe-Zertifikat tests: group written examination, oral examination held individually or in twos.
  • Level B1 Goethe-Zertifikat tests: group written examination, oral examination held in twos.
  • Level C2 Goethe-Zertifikat tests: group written examination, individual oral examination.
  • A minimum score of 60 is necessary to get a Goethe-Zertificat. Maximum possible score for all of these German language certificates is 100.

To find out more about German language tests:

Visit the Goethe-Institut website to learn more about each of the German examinations.

Date of publication Aug 13 2013

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