Further information

Step by step: the exam sections

The TestDaF exam is a standardised, centrally created and centrally evaluated exam made up of four sections. Your language skills are assessed separately in the areas of reading, listening, writing and speaking and once your results have been calculated, you are awarded one of the three TestDaF levels (TDN) of 3, 4 or 5.
 

Reading comprehension

  • You will be asked to read some short texts about everyday university life, such as a section from a university prospectus, an overview of forthcoming events, or a brochure, and decide which text relates to which task.
  • You will be required to read a journalistic text (approx. 450–550 words) on a scientific or socio-political topic and answer multiple choice questions on this text.
  • You will be asked to tackle a text written using academic language (approx. 550–650 words) from a specialist or university publication and decide whether various statements are true or false or whether the text does not give any information on these statements.
Duration: 60 minutes

Listening comprehension

  • You will be asked to listen to a short dialogue about everyday university life, e.g. a conversation between two students, and simultaneously make notes on the questions asked.
  • You will be required to follow an interview or a discussion on a course-related or general academic topic and simultaneously decide whether statements about the audio recording are true or false.
  • You will be asked to listen to a presentation or an interview with an expert and provide short answers to questions focusing on its central ideas.
Duration: approx. 40 minutes

Written expression

  • You will be given a topic and asked to draft a logical and structured text with the help of questions that guide you and statistical data.
  • You will be required to take a stance on this topic and justify your point of view.
Duration: 60 minutes

Oral expression (computer-aided exam)

  • You will be confronted with seven tasks that put you in different situations that you are likely to face at a German university.
  • You will be asked to obtain information, describe images and diagrams and summarise their content. You will be expected to express and justify your opinion, take a stance, give advice, weigh up the alternatives and suggest hypotheses.
Duration: approx. 35 minutes

Requirements

The TestDaF is a language exam that determines whether candidates possess the language skills required to be authorised to study at a German university or institution of higher education. It is mainly intended for students and those interested in studying but also provides internationally recognised evidence that your knowledge of German is sufficient to complete scientific projects and enter academic professions.
  • The TestDaF classifies participants' language skills at the fourth/fifth level of competence (i.e. B2 and C1) laid down in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). In order to take the exam, your knowledge of German should therefore be at least equivalent to competence level B2.
  • Before registering for the exam, candidates should have already completed between 700 and 1,000 45-minute units of teaching in German. It is not necessary to provide evidence of your knowledge of German when registering for the exam.

Assessment

In the reading comprehension and listening comprehension exam sections, one point is awarded for each correctly completed task (e.g. multiple choice or true/false questions). The number of correctly solved tasks is used to assign you to a level. The written and oral expression exam sections are evaluated by trained and experienced examiners and a criteria grid is used to assess your work and assign you to a level. More detailed information is available at www.testdaf.de. You may retake the exam as often as you like.

Register for the TestDaF exam now!

You can register to take the TestDaF exam once you have a sufficient knowledge of German. Before taking the TestDaF exam, we recommend that you make yourself familiar with its contents. The best way of doing this is to attend the preparatory courses run by the Goethe-Institut or other test centres. These courses enable you to become acquainted with the format of the exam and how it works.

You can take the TestDaF exam around the world on six fixed dates each year. Please visit www.testdaf.de to register. Special dates apply in the People's Republic of China, where registration takes place at the National Education Examination Authority.

Candidates with disabilities should inform their chosen test centre of their specific needs at an early stage and present an up-to-date medical certificate so that the way in which the exam is administered can be adapted accordingly.

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