Language Requirements

Most courses in Germany require proof of German competency before admission. The following is a list of examinations and requirements needed for entrance into most* German universities:

  • TestDaF, with at least 4 points for each component;
  • DSH 2
  • German „Sprachdiplom“ of the „Kultusministerkonferenz“ (DSD II);
  • Goethe-Certificate C2: „Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom“
  • Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung (ZOP)“ of the Goethe-Institute passed at an Goethe-Institute before January, 1st 2012
  • “Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom” or “Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom” awarded by the Goethe-Institute before January, 1st 2012
Most Singaporeans take the DSH examination in Germany, or the TestDAF which can be done in Singapore. A short overview on both exams are as follows:
DSH stands for Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang, which means the German language exam for university entrance. This exam is usually done at a university at the end of September (just before the Winter semester starts) and universities generally offer a preparation course in September. Students at private language schools may also register to take this exam if the school offers this option.

The exam consists of two parts – the written and the oral components. The written paper assesses your listening, comprehension and writing skills while the oral exam focuses on your ability to express your opinions. The oral exam lasts about 20 minutes and can be conducted alone or in groups of two or three. You will be given a text or picture as an introduction to the topic, to which you have to answer questions posed by the examiners and discuss your views.

In terms of results, you can achieve a grade of DSH1, DSH2 or DSH3. With at least 67% in both the written and oral components you would have achieved DSH2, with which you can be admitted into a German university. With at least 82% in both components, you would attain a DSH3 grade. For more information, please check with the respective universities you are intending to apply to.

TestDAF stands for Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (Test of German as a foreign language). It can be taken at language schools (also outside of Germany), and is a standardised exam with a certificate that is recognised not just by universities but generally as a proof of German proficiency.

The exam consists of four parts – listening, comprehension, writing, and oral – which are conducted separately but on the same day. The oral component differs here from DSH, in that you are given six or seven tasks with pictures or descriptions, and some time (ranging from 15 seconds to one and a half minutes) to think about what you want to say, after which you would record your response on a cassette tape which would be sent to a central agency for marking.

There are also three grades attainable for TestDAF – ‘3’, ‘4’ and ‘5’. A grade of at least ‘4’ in all four components covers the language requirement for entrance into all German universities, i.e. the language proficiency results do not play a further role in your application. Should you have a grade of ‘3’ in any component, you may still apply and be accepted, depending on the course and university.

For more information on when to do the TestDAF, please see the TestDAF website or the following link for the English writeup. Click here to understand the difference between TestDAF and the DSH (Available only in German)!

Finally decided to come to Germany to study, but don’t speak the language? Fret not! Find out where you can learn German, both in Singapore and in Germany!

*Please always check with the International Admissions department of your university, as language requirements can differ for different majors and institutions!