FAQs about the TestDaF: Your questions about the TestDaF - answered!
What is the pattern of the TestDaF? How can I prepare best for the TestDaF? How long is the TestDaF certificate valid? We've collected your questions about the TestDaF and here are the answers by the TestDaF institute!
by the editors
- 1. What is the pattern of the test?
- 2. What is the competence level of the TestDaF?
- 3. How expensive is the test and where can I take it if I'm not in Germany, but am planning to study there?
- 4. How can I prepare best for the TestDaF?
- 5. I don’t like revising on my own. Is there a TestDaF course or study group I could join?
- 6. If I don’t attend a preparatory course, how can I prepare for the oral part of the TestDaF?
- 7. How many times can I retake the TestDaF if I don’t pass the first time?
- 8. How long is the TestDaF certificate valid?
If you wish to study in Germany, you will have to take the TestDaF ("Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache") or another equivalent test to show that you have sufficient knowledge of German. Most German institutions of higher education, however, recognise the TestDaF as proof of German language proficiency.
The TestDaF is divided into four parts: Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. Together, the test assesses whether the candidate’s language skills meet the requirements for studying and researching at the university level. All tasks refer to various communicative situations in everyday university life. You can find more information about the structure and content of each part on the TestDaF website (in German).
TestDaF evaluates language ability at three levels: TDN 3, 4 and 5. These levels reflect the language proficiency necessary for studying at university. They are based on the levels B2 and C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The results of the test allow you and the institutions which you are applying to evaluate your language skills on an international basis.
The fee varies depending on the country where the test is administered. There are three country groups. Candidates who take the TestDaF in Germany, for example, have to pay 175 euros, while students in Argentina pay 130 and in Ethiopia only 90 euros. You can obtain more information when you register for the test online or at your test centre.
The TestDaF website tells you what you will be asked to do in each part of the test. You can also find information on how to improve your language skills.
As you prepare for the TestDaF, it is important to familiarise yourself with the test format. We recommend trying the sample tests 02 and 03 (“Modellsätze 02 & 03”) to get some practice. These are original TestDaF exam papers which you can download at no charge.
The TestDaF website also offers lots of helpful hints and reading materials to help you prepare for the test: http://www.testdaf.de/zielgruppen/fuer-teilnehmende/vorbereitung/trainingsmaterialien/ .
The best way to prepare for the TestDaF is to participate in a preparatory course. In the course, TestDaF examiners introduce you to the TestDaF format, provide coaching with original TestDaF items and help you improve your language skills.
Preparatory courses are offered at test centres, universities and Goethe-Institut locations. A complete list of institutions which offer preparatory courses, can be found on the TestDaF website.
You can also take a TestDaF preparatory course online. At “DUO – Deutsch-Uni Online”, experienced tutors can help you hone your writing and speaking skills with authentic TestDaF questions and let you take a mock exam. On the the DUO website you can book a preparatory course.
If you want to improve your speaking skills, you can practice by teaming up with a tandem partner online, for example, through an e-tandem programme.
Please keep in mind, however, that although tandems can help you improve your conversation skills with native speakers, they don’t really prepare you for the type of texts you will have to discuss at the TestDaF. If you are serious about preparing for the oral part of TestDaF, we highly recommend taking a preparatory course..
You can take the TestDaF as often as you want. If you don’t succeed the first time, we recommend waiting for a while before registering again to improve those linguistic skills that are not sufficiently developed yet.
The TestDaF certificate is valid indefinitely. But in fact, some universities require “recent” language certificates (TestDaF or others) which are no older than one, two or three years. Therefore, we recommend checking your university’s website if any restrictions to validity apply.
One more thing
If you are planning to take the TestDaF before applying to a German institution of higher education, be aware that it normally takes five to six weeks for your test results to come in. Therefore, if you wish to enrol at university in the winter term, you should take the test in February or April so that you don’t miss the application deadlines.