TestDAF vs DSH

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TestDAF vs DSH

Amongst the top study destinations offering free education to international students, Germany is home to many world-renowned universities that have nurtured some of the best thinkers, scientists and artists in the world. Known as the Land of Poets and Thinkers, the universities in Germany offer both English and German-taught programs across varied disciplines. For those planning to study in Germany, language proficiency exams are an essential part of the application. Amongst the popular German language tests, TestDAF and DSH are widely accepted by German universities. Students often face a dilemma in choosing between TestDAF vs DSH when applying to a university in Germany. If you are wondering which exam to go for between TestDAF vs DSH, this blog elaborates upon their key differences and similarities which will help you make an informed decision.

What is TestDAF?

Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (TestDAF) is a standardised test for evaluating proficiency in the German language for international students applying to programs fully or partially in German. Conducted by the TestDAF Institut in Germany, the test is 3 to 3.5 hours long in duration and is conducted across various centres in a number of countries around the world. It is one of the most popular german proficiency tests since it is accepted by universities all over Germany.

What is DSH?

Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH) is another popular German proficiency test accepted by various academic institutions in Germany. It is a non-standardised test conducted by German universities and is divided into two parts, i.e. written and oral, which are held on separate days. Students have to first qualify in the written exam and then can appear for the oral exam. The total score is determined by combining the results of the two sections.

TestDAF vs DSH: A Comparison

Here is a comparison of TestDAF vs DSH to help you understand the similarities and differences between these exams:

Criteria TestDAF DSH
Basis of Evaluation TestDaf assesses different language skills including reading comprehension, listening comprehension, oral and written proficiency. DSH evaluates the candidates on their oral and written proficiency in German.
Exam Centres The exam can be taken in different centres across more than 90 countries. The exam can only be taken in Germany.
Validity TestDAF is valid for an indefinite period of time. DSH is valid for two years after taking the exam.
Frequency The exam is held around 6 times in a year. The exam is held around 4 times in a year.
Fee The fee for appearing for the test is around 90 euros. The fee for appearing for the test is between 40 to 140 euros depending on the university.
Grading & Results There are 3 levels of grades in TestDad:
TDN 3TDN 4 TDN 5
There are 3 levels of grades in DSH:
DSH-1DSH-2 DSH-3
Minimum Scores Needed Students need a minimum score of TDN 4 or above to apply to German universities. TDN 3 is accepted in some technical colleges in Germany. Most universities accept DSH-2 and DSH-3 for admissions, while some technical colleges may consider admitting students with a DSH-1 score.
Number of Attempts Allowed You can attempt the test
multiple times to improve your scores.
Most universities offer only two chances to appear for this test.
Standardization There is a standardized pattern followed in every university The level of difficulty varies from University to University
Exam Pattern The test is divided into:
Listening
Reading
Writing
Speaking
The exam is conducted in 3-3.5 hours
The test is divided into two sections:
Written
Oral
The Written exam has 75% weightage
Grading Path You are graded across the paths so you can get better as you go You need to qualify at least 57% in each exam to qualify for DSH
Grammar Grammar is not a crucial part of the exam Grammar is important and is tested separately in the written exam

TestDAF vs DSH: Exam Pattern

The TestDAF contains four sections for the assessment.

  • Reading Comprehension has 3 reading texts with thirty questions for a duration of 60 minutes
  • Listening Comprehension has 3 listening tests with forty-five questions for a duration of 45 minutes
  • Written Production has 1 writing test for the duration of 60 minutes
  • Oral Production has 7 speaking questions that need to be answered in approximately 30 minutes

The DSH Exam contains two sections as:

  • Written Examination
    • Listening comprehension of 5500-7000 words accounting for 20% of your result with a duration of 60 mins
    • Reading Comprehension has a text of 60 lines with a graph included. This section will be accounting for 20% of your result with a duration of 60 mins.
    • Reading comprehension tests your grammatical knowledge and accounts for 10% of the test with a duration of 30 minutes
    • Text production requires you to write a text of around 250 words describing a given topic.  This section will be accounting for 20% of your result with a duration of 60 mins.
  • Oral Examination
  • You have to speak on a given extract for 20 minutes which will account for 30% of the test result.

TestDAF vs DSH: Which is Easier?

Now that you know about the basic similarities and differences between TestDAF vs DSH, you must be wondering which one is easier. Well, TestDAF is a standardised test i.e. it follows a fixed pattern of examination as the sections are specified. DSH, on the other hand, has varying difficulty levels depending on the university where you take the exam. This also means that you can choose to take your exam in a university where the difficulty level is lower, which will give you a better chance of scoring than the TestDAF, which has the same difficulty level across all centres. In terms of the skills tested, DSH is easier since it only tests the oral and written skills, while the TestDAF also assesses the reading and listening comprehension in addition to these two. So, between TestDAF vs DSH, the latter is easier to qualify.

TestDAF vs DSH: Which One to Choose?

Choosing between TestDAF vs DSH is difficult since both are popular options for proof of proficiency in German. If we view them in terms of costs, DSH has a comparative advantage since there are both high and low-cost versions of the test, while the TestDAF has a fixed cost.

On the other hand, TestDAF is accepted across all higher educational institutions in Germany, while DSH is accepted in most universities except a select few. So, the best option for you depends on the requirements of the university you are applying to as well as the level of proficiency you possess in the language. Thus, you must consider these two factors while deciding between TestDaf vs DSH. 

Hope this blog on TestDAF vs DSH was helpful in resolving your dilemma regarding which German proficiency test is a better option for you. Gearing up to apply to a university in Germany? Our Leverage Edu experts are here to guide you throughout the admission process, from crafting impressive SOP and LORs to ensuring that you send a winning application and land at your dream university! Sign up for a free consultation session with us today!

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2 comments
    1. HI Reeva

      You can take TestDaF in February or April if you want to start university in October. If you plan to start university in the summer, you can take TestDaF no later than November, better in September. The reason is that you will need the TestDaF certificate to enrol, and it can take the TestDaF Institut 6 to 8 weeks to send it out to you.
      The important thing is that the April exam is very popular and has a very early deadline for registration. So, you will have to register for that specific date prior to your arrival in Berlin.

      For any study abroad related queries, please get in touch with our experts through this number: 1800572000 or drop us a mail at hello@leverageedu.com.

      Team Leverage Edu

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