DSH - German Language Proficiency Test for International Applicants

DSH - German Language Proficiency Test for International Applicants

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Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Apr 6, 2020 16:39 IST

Germany has traditionally attracted technical education aspirants from across the world due to its emphasis on engineering and applied as well as pure sciences. The country famous for its automotive and engineering design has excellent universities offering both graduate and post graduate level courses to international students across a variety of subjects. While the eligibility is in tune to other international universities, an added requisite by many universities is DSH - Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang, a University Level Language Proficiency Test. While it is mandatory for all the German Taught Courses, a university might still require you to have a basic grade in DSH to ensure better understanding and assimilation to the culture and ease of performance.

Registration and Test Schedule

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Being university specific, the examination is conducted by different universities as per their own internal schedule and is always advisable to concur with the respective university you are applying to in order to get a better understanding of the DSH guidelines, regulations and registration process. Usually, you write the exam at the University before the start of the semester you are required to join in. Though the exam is not standardized, many universities accept the DSH of other universities as well and can be checked at the time of application.


The exam fee for DSH varies from university to university and fall anywhere in the range of €40 - €140.


Like the TestDAF, DSH also caters to language proficiency of B2 C2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference and would ideally require an intermediate course study of German language of around 1000 hours. The examination is a certification and does not require any proof of prior certification as such.

Test Structure

Unlike the other famous language proficiency exam – TestDAF, DSH is not standardized and varies from University to University conducting it. However, across the various universities, the pattern of the exam remains essentially the same and include a Writing Part and an Oral Examination, both conducted and graded separately. The written part makes up for 75% of the test but both the scores are ultimately combined and your DSH certification given accordingly. While the result in both may vary, it is important to pass both the written and oral examination in order to qualify.

Written Examination

You are tested on the four essential components of language in the written part of the examination, namely listening, reading and writing. The test is divided into 3 or 4 parts (depending on the university) across 3 – 3.5 hours and requires you to answer multiple choice or true and false questions on basis of your listening, analyze a written paragraph, graphical interpretation and analysis as well as writing a small paragraph on any scientific topic. The Written examination would be divided across these three/ four components but the content and order may vary across universities. While TestDAF does not focus much on grammar, it would be wise to note here that many universities conducting DSH have a small portion of grammar and it makes up for an integral part of the assessment.

Oral Examination

Usually conducted a week after the written examination, it holds 25% weightage and tests you on your ability to speak and express yourself in the German language. Though it might vary, you are provided with a written text/ graph provided with a topic and given 15 – 20 minutes to prepare. The interviewer would then ask from you questions pertaining to the text/topic given to you.

Grading and Result

As mentioned above, DSH does not hold an equal weightage across its written and oral examinations, however, it is important for you to pass 2/3rd of the exam parts in order to qualify in each of the two. A grade is given to you on both and your grade decided ban y individual criterion of the university. Some universities might share only a passed and failed result while others might pick the minimum of the two. It is advised here to check the admission/ examination office of the university applied to in this case.

Irrespective of the manner in which you are marked, the certification is usually supplied on three levels, namely DSH 1, DSH 2 and DSH 3, with 3 being the highest. Ideally, DSH 3 is awarded if you have scored 82% and above in both the examinations across all parts whereas the cut off for DSH 2 is 67% and that for DSH 3 being 57%. While DSH 1 is considered passed, it might not be enough for you to qualify for the course and you might be asked to write the examination again. For many Language courses across Universities, DSH 1 might be the qualifying level as well.

At this point, it is important to note that many universities give you only two attempts at passing the DSH examination and the second exam may be available only at the beginning of the next semester. Also, it has been noted that the level of examination varies from university to university and if interchangeable DSH examination is acceptable at the University of your Choice, it might help to figure out the university which offers a cheaper/ easier option. You can even choose to write a TestDAF instead of a DSH which is usually acceptable at various universities.

About the Author
Written by
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

Rahul Singha is a seasoned editor with Shiksha Study Abroad, specializing in overseas education. With over 8 years of domain experience, he has made a significant impact in contributing to the study abroad industry ... Read Full Bio

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Expert in France & Germany

Sagar Sharma completed his Bachelor of Business Administration from Uttarakhand Technical University, Dehradun with first class in 2015. He has been employed in the education sector for the past five years. Having w... Read Full Bio

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