TESTDAF - Quick facts about the German Language Test
Germany as a country offers a vast variety of specialized courses. However, with many Universities offering these courses in the German Language, a pre-requisite for many applications to the universities in the qualifying score in either Test DAF or DSH – the two most famous German Proficiency tests available. This article aims at explaining to you the basics about TestDAF, its structure, key dates, grading pattern as well as information like the fee and the registration process you need to keep in mind before you take the exam.
Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (Test of German as a Foreign Language) is a standardized language test for learners of German. The certification provided rates a person on the B2 to C1 level of proficiency of the six-level scale of competence laid down in the Common European Framework of Reference and is accepted across universities in Germany, however, the proficiency level required might be different for different universities. Usually a 3 to 3.5-hour-long test, it is conducted at designated centres (given below) and assesses a person’s proficiency on 4 levels of reading, listening, writing and speaking.
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Registration and Test Schedule
The TestDaF is developed, corrected and managed in Germany by the TestDaF Institute and is offered in India by Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan with test centres across Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi and Pune only. The next test in India is scheduled on February 10, 2015, and the registrations are open for the same. The last date for registration is January 13, 2015.
The fee for the exam is €90.00 and can be only paid online www.testdaf.de.
Ideally, a person ought to have completed an intermediate level of the language which would amount to 700 – 1000 hours of the German language from a recognized institute.
The test is standardized hence same across various centres and is graded over 5 points across 4 parts making the grand total of 20. The acceptable TestDAF score across various universities is in the range of 16 – 18 and can be repeated any number of times. The four parts a person is graded/ tested on are:
- Reading Comprehension
The section is further divided into 3 parts across 60 minutes. In the first part, you are required to match 10 statements to the relevant 8 short paragraphs provided. Subsequently, the second part requires you to read a journalistic/ scientific text and answer 10 multiple-choice questions. Finally, you would be provided with a rather complicated scientific text/ paragraph and answer 10 questions in true/false or doesn’t belong to the text basis your understanding of the provided paragraph.
- Listening Comprehension
Like the Reading Comprehension, Listening Section is also divided into 3 parts over a time of 40 minutes. A short sound clipping which is fairly simple makes the first part and you are required to answer 8 questions briefly after listening to the clipping only once. The second clipping is a bit more complicates and is also played once. The second part consists of 10 True/False statements. The third part is the most complicates clipping but is played twice for your benefit. The part consists of 7 questions which have to be answered incoherent German. It is important to note the motive of the test is to assess how effectively you are able to comprehend German language and hence it is imperative to focus on the key pointers and not worry about the grammar in this section.
The third section aims at assessing your analytical abilities along with your ability to effectively describe the same. The 60-minute test requires you to write a paragraph on a given topic in 60 minutes. Mostly the section is based on graphical interpretation, meaning you would be given a graph and asked to write what you understand about it. This, however, is not necessary.
A computerized test, the test is about 30 minutes long and comprises of 7 subsections and you are required to speak on each of the topics for about 2 – 3 minutes. You are given 0.5 – 2 minutes of prep time before each part subsequent to which you are required to record your voice on the computer, part after another. Again, it is relevant to point here that TestDAF on a general rule does not assess your grammar. The focus is to assess whether you are able to form coherent statements, reason and answer in German with a certain proficiency. While grammar is an integral part of any language, it is believed that correct grammar is not a criterion to decide whether you are proficient in the language or not.
Grading and Result
The four parts, as already mentioned are equally weighed and graded on a 5 point scale with a total of 20 points. The same is then compiles in the result and certified you on three proficiency levels TDN 5 (TestDaF Level 5), TDN 4 (TestDaF Level 4), and TDN 3 (TestDaF Level 3) with 5 being the highest level of proficiency. Again, it is advisable to go through the university to understand the accepted level as an individual criterion may vary.
Other things one must keep in mind before writing the TestDAF is that the result is usually declared in 3 weeks’ time. So if you are planning to pursue a course in Germany, taking this test well in advance would help you in understanding your eligibility at different universities in Germany and also help your application process. Deciding to take the exam after applying for a particular university might not be the best way forward. In that case, a DSH Examination is usually available which are conducted by different Universities.
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