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Tests for Studying in Germany - TestDAF, DSH, IELTS, TOEFL

Risha Sinha Risha Sinha
Content Curator

Every university around the world tests you on two basic parameters - language proficiency and aptitude for the desired course. Universities in Germany are no different. While the aptitude tests usually differ for undergraduate and postgraduate levels, the language requirements remain the same.

Language Proficiency Tests for Studying in Germany

German language tests 

The medium of instruction of most degree programs at German universities is German. Hence, you need to prove your proficiency in the German language to be admitted to the university.

German universities often accept either of the two German language tests - Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (Test of German as a Foreign Language or TestDAF) or Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH)


  • A language proficiency test for the German language conducted by TestDAF Institute, Germany.
  • Lifelong validity
  • Accepted by all institutions of higher education in Germany.
  • Can be taken in your home country before arriving in Germany.
  • Conducted in Germany and nearly 100 other countries six times a year and in China, three times a year.
  • Visit for information on testing centers, dates, fees, and application procedures

Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang or DSH

  • DSH is a language proficiency test for the German language which accepted by most German universities.
  • Can only be taken in Germany.


  • Students participating in international degree programs and special postgraduate programs
  • Many universities do not ask for TestDAF or DSH scores from students intending to study there for one or two semesters. This rule does not apply everywhere. Hence, enquire about the specific language requirements at your prospective university.
  • If you have received any one of the following:
  1. Abitur from a German-language school
  2. “Goethe Zertifikat C2: Major German Language Certificate”
  3. “telc Deutsch C1 Hochschule” examination
  4. German Language Diploma (Level 2) from the German Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Culture

English language test 

A total of 1,104 international courses at undergraduate and graduate levels are taught in English. It is mandatory for non-native English speakers to take English language tests if they are applying for an English-taught course.

Universities in Germany usually accept all or one of the following English language proficiency tests.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

  • IELTS is conducted by the University of Cambridge – Local Examination Syndicate
  • Accepted in over 110 countries as a proficiency test for the English language. The exam is divided into four sections, namely listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
  • Minimum IELTS score required at Germany universities: 6.5/9

Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) 

  • TOEFL is organized and conducted by Educational Testing Services (ETS), USA.
  • The aim of the test is to check the ability of a person to understand and communicate in standard North American English. The tests, like IELTS, tests you on spoken, written and listening skills and is also widely accepted.
  • Minimum acceptable TOEFL score at Germany universities: 71

Other tests like Pearson Tests of English (PTE) are also widely accepted. While most universities often accept the scores of any proficiency tests, some may require a specific test. Therefore, it is always recommended to check the tests required for your prospective university.


You can study in Germany without IELTS or TOEFL:

  • If you hold a bachelor’s degree in English as the medium of instruction
  • If your native language is English.
  • Some universities just need a letter from the student’s previous educational institution to determine proficiency in English.
  • Some courses such as English Philology do not need you to qualify English language tests while others do.

Aptitude tests to study in Germany

Entrance tests for undergraduate courses

Germany gives a lot of significance to academic and scholastic aptitude and it settles for nothing but the best. The bar for entrance exams is quite high.

  • No standardized test is there for admissions to undergraduates courses.
  • Scores must meet the requirements of the universities in Germany.
  • Eligibility requirement for UG courses in Germany: Students are required to be at par with the German equivalent of a Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB) - a university entrance test.

Feststellungsprüfung (FSP) 

  • A subject-specific aptitude test for higher education given by a university in Germany before being accepted to study in the country.
  • Can be taken immediately or after the end of the yearlong preparatory course conducted by Studienkolleg.
  • Demonstrates your aptitude without undertaking a yearlong preparatory course.
  • Level of FSP - Not very hard
  • Conducted twice a year - before every winter and summer semester
  • Not mandatory but qualifying an external FSP can increase a student’s chances.
  • Basically, you can opt to
  • Since these exams are conducted by individual universities, dates and specifications vary.


  • Students who have completed 12 years of secondary school and meet the requirements to apply to a university their home country.
  • If they have qualified the higher education entrance exam required in their country with a decent grade.
  • If they have completed one year of higher education in their country.
  • If they have been awarded either a literature or science baccalaureate.

Entrance tests for postgraduate courses 

Like in the case on undergraduate courses, before we understand the tests, understanding the course structure for PG courses as well as the eligibility requirement for postgraduate degree programs in Germany is extremely important.

Tests accepted at German universities and business schools

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) 

  • GRE is accepted worldwide as a measure of aptitude for postgraduate courses.
  • Valid in German universities.
  • While universities accept GRE, they might require you to take a subject test as well.
  • A minimum GRE score of 300-310 plus

Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) 

  • GMAT is globally accepted for postgraduate courses in management, business, or finance.
  • Valid in German universities for business or MBA programs.
  • Minimum GMAT score: 600
  • Some universities in Germany require a GRE instead of a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) for admission to MBA programs.

Note: Universities in Germany follow their own schedules. You must first confirm with the respective university about the test requirements before you start preparing for them.

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