Examination TestDaF

Questions and answers according the TestDaF

What is the TestDaF?
The TestDaF is a language examination for foreign learners of the German language who would like to study in Germany or who need an accepted certificate of their language skills. The examination TestDaF is centrally developed and evaluated by the TestDaF institute in Hagen and conducted at licensed test centres in around 80 countries worldwide. All examination participants receive the same tasks. The examination performance is evaluated by trained revisers. The examination results are correlated to one of three grades: TestDaF level 5 (TDN 5), TestDaF level 4 (TDN 4) and
TestDaF level 3 (TDN 3). In the Common European Framework for languages of the Council of Europe, these comply with the levels B 2.1 to C1.2

What level is needed for the approval to the university / technical college?
If in each examination part at least TDN4 is reached, linguistically nothing is to be said against your university studies in Germany (certainly, you also have to fulfil all other specialist and legal requirements). If your performance is evaluated with TDN 5 you are very well skilled in the German language. These skills are above the level you need for the start of university studies. In some universities in Germany you will also be accepted with results lower than TDN 4 in all parts of the examination for some courses of study. Every university has its own registration decree. Please inquire prior to the application for a university place which TestDaF results are required at the university or in your field of choice. Some universities also indicate their requirements on their websites. Information regarding university studies in Germany and addresses of universities can be found on the following web addresses:





Who can attend the TestDaF?
Participants of the examination TestDaF should already have completed around 700 to 1,000 lessons of German language (approximately complies with level B2/C1) prior to the application. However, a certificate of the German language skills is not necessary for the application for the examination.

The examination TestDaF makes sense, if you

  • would like your skills to be tested in a sophisticated form.
  • would like to study in Germany.
  • need an accepted certificate of your German language skills, e.g. for further studies, for scientific projects or academic jobs in the home country.

What advantages does the TestDaF offer you?
The TestDaF certificate is accepted by all universities in Germany. If you reached TDN 4 in all four parts of the examination, you are allowed to study at any German university provided that the university of your choice accepts all your other application documents. It is to the discretion of the universities to accept results lower than TDN 4 and to allow acceptance according to the field of study, course of study or duration of study. All contents and tasks of the TestDaF refer to the areas science, university and studies. With the TestDaF the linguistic skills that are necessary and important for university studies are tested. The four skills reading comprehension, listening comprehension, written expression and oral expression are tested separately. Therefore, on the certificate four partial results are stated. In this way you will get an exact idea where are your strengths and weaknesses. You may take the examination TestDaF in your home country. So, you do not necessarily have to travel to Germany first in order to take part in the examination. The TestDaF certificate will be sent to your address so that you are able to arrange all documents that are needed for the application at a German university prior to the journey to Germany. The TestDaF certificate has unlimited validity. If you are not completely satisfied after an examination and would like to reach a better result, the TestDaF can certainly be repeated – as often as you like.

Where does the examination TestDaF take place?
You may take the examination at a licensed test centre in your home country or in one of the 150 test centres in Germany. A list of all licensed test centres in Germany is available in the IDaF secretariat. If you would like to take the examination in Düsseldorf, IDaF will pe pleased to assist with the application in one of the following 4 test centres of our city.

  • Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf
  • Goethe-Institute Düsseldorf
  • Institute for International Communication, Düsseldorf
  • Sprachforum Heinrich Heine, Düsseldorf


When does the next examination TestDaF take place?
The examination simultaneously takes place in all test centres several times a year. Here, you find the official dates for 2014:

Examination TestDaF time for applications
September 11, 2014 July 17, 2014 – August 14, 2014
November 13, 2014 September 18, 2014 – October 16, 2014
February 10, 2015 November 18, 2014 – January 13, 2015
April 22, 2015 February 25, 2015 – March 25, 2015
June 09, 2015 April 14, 2015 – May 12, 2015
July 15, 2015 May 20, 2015 – June 17, 2015
September 10, 2015 July 16, 2015 – August 13, 2015
November 19, 2015 September 24, 2015 – October 22, 2015


For the TestDaF you have to pay an examination fee. As this is different in every country, please inquire the exact price in the IDaF secretariat or your test centre.

How and when do I have to register for the TestDaF?
You have to register in writing at the test centre of your choice. IDaF will be pleased to help with this. You will receive the application form in the IDaF secretariat or in your test centre. You may also download it from the website www.testdaf.de and hand it in to the test centre of your choice together with the “Rules for participants of examinations”. The deadline is terminated by the test centres. It is approximately four to six weeks prior to the examination date. You may unsubscribe until the closing date stated by the TestDaF institute (last day prior to the closing date) if you can’t make it to the examination date. When unsubscribing prior to the closing date you receive back your examination fee. However, the test centre is allowed to keep back up to 20 % of the examination fee. If you unsubscribe after the closing date you will not receive back your examination fee.

How can I prepare for the examination TestDaF?

How does the examination TestDaF look like?
All topics and tasks of this examination are concerned with the field of the university. The examination takes 3 hours and 10 minutes (without breaks) and consists of four parts:

Reading comprehension Listening Written expression Verbal expression
3 texts testing reading skills with a total of 30 items 3 texts testing hearing skills with a total of 25 items 1 task testing writing skills 7 tasks testing speaking skills


1. Reading comprehension Handling time 60 minutes
In this part of the examination, you are supposed to demonstrate that you are able to understand reading texts that are thematically and linguistically related to university studies. You are supposed to deal with tasks that require understanding of context and details as well as not directly expressed information. There are 3 texts testing reading skills. These texts are of different difficulty, have different types of task and belong to different kinds of text (short texts from the normal study life, journalistic texts and articles from a professional journal).

2. Listening comprehension: Handling time 40 minutes
In this part of the examination, you are supposed to demonstrate that you are able to understand hearing texts that are thematically and linguistically related to university studies. There are three hearing texts: a dialogue from the everyday life at a university, a radio interview with three to four partners and a speech or an interview with an expert. These texts are of different difficulty and have different types of tasks. In these tasks, it is a matter of understanding of context and details as well as not directly expressed information.

3. Written expression Handling time 60 minutes
In this part of the examination, you are supposed to demonstrate that you are able to compose a coherent and clearly arranged text on a certain topic. In the first paragraph of the text you are supposed to describe statistical data of a chart or table. In the second paragraph you are supposed to comment on a question for discussion.

4. Verbal expression Handling time 30 minutes
In this part of the examination, you are supposed to demonstrate that you are able to linguistically handle different situations at the university. This part of the examination consists of seven tasks that are of different difficulty. Different situations from the German university life are presented in which you are supposed to react: For example a conversation between students, describing a chart in a seminar, comment on a topic or form hypotheses. These tasks in the examination part “oral expression”, you will hear from a cassette or a CD. At the same time, you may read along in the task book. You will speak your answers onto the cassette or CD.

How do I find out the examination result?
Six weeks following the examination, the test centre at which you took the examination will send the certificate with the results to your address. On the back of your certificate you will find a description of the performance features for every part of the examination. This allows you to exactly grade your linguistic skills.


We hope that the basic questions regarding the TestDaF could be answered with this short information.

IDaF will be pleased to help you to systematically prepare for the examination TestDaF.

We wish you a successful examination and would be pleased if your wish to study in Germany comes true soon!

Your IDaF team