Ever wondered what’s behind this acronym: DAF? Read further

The test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (German as a foreign language), short-name testDAF, is one of the most recognized German language tests.

It is a centralized, standardized and not free language test and gives the possibility to a foreign student to be admitted into Germany’s higher education system (universities and Hochschulen).

For whom is the testDAF?

To be more precise, the testDAF is for all the students who:

  1. haven’t done a secondary school in Germany and
  2. want to study in a German university (or in a Hochschule) or
  3. want to continue in Germany a study started in a foreign country.

Other categories of people who can attend the testDAF are:

  • foreign students that need to demonstrate their proficiency with German in their country;
  • students that, within the scope of a student exchange program, at the end of their study program in Germany want to do a language test to prove their achieved proficiency with German;
  •  who needs a language test to get a job in a scientific/research field.

testDAF grading

The testDAF is made of these four components:

  • written comprehension
  • oral comprehension
  • text production
  • oral communication

Each of these is marked separately with one of the following levels:

  • testDAF level 3 (TDN 3) – worst
  • testDAF level 4 (TDN 4)
  • testDAF level 5 (TDN 5) – better

The final test result is not an average but it comprises the 4 levels achieved. This is different from other German language tests, where a single mark is given for the test. You can read about in my page German certificates.

If the result is not enough for the admission to the chosen university (because, for instance, you’ve got only a TDN3 in the oral communication) the test can be repeated many times until you get to the result needed.

The three levels of the testDAF correspond levels between B2 and C1 (there isn’t a 1:1 correspondence anyway):

The candidate is able to get an overview of the daily study subjects.
Scientific texts are still too difficult.
The candidate can summarize text regarding a subject he knows, possibly making errors that can compromise the comprehension of it.
Also during talking errors that can lead to misunderstandings are done.
The candidate is able to understand a text of some complexity, regarding either concrete and abstract subjects.
The candidate is able to communicate orally without doing errors that can compromise the intelligibility of the conversation.
He is able to lead a talk with a mother tongue, without preparing the conversation upfront and on different subjects.
The candidate is able to comprehend long and complicate text regarding different subjects discussed in deep details.
Implicit information, like speakers mind or irony, are understood by the candidate.
In the production of text, few errors are done, those anyway don’t compromise at all the comprehension of the text.
With speaking he is able to express himself fluently without preparing the conversation in advance and without the need to stop and think over the words to use.

Access to universities

What result is needed to enter a university depends on the university or faculty. My suggestion is to search directly on the university you are interested in what is the required level.

  • According to my research, with a testDAF level 3 one has access only at the University of Konstanz, in the faculty of physics, mathematics and financial mathematics.
  • Some universities require the testDAF level 3 to access the Studienkolleg. This has the purpose to fill the gap between student’s knowledge and minimum cultural and linguistic requirements for the admission at the university.
  • in the most universities, the testDAF level 4 in all the 4 disciplines is required for the admission.
  • the testDAF level 5 is required for some study or faculty where talk in German is a cornerstone, like for example German philology, Germanistics, Law.

Where to take the testDAF?

The testDAF can be done in one of the 450 authorized test locations in 95 countries in the world. Since it is a centralized test the result of the exam is verified directly from the testDAF-Institute and is this that issue the certificates, not the test location where the exam has been taken.

To find the closest test center search it on the official page of the testDAF-Institute, click here.

Test preparation course

If you need help to prepare the testDAF, I have long time experience in preparing students for all the German language test, so don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m in Munich and give private lessons of German, go to my contact page or send me an email to giulia@studio-navivo.it

And if you are not in Munich?

No problem, thanks to technology we can sit on opposite sides in the world and still communicate like we are in the same room, check out how.