How to get a German language certification?
The German language, Deutsch, is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Italian province of South Tyrol. It is also a co-official language of Luxembourg, Belgium and parts of southwestern Poland, as well as a national language in Namibia. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language after English. German is also widely taught as a foreign language, especially in Europe, where it is the third-most taught foreign language after English and French, and the United States. One of the major languages of the world, German is a native language to almost 100 million people worldwide and is spoken by a total of over 130 million people. It is the most spoken native language within the European Union.
German Language Certification : The Goethe-Zertifikat B1
The German proficiency test is an international standardized test that assesses German proficiency, for non-native language German speakers.
The Goethe-Zertifikat B1 is a German test for both young and old individuals. It assesses skill at the level comparable to B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale. It confirms that successful applicants are independent users of the German language, with knowledge/proficiency corresponding to the third level (B1) on the six-level competence scale outlined in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
Passing this test indicates that you can:
- Comprehend the major points of information in discussions and texts about familiar topics such as job, school, and leisure time, and so on.
- When straightforward, standard language is employed, it is possible to cope with the majority of issues faced when travelling in German-speaking nations.
- When discussing known themes and areas of personal interest, explain oneself clearly and coherently.
- Report on events and experiences, explain dreams, hopes, and objectives, and offer brief comments and explanations.
Some institutions, such as the Goethe-Institut, have changed the name of this test to Goethe-Zertifikat B1 since May 2013, although others continue to use the old name. The Goethe-Institut also provides the Goethe-Zertifikat B1 in digital format in several locations. The Zertifikat Deutsch was developed in conjunction with the Goethe Institute, the Austriaisches Sprachdiplom (SD), the Schweizer Erziehungsdirektorenkonferenz (EDK), and WBT Weiterbildungs-Testsysteme gGmbH, subsequently renamed telc GmbH. (i.e.The European Language Certificates).
In India, the Zertifikat Deutsch test is administered by the Goethe-Institut or Max Mueller Bhavan in 6 locations: Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Pune. In collaboration with Goethe-Institut, Goethe-Zertifikat also administers the Zertifikat test in Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, and Trivandrum.
The test is held 5 to 6 times a year, and the exam cost is determined by the level you choose. In general, it ranges from Rs 6,000 to 11,000 in India.
Candidates generally require between 300 and 600 hours of German training to achieve the requisite proficiency to pass the Zertifikat Deutsch test.
German Language Certification :TestDaF
Other than the Goethe-Zertifikat, TestDaF and DSH are the other most famous German Proficiency tests available for German learners. Today I will try and describe the fundamentals of TestDaF and DSH, including their structure, important dates, grading system, and information such as the price and registration procedure that you should be aware of before taking the test.
These tests are equivalent to TOEFL which is a proficiency test for the English language.
Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (Test of German as a Foreign Language) is a standardized language test for learners of German.
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is a global standard for describing language proficiency. It assigns a six-point scale to language competence, ranging from A1 for novices to C2 for those who have mastered a language. This allows anybody involved in language education and testing, such as instructors or students, to quickly determine the degree of various credentials. It also implies that companies and educational institutions will be able to readily compare our credentials to those of other tests in their country.
The TestDaF certification ranks a person on the B2 to C1 level of competency on the six-level competence scale given forth in the Common European Framework of Reference and is recognised throughout German universities; however, the proficiency level required may vary by university. It is typically a 3 to 3.5-hour-long test that is administered at authorised centres (see below) and evaluates a person’s competency on four levels of reading, listening, writing, and speaking.
Registration and Test Schedule
The TestDaF is produced, revised, and maintained in Germany by the TestDaF Institute, and is exclusively available in India through Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, having test centres in Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Coimbatore, and Pune. Learners might search the TestDaF website for dates to register and take the test. It is presently provided six times a year in about 450 test sites across 90 countries.
The exam cost is determined by which of the three nation groups you represent! Candidates in Germany, for example, must pay 175 euros for the TestDaF, but students in Argentina pay 130 euros and Ethiopia only 90 euros. More information is available when you register for the exam, either online or at your test centre. The cost is only payable online at www.testdaf.de. The test cost for 2021 is 100 Euro, which is about Rs. 8500 in India.
A person should ideally have completed an intermediate level of the language, which equates to 700 – 1000 hours of German language study at a certified institute.
The exam is standardised, so it is the same across different centres, and it is evaluated over 5 points throughout 4 portions, for a grand total of 20. The admissible TestDaF score at various institutions is between 16 and 18, and it can be repeated an unlimited number of times. The four components on which a person is graded/tested are as follows:
The segment is then broken into three parts, each lasting 60 minutes. In the first section, you must match 10 assertions to the corresponding 8 short paragraphs. Following that, you must read a journalistic/scientific piece and answer 10 multiple-choice questions in the second portion. Finally, you will be given a pretty complex scientific text/paragraph and asked to answer 10 questions in true/false or does not belong to the text based on your comprehension of the presented paragraph.
The Listening Section, like the Reading Comprehension, is broken into three portions lasting 40 minutes. The first portion consists of a short sound clipping that is pretty easy, and you are asked to answer 8 questions swiftly after simply listening to the clipping once. The second clipping is slightly more difficult and is likewise played only once. The second section has ten True/False statements. The third clipping is the most difficult, however, it is played twice for your convenience. The section comprises of seven questions that must be answered in nonsensical German. It is crucial to remember that the purpose of the test is to determine how well you understand the German language, therefore it is essential to focus on the key pointers and not worry about the grammar in this section.
The final portion assesses your analytical talents as well as your ability to properly express them. The 60-minute test challenges you to compose a paragraph in 60 minutes on a specified topic. The part is mostly focused on graphical interpretation, which means you will be given a graph and asked to write down what you understand about it. This, however, is not required.
A computerised test, the test lasts around 30 minutes and is divided into 7 subsections, with you needing to talk for approximately 2 – 3 minutes on each of the topics. You are given 0.5 – 2 minutes of prep time before each segment, following which you must record your voice on the computer, one after the other. Again, it is important to note that TestDAF, as a general rule, does not evaluate your grammar. The goal is to see if you can construct logical sentences, reason, and respond in German with a specific level of skill. While grammar is an essential component of every language, it is widely held that perfect grammar is not a criterion for determining proficiency in the language or not.
Grading and Result
As previously stated, the four sections are equally weighted and scored on a 5-point scale for a total of 20 points. The information is then collated and certified on three competence levels: TDN 5 (TestDaF Degree 5), TDN 4 (TestDaF Level 4), and TDN 3 (TestDaF Level 3), with 5 being the greatest level of competency. Again, it is best to consult with a university to understand the approved level, since an individual criterion may differ.
Another thing to bear in mind before writing the TestDAF is that the results are generally announced in three weeks. So, if you want to study in Germany, completing this test well in advance can help you understand your eligibility at different universities in Germany and also help your application process.
The TestDaF certificate is valid indefinitely. But in fact, some universities require “recent” language certificates (TestDaF or others) which are no older than 1, 2 or 3 years.
German Language Certification : DSH
If you find yourself in a position where you have to take the test after applying to a German institution, which isn’t always the best option, you can take a DSH Examination, which is generally held by various universities.
The Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (German for German language examination for university entrance, DSH for short, as it is called) is a language proficiency test required for entry to a German university and to undertake all classes in the German language.
It comprises of a written and an oral examination, with the written portion serving as a prerequisite for the oral portion. Students can retake the test as many times as they wish, and they can utilise a German–German dictionary during the written exams. DSH has a grading scale of 1–3, with 3 being the highest attainable grade. The certificate will also provide a thorough analysis of the percentile attained in each section of the examination.
Levels of competence according to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR):
DSH 1 (≥57%): Level B2
DSH 2 (≥67%): Level C1
DSH 3 (≥82%): Level C2
It is made up of the following components:
Hearing comprehension and linguistic use from a listening text
Reading comprehension and linguistic use from a reading text
Language comprehension and application in academic language
The oral examination usually lasts around 20 minutes. Some universities provide the option of exonerating the oral test by performing very well on the written examination.
The following points will be evaluated during the oral examination:
Is the language you’re using appropriate for the question/assignment?
Are you able to express yourself independently and with a distinct point of view?
Is the language you’re speaking, correct?
Are your intonation and pronunciation understandable?
The DSH certificate is indefinitely valid. However, colleges and authorities frequently need a certificate that is no more than two years old. Please keep in mind that the DSH is only offered in German universities, therefore you may only take it there.
These certification programmes enable candidates to get direct admission to any German institution without taking an entrance exam. They also make it simple for students to find work.
After learning German from a certified institute, you may sit for these exams, pass them, and obtain the level applicable certification. Aside from the tests listed above, the following three also measure a learner’s ability to speak German fluently:
- TELC Gmbh, which stands for The European Language Certification, collaborates with Germany’s Federal Government to assess a learner’s German skills (Deutsch). ÖSD – Österreichisches Sprachdiplom Deutsch, the Austrian German Language Diploma examination approved by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Education, Science, and Cultural Affairs, evaluates German as a foreign and second language for students.
- ÖIF (Österreichische Integrationsfonds) that administers German examinations for various skill levels throughout Austria, as well as evaluating immigrants with less than A2 level German language competence.
There are many German certifications – but which one do you want?
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