Examinations in the German Language

There are three levels of examination offered:
  • A2 –provides proof of German language profiency at the A2 level ( students age 13+)
    Provides career advantages when applying for jobs or vocational school in Germany.
  • DSD I – B1 provides proof of German language profiency required for admission to preparatory courses at so-called Studienkolleg at a German university.
    Our older (14+) and more advanced students might take the DSD I. The test is similar to an AP examination, except that the topics are geared towards younger audiences. Another difference is that the students have to give a short intelligent oral presentation about a topic of their choice in front of a BVA/ZfA approved representative. They will also have to answer pertinent questions quite fluently. Cultural competency has to be demonstrated throughout the examination. The written examination section is sent to Germany and graded there. The maximum point value is 96. Students need to receive 12/24 points on each of the four parts of the exam (listening comprehension/reading comprehension/oral communication and written communication) to receive the B1 diploma. If a student receives less than 12 points for one part, he/she may still get the A2 diploma.
  • DSD II (B2 / C1) provides proof of German language profiency required for admission to many institutions of higher education such as universities in Germany. DSD II assumes an excellent command of German with about 800 – 1200 hours of instruction. (Students age will be older than 16+.)
    DSD II is almost the equivalent of an Abitur Prüfung in German. It is more difficult than the AP. Students must do 2 oral presentations in front of the representatives from Germany (one prepared beforehand, one not). The students need to show mastery of the German language and culture. In addition, they need to show that they can understand and present difficult and controversial topics. An example could be “The development of the German social system.” Students must demonstrate critical thinking skills in their essay and in their oral presentations.
    DSD exam results do not expire.

How to Get Into a German University

Because many ask this question, I would like to end our overview with a very short summary of what it takes to get into a German university. This is by no means complete.

  1. You need to get an equivalency of a German Abitur, the very difficult high school exit exam (usually, a certain number of AP tests and SAT scores are required, plus 1 year of study at a 4-year institution – NOT a community college!)
  2. Your grades need to be good enough to get a place in a German university (Numerus Clausus: certain subjects require a certain overall GPA, SAT score, etc.)
  3. You need to show your mastery of the German language (AP German test, Goethe-Institut diplomas, DSD II)

A representative of the ZfA (Central Agency for Schools Abroad) referred us to the links below.

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