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TestDaf or DSH? Which German language certificate is eligible for one to study in Germany?

Do you want to study at a German university? Would you like to know which certificate you might require?  Foreign students have to certify a good level of German if they want to be admitted into a German university,  so inform yourself well before travelling! 

The most current certificates of proficiency include the DSH (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang ausländischer Studienbewerber) and the TestDaf (Test für Deutsch als Fremdsprache) certificates for German as a foreign language. Both are equally recognised.


If you apply for a course which is taught in German, you will have to prove that you know enough of the language. It really depends on the university which one of both examinations you will have to complete. Therefore, we recommend you to call them and ask directly before enrolling yourself in any preparatory course. Most German universities have an international department, you can find all the information on the university’s website. If you took the examination of the Goethe Institut (C2 GDS), there is no need to take any of the other examinations (TestDaF and DSH), since the Goethe-Zertifikat also certifies you to study at a German institution. The same case applies if you studied at a German school abroad and passed the German Abitur (like other German students here), you will not need to pass any extra examination if this is your case.

Regardless of what you study, you are advised to have a command of German corresponding to level B2. That will help you to make yourself understood without anyone else's help, whether out shopping, at the foreign registration office or at the doctor. Moreover, it will make it easier to have a social life and will raise your career prospects if you stay on in Germany. If you want to take a German exam while still in your home country, you can do so in one of the 158 Goethe Institutes worldwide, for example.  >> German Courses at the Goethe Insitut in Kenya.

DSH - "Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang"

The full name of the certification is Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH). The level is quite advanced, so if you have not studied at a German school, it is better to attend a special DSH course. The preparatory course will also give you an insight into some “tricks” to get more points in the examination. This will assure your pass! This examination proves that your level of German is advanced enough to complete all the courses in university. Here is a DSH sample exam (with Answers).   The official site is

TestDaF - Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache

The full name is Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (TestDaF) and, like the DSH, it is an advanced and international language certification for the academic context. This examination can be taken in 96 countries (please find a list of test centers worldwide here), not only in Germany. It normally requires at least 700 hours of German class (but you do not have to prove it) although we recommend to attend at least 1.000 hours. To be admmited into a university programme, you will have to pass the TestDaF-Niveaustufe 4 (*) and you can enroll in this examination in your country of origin (or in one of the official centers). The Common European Framework of Languages of Europe informs that TestDaF meets the competency levels of B2 to C1. The TestDaF Institute verifies the quality standards, therefore all students receive the same tasks.

Find more information on TestDaF website. +Link

DUO - Deutsch-Uni Online

The Deutsch-Uni Online is a webportal for learning German! DUO is the perfect solution, if you want to improve your knowledge of German and prepare for your stay in Germany. If you wish to study, research, or work in a German-speaking country, the DUO German courses offer all the knowledge necessary – covering language, knowledge about culture and everyday life, and subject-specific skills.

To the DUO Courses:

  • Basic Level (basis-deutsch): language courses for acquiring basic knowledge of German
  • Intermediate Level (uni-deutsch): German courses as a preparation for your studies in Germany
  • Advanced Level (fach-deutsch): subject-specific language skills and knowledge
  • Business Courses (profi-deutsch): business language courses for a successful career entry in Germany

For more information click on DUO website: +Link

Ligonda - Online Language Courses

Online Language Courses with real teachers for all learning levels from A1 to C2. Lingoda offers online language lessons for all learning levels from A1 to C2 with qualified native speaking teachers. In virtual classrooms you learn together with teachers and students from all over the world. You can see, hear and interact with each other - like in a traditional language school, just online.

For more information click on Ligonda website. +Link

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