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TestDaF – standardized German language test


Today’s topic will be important for those who need to prove their language skills. One of the most important German tests is TestDaF (Deutsch als Fremdsprache – German as a Foreign Language). It is taken by foreigners who want to study in an educational institution in Germany or to obtain citizenship. The specificity of this test is that it does not determine your language level. It determines how well you are prepared to function in a language environment and to understand and reproduce the language. It is divided into 4 parts: reading (Lesen), listening (Hören), writing (Schriftliche Ausdruck) and speaking (Mündliche Ausdruck).

In this test it does not matter if you understand grammar or if you have a level: B1 or C1. If you have read the text or listened to live speech and are able to answer questions, you are able to read and listen, but whether you understand every word you hear or read does not matter.

In the case of writing and speaking, it’s the same. You don’t have to build complex structures and use complex words that only people with a high level of language know. If you are able to understand the task correctly, clearly express your thoughts about it, intelligently construct sentences, then you are quite able to fully express yourself in the language environment – which is what TestDaF is trying to test. Certainly, it is not necessary to count that you will pass TestDaF ideally, without paying due attention to preparation, after all it is considered one of the most difficult German tests. Even experts with C1 level sometimes get triplets, but it happens that people without special knowledge of grammar and intricate expressions, but those who have lived in the language environment for a long time, pass everything perfectly.

The test is strict, during the test you have no right to go to the bathroom, during the breaks you have no opportunity to be unsupervised (go out for a smoke or go to eat). You are also not allowed to use any media during breaks, including notebooks, notebooks or notes of any kind. Although in some countries there are fewer restrictions and controls, the risk of cheating is not justified as it will not help you. Even if you look at unknown words in the dictionary, the notebook with tasks already will take away before a break.

All reading starts, you are given an hour to process three texts and to answer questions. Topics: the future, technology, student life, health, environment … All very much depends on your attention, the test writers are constantly trying to catch you, giving very similar answers, so you can not guess on the key words and the general mood of the text. It is very important to understand that this test does not allow ambiguity. There are no roughly correct answers, if you did not see the correct answer, then reread it, but do not dwell on one task.

During the listening phase, it is very important not to be distracted. You listen to the text from the loudspeaker and answer the tasks in your answer book. Two of the three texts you will hear only once and if you get stuck on the same task, you will miss the next one.

You will be given one hour for the letter. This is always a description of the schedule. You are expected to have a certain text structure and certain expressions. You are given a draft, but you should not write everything on it, because you will lose a lot of time if you rewrite the text twice.

The most difficult, from a technical point of view, is the oral part. It is different from similar tasks in other tests, because you are not talking to the examiner, and sit in headphones and start the text on the recorder. This task can be done on a computer or with a special device, where you hear a voice from headphones and follow the instructions, and it records what you say.

Another feature of the DAF Test is that you do not get a single score.
For all 4 sections you will get 4 different grades from 3 to 5, of which the arithmetic average is not calculated. The requirements for your certificate can be different: there must not be a single triple or a maximum of 2 quadrants, etc. If you have not scored 3 or more on at least one of the parts, the test is considered not passed.

Let us share with you a link to a useful test. It does not determine your level, but it will tell you if you are ready to take TestDaf: https://www.testdaf.de/teilnehmer/tn-vorbereitung_test.php?id=1.

TestDaF is given 6 times a year and costs 150-200 Euros, it can be given almost all over the world.
And the great thing about this test is that its results are valid for life.
Good luck!

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