Germany - DSH

DSH or "Deutsche Sprachprufung fur den Hochschulzugang auslandischer Studienbewerber” is a language examination, which tests the German language proficiency of the students who wish to apply at higher education institutions in Germany. The DSH examination is only administered at German Universities. The DSH examination comprises two sections: Written Test and Oral Test.

Eligibility Criteria

The DSH is designed for the international students who wish to study in Universities and Colleges in Germany.

Dates and Deadlines

The DSH exam takes place twice in twelve months- March and October.

DSH is developed and maintained by individual universities and is conducted several times in a year.

DSH: Levels

DSH exam has 3 competency levels-
  1. Elementary level: This includes A1 and A2
  2. Intermediate level: This includes B1 and B2 DSH1
  3. Advanced Language levels:  This includes C1 DSH2 and C2 DSH3
The B2 DSH1, C1 DHS 2 and C2 DSH 3 Competency levels comprises of 3 sections: Comprehension, Speaking and Writing.

Comprehension Section: This section includes Listening and Reading comprehensions. This section tests the general knowledge and scientific skills of the candidates. Knowledge-based topics are given which assesses the candidate’s ability to express them in written and oral way.

Speaking: In this section, several topics are given. The candidate needs to be spontaneous, fluent, and expressive. He/She should be able to convey their opinions clearly with appropriate reasoning.

Writing: It involves writing on a specific text, issue essay or a letter. You need to clearly articulate your thoughts and opinions.

DSH Format

The DSH exam has two parts- Written and Oral examination

Written DSH exam
The Written DSH exam accounts for 70% of the DSH examination. The dictionary is provided to the candidates for references and to look for unfamiliar words.
  • Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Written part consists of:
Listening Comprehension: This part accounts for 20 % of the DSH exam. Lectures, Seminars and presentations are the components of this part. The candidate is required to listen to the seminar or lecture and sum up the main points into notes while listening. An account of the main points of the text plays a vital role in answering the questions. The listening text is read two times. Candidates' answers are evaluated based on their entire text and accuracy.
  • Duration: 60 minutes
Comprehension and Working on a Text: This part contributes to 20% of the exam and includes scientific text of roughly 30-60 lines with a chart or diagram. The candidate is required to answer the questions based on the text presented. The candidate’s grammatical skills and precision are assessed.
  • Duration: 60 minutes
Comprehension and working on a scientific structure: This part contributes to 10% of the entire DSH exam and focuses on the German language. This part include a reading text, questions are based on grammatical structures, transformations etc. It assesses the candidate’s ability to restructure the text with the correct syntax and semantics. Grammatical accuracy plays a substantial part in the assessment.
  • Duration: 30 minutes
Text Production: This is the written part of the exam and contributes to 20 % of the exam. To complete this section, good writing skills and vast lexicon are required. A specific topic is given and candidates are required to write a text on that of about 200-250 words, thereby answering each question in a detailed manner, by giving an explanation, expressing an opinion and comparing. The most important point to bear in mind for this section is “Content” and “Correctness of your ability to express”. However, a greater emphasis is placed on grammatical aspects.
  • Duration: 60 minutes

The Oral DSH exam

The Oral DSH exam contributes to 30% of the entire DSH exam. A short text, chart or graph, or a voice recording from the academic area or subjects is given to the candidates. This part tests the candidate’s ability to communicate clearly and fluently in German. The candidate should possess the ability to connect events, facts and streams of thought smartly. Candidates are assessed based on their general conversation and discussion skills in a university context as well as their ability to communicate information appropriately and clearly. The candidates should understand the questions and respond appropriately with spontaneity. Texts, charts or graphs, video recordings, or other substances that may elicit a discussion provide the groundwork for the oral examination.
  • Duration: 20 minutes

Registration and Fees

You can register for DSH examination either online or in person at the concerned University.  Fill in the registration form and pay the required fees. After successful registration, you will get a confirmation email. The payment receipt must be shown at the entryway into the examination room.

The DSH examination fee varies depending upon the University. The fee ranges between  - € 100 to 130 (subject to change) at some universities registration fee is also charged.

Scoring and Results

The candidate is required to pass the written exam in order to take the Oral exam. The results are given in the form of “Passed” or “Not Passed”.

The performance in the various sections/parts-written and oral examinations is measured in percentage form. The total score is described in following three levels:
  • DSH-1 (57 % or higher) confirms an “elementary" language proficiency.
  • DSH-2 (67 % or higher) refers to a "sophisticated" language proficiency.
  • DSH-3 (82 % or higher) refers to an "extraordinary" language proficiency.
If the score is below 57%, the result is “failed"

The examination is considered as “passed”, if both the written and the oral examination are passed.

Certificate: Upon passing the oral exam, a temporary certificate is issued. An official DSH certificate (DSH II/III) via post is issued 6 weeks after the test date. No certificate is issued for results below the DSH II level.

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