What is TestDAF?
TestDAF, or the formal Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (“Test of German as a foreign language”) is a test of a student’s proficiency in the German language and is aimed at students looking to study at or participate in research programs in German Universities.
How is TestDAF graded and what is the format of the test?
Test takers are conferred grades TDN3, TDN 4 or TDN5 with TDN5 being the highest level of proficiency and TDN3 being the lowest. If the student hasn’t achieved TDN3, then the certificate shows “unter TDN3 (under TDN3). These grades (TDN3, TDN4, TDN5) are awarded for each competency or language skill (reading, writing, listening, speaking).
TDN 3-5 correspond to levels B2-C1 of CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.) The TestDAF question paper tests students on all aspects of the language – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.
The Reading and Listening sections have three tasks each while the Writing and Speaking sections have one task and seven tasks respectively.
It is important to note that some Universities require students to achieve a certain grade in all four sections, while some universities only count the final score. Each section is scored for 5 points, making the total score 20 points.
Candidates have to pass all sections of a TestDAF exam in order to fulfil the language requirement.
A sample TestDAF certificate will give you an idea about the scoring and grades awarded in the exam.
Source : German language coach Brussels, Facebook. (name, center and number hidden.)
Who certifies TestDAF and how long is the certificate valid?
TestDAF is run by the TestDAF-Institut in Bochum, Germany, that develops the tasks in the examination. TestDAF-Institut is supported by Gesellschaft für Akademische Studienvorbereitung und Testentwicklung(Society for Academic Study Preparation and Test Development) the Hochschulrektorenkonferenz(German Rectors’ Conference), German Academic Exchange Service and Goethe-Institut.
The certificate is valid indefinitely, although some German Universities require a more recent certificate ( from the last one or two years from the date of application.)
How long is the test?
3 hours and 10 minutes, not counting breaks. The spoken section is carried out by speaking to a computer while the reading, writing and listening sections are administered in a classroom.
How long does it take to receive the results of the test?
5-6 weeks. It is generally a good idea for test takers to schedule their tests well in advance to avoiding missing application deadlines.
Who should apply ?
Students who have achieved a B2-C1 level of proficiency are ideally placed to take TestDAF as these tests are not designed to evaluate students at different levels (Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced/Proficient). It is a common test administered to all students and all tasks in the test are devised keeping in mind higher education or research in German Universities.
It is not advisable for students below B2 level of proficiency to take the test.
Where can I take the test from?
The test can be taken from any of the 450 centers across 95 countries in the world and is offered 6 times a year. In India, TestDAF can be taken in the Goethe-Instit centers of New Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Chennai.
To register for the test, you will have to refer to the TestDAF website and choose the country you are going to take the test in. The website will then allot you a center.
What is the fee structure? And what happens if I don’t clear the test?
The test costs 90 Euros in India. If you do not clear the test, you can always reapply after further study. There is no limit to how often this test can be taken.
How can I prepare ?
It is best to directly refer to the TestDAF website for model papers, tips and tricks, practice tests and other information related to preparing for the test. The website also offers a placement test to give you an idea of your current level so you can decide if you are ready to take the test. TestDAF does not release their question papers, which can make preparation a little challenging. Working with a variety of question papers from different exams is also a good way to prepare as this tests you in different ways and contributes to vocabulary building and using grammatical constructs in context.
TestDAF Website : Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (testdaf.de)
If you want to read up on TestDAF please refer to the following links.