If you want to study in Germany, one of the most important things that you have to understand deeply is the German language. This language that many consider difficult to obtain, perhaps because it is difficult to pronounce or the weight of its words, but this is not true, despite its apparent difficulty, but it is similar to many words and grammar with other foreign languages, which gives you a good idea of the language when you learn it in the early stages.
To test your understanding and mastery of the German language before enrolling at the university, universities apply for the German entrance examination or Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH).
Each university performs a different examination from other universities, but the method used for evaluation, and the content does not differ from one university to another, as it is standardized across Germany.
What is DSH?
It is a German examination to test your readiness and ability to start studying in a German university, and you must pass this examination before the start of the academic year at the university, and contains written sections in addition to oral departments as well. In both sections, you will be examined for having sufficient language skills to continue your studies in German universities.
It will be examined with general information and scientific topics that will assess your ability to express yourself in writing and verbally. You do not need in-depth special knowledge to pass this examination, and below we will try to present what is included in the examination and what you need to succeed.
The written section of the examination
The written section of the examination represents 70% of the whole. It is the first part of the examination, and it extends from three to four hours. You will be provided with a dictionary to read strange and unfamiliar words. The written examination comprises four subjects arranged systematically.
Oral section of the examination
The oral section accounts for about 30% of the entire examination. This comes after you have successfully passed the written examination. If you do not pass the written examination, you cannot undergo the oral examination.
Do I have to undergo this examination?
The DSH examination is an examination for all foreign students applying to study in Germany. Successful examination is mandatory for all foreign applicants for German universities. So the answer to your question is: Yes!
We mentioned that the examination includes two sections, a written section and an oral section, but let us elaborate in each section to see what it contains, with some tips to help you pass it.
What does the written section of the examination contain?
The written section includes three main parts:
- Listen and understand.
- Reading comprehension and working on an academic linguistic structure.
- Writing a topic or text based on existing evidence.
Listen and understand
Lectures, seminars, and presentations are all part of everyday university life. As a student in German universities you have to be able to summarize the most important points in a lecture, and this is the function of this section, a text between 5500 words to 7000 words will be read twice to hear it well, and you will be provided with the subject of this text before starting the examination, with a list of some important questions About the text.
This process does not require any special knowledge, and you should take notes (the best way to take notes). You are usually provided with difficult names, dates, and terms. The structure of the questions presented to you before the start of the examination depends on the structure of the text, but the questions generally address your understanding of the text. Other related questions may also be asked about the text.
Advice: In this case, your situation with a brief summary of the text will help you answer all questions after you finish hearing the text.
Your answers will be evaluated based on their completeness and suitability, but their content will play a more important role than their grammar accuracy.
Reading and understanding
You will be provided with a text that does not require any special knowledge, and is in the form of academic and related to your field of study. It can also include a diagram or an illustration, ranging from 4,500 words to 6,000 words. Text questions relate to the same text type, and your understanding of the text can be tested with questions of this type:
- Answer questions in general.
- Understand the structure of the text and the issue it raises.
- The possibility of explaining portions of the text.
- The possibility of you addressing the text or paragraphs from it.
Writing a text based on some instructions
This part aims to provide an opportunity for the student to demonstrate his ability to express himself independently and in relation to some of the issues and topics raised, according to the instructions provided. The requested text could be an explanation, comparison or comment on a topic. You will be evaluated according to the content (relevance, text structure) and language (accuracy, word choice, and sentence structure). But here, in contrast to the previous two sections, more importance will be devoted to linguistic aspects.
In the oral examination, you are expected to be able to comment on and understand the text, as well as your ability to explain and explain in relation to academic texts or subjects. You will need these things in your subsequent university life in every lecture, seminar, or session.
It is one of the most difficult things facing international students when they come to Germany. This part of the test tests your ability to tackle academic subjects as well as comment on them.
How does that happen?
You will get a short text, sketch, or audio or video recording in the academic field, and you have 10-15 minutes to understand the subject and prepare it, in addition to stressing the important points that are usually a draft exam question. Then the examiner speaks to you and checks you through a dialogue between you and him. This dialogue lasts about 20 minutes and takes place without any written written support.
In some universities, every two or three students can be examined together. To obtain more information about the matter, you must contact the university you have chosen there to provide the examination.
Oral Passover constitutes about 30% of your mark in the DSH examination.
- Evaluation and results
- Success or failure?
First you have to undergo a written examination, and after you have successfully passed a written examination, you can undergo an oral examination. You cannot perform an oral examination if your written skills in the German language are not good or even, very good.
You must pass both the written and oral parts to pass a full examination. You can only pass each exam separately after you have correctly answered two-thirds of the written examination, in addition to two-thirds of the oral examination.
But what if you fail?
Don’t worry, if you fail, you can re-check it all over again. But you must mention this to the university you want to take the examination.
There are three scores for assessment in the examination of DSH 1, 2, 3, where the third degree is the highest. Here we will show you the intersection between the results of the DSH examination and the European Common Reference Framework (CEFR):
If you score a DSH 1, this is equivalent to having more than 58% of the total examination score, level B2.2 according to CEFR.
If you get a DSH 2 rating, this is equivalent to having more than 68% of the total examination score, C1.1 according to CEFR.
If you score a DSH 3, this will be equivalent to having more than 82% of the total examination score, level C1.2 according to CEFR.
How much does this examination cost?
In Germany, this examination usually costs between 110 and 200 euros. This price varies from university to university.