What is „TestDaF“?

TestDaF is one of the German tests for anyone intending to study at a German university or polytechnical college.

It wasn’t easy but it’s not impossible!

25 year old Tarek Abla came to Germany from Syria in 2015 to build a future for himself and to fulfil his dreams. In order to apply for a place studying mechanical engineering at university he had to meet some fundamental qualifications. One of them was a sufficient knowledge of the German language. Tarek took the TestDaF and was successful. We asked him some questions.

What does the TestDaF consist of?

The test consists of four parts in no fixed order.

  • Reading comprehension: There are three main questions consisting of 10 secondary questions in different degrees of difficulty. Duration: 60 minutes.
  • Listening comprehension: This part consists of three oral texts or an interview of 25 questions. Duration: 40 minutes.
  • Writing skills: A topic is introduced using diagrams and tables. The examinee has to analyse the topic and describe the graphics. Then he/she is asked to express their own opinion in writing and also describe the situation in their home country. Duration: 60 minutes + 5 minutes reading of the introduction.
  • Speaking skills: This part consists of seven different dialogue situations and presentations. Duration: 35 minutes + prepartion time for each task.

How did you prepare for the test?

I attended a preparation course at „Vivat Lingua“ in Tübingen. There I also learnt about test strategy. Media helped as well: „Deutsch perfekt“ magazine and the „Deutsche Welle“ online language section.

What difficulties did you encounter?

Mastering the vast number of scientific topics and questions about studying, examination nerves, lack of preparation time and speaking into a microphone at a computer without a person in front of me. That was quite exhausting.

Who did you get help from?

The organization „Otto-Beneke-Stiftung“ who supported me by paying a grant that covered the costs of the language courses level B2 and C1 as well as the TestDaF preparation course and the testing fee.

The teaching staff at the school Vivat Lingua in Tübingen.

The “German perfect” magazine and the special language area on the side of the “Deutsche Welle” helped me too.

Also language learning books from the city library such as “ Training TestDaF ” was a big help

What was your test result?

My results were: Reading comprehension: 5, listening comprehension: 5, writing skills: 3, speaking skills: 4.
Mark 5 is the highest possible mark. You can pass with mark 4 but it is getting more difficult with mark 3.

What’s your next step?

At the moment I am writing to different universities in order to apply for a place there. My mark 3 is a problem as most universities don’t take the average (- mean?) of my marks but look at my results in each part of the exam seperately.

What do you recommend to other people interested in studying in Germany?

Read scientific articles and books. It’s important to keep in contact with German speakers. It is a good idea to copy normal German texts for writing practice, because at the test you’ll have to be able to write quickly.

Translated by Kirsten Levene

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