What is DSH?

“The abbreviation “DSH” stands for “Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang”.

With this language examination, foreign students who have not taken the Abitur in Germany have to prove that they have sufficient German language skills to study at a German university or university of applied sciences. The rule for taking the language examination for admission to higher education even applies to Germans who have not taken the Abitur in Germany. Many universities throughout Germany offer DSH examinations for internal and external students several times a year. Since 2014, there has been a basic framework at all universities according to which the examination must be carried out.

result of the DSH examination

The overall result of the examination is given in three levels (DSH 1 to DSH 3).

DSH-1, if at least 57% of the requirements were fulfilled in both the written and the oral examination.

DSH-2, if 67% were fulfilled.

DSH-3 if 82% of the requirements were met.

At level DSH 1, enrolment can be combined with attending further language courses and a new examination; without further requirements, it is usually sufficient only for enrolment in bilingual (e.g. English-German) study programmes. For the majority of study programmes at German-speaking universities, level DSH 2 is required; DSH 3 is only required for studies in human medicine or dentistry and for some other study programmes with increased language requirements.

In admission procedures, the levels are evaluated in analogy to the levels TDN-3 to TDN-5 of the TestDaF (Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache), which determine a language level between B2 and C2 according to CEFR.

Other equivalent to the DSH is:

  • The telc Deutsch C1 University Certificate

How each university organises and conducts the DSH examination in detail can be read on the corresponding pages of the universities.

The examination is always subject to a fee. The universities recommend attending a preparatory course.

We offer various German language courses which serve as preparation for the German language examination for the admission of foreign applicants to higher education. These courses are divided into five different levels: A1-A2-B1-B2-C1. Further information can be found on our website.

examination parts

The DSH examination consists of two parts, an oral and a written examination. The written exam lasts about four hours and can be divided into three parts: Listening comprehension, reading comprehension and text production.

Listening comprehension

In listening comprehension, students should show that they can follow lectures and understand seminars. An integral part of listening comprehension is taking notes and answering questions relating to what has been heard. Summary The content is more important than the language.

Reading comprehension

In reading comprehension, students demonstrate their ability to understand and edit scientific texts. They work on questions about the text, its structure and outline. They also look for suitable headings for text sections. The content is more important than the language.

In another part of reading comprehension, students perform grammatical transformations, this part is called scientific linguistic structures. Language is more important than content.

Text production

In text production, students write their own text on a topic from science or study. A graphic or a diagram, sometimes also a quotation, is given. Using this information, the students describe the facts in their text. Then they evaluate, argue, compare and comment on it. Here the language is more important than the content.

The oral exam lasts about 40 minutes, 20 minutes of which belong to the preparation time. At the beginning of the exam you will receive a diagram, a diagram or a short text and can prepare yourself in silence.

In the first five minutes of the interview, you will briefly describe this task and explain what you have understood from the text. This is followed by an interview or further questions from the individual examiners. A large role in the oral examination plays above all the linguistic correctness, the vocabulary, the phrasing means as well as the pronunciation, but also the discussion behavior, thus the communication with the examiners and the compensation strategies with problems.

Other links and FAQs:

Informations about the examinations at the University of Duisburg-Essen