Germany – home to beautiful castles, picturesque landscapes, and a thriving academic scene – has long been a top destination for international students. However, before packing your bags and embarking on a new academic adventure in Germany, it’s important to know that one significant hurdle you may face is the German language barrier.

With over 95% of the German population speaking German, international students must demonstrate proficiency in the language, especially if they plan to pursue degree programs taught in German. But don’t worry, as challenging as it may seem, there are various language tests available that can help you achieve your language proficiency goals.

So, if you’re an international student looking to study in Germany or simply want to improve your German language skills, stay tuned! By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of the language requirements required in Germany and the options available to you to help you achieve your language goals.

What are the basic language requirements needed in Germany for international students?

German is the official language in Germany and is required for most university programs. However, the level of proficiency required may vary depending on the university and program of study. Some universities may require evidence of proficiency in German through recognized language tests or interviews.

Although some universities in Germany may offer courses in English, international students may still need to prove their proficiency in English as well. Therefore, it is crucial to be prepared to take language proficiency tests to demonstrate language skills.

German Language Tests for International Students

Now as you aim to fulfill all of these basic language requirements, firstly you’ll likely need to show that you have a solid command of the German language. There are a variety of language tests that can demonstrate your proficiency in German, but it can be difficult to choose the right one. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at three of the most widely recognized German language tests: TestDaF, DSH, and telc Deutsch.

1. Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (TestDaF)

The TestDaF is a standardized German language proficiency exam that most German universities require from non-native speakers. This exam measures your German language proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, with scores ranging from TDN 3 to TDN, and requires a minimum score of TDN 4 for admission in the majority of universities. This is one of the most used language tests in Germany.

Moreover, TestDaF is offered six times a year and can be taken in either an online or paper-based format. Talking about the cost and fees, the reported test fee is around €195, so it’s essential to schedule your exam at a convenient time before your desired application deadline to avoid any discrepancies.

Hence, over 200 universities in Germany such as the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the Free University of Berlin recognize the TestDaF, making it a valuable certification for international students who wish to pursue higher education opportunities in the country.

2. The German Language University Entrance Examination (DSH)

DSH is another language proficiency exam for non-native German speakers aiming to study at German universities. Unlike the TestDaF, the DSH is a university-specific test that measures German language skills needed for university studies. The exam tests proficiency in reading, listening, writing, and speaking, and consists of three levels: DSH-(1-2-3).

The minimum DSH score required for admission into a German university is typically DSH-2, though some universities may accept lower scores. This language test required in Germany is often offered with tuition fees ranging from €300 to €800, whereas the exam itself costs around €200.

While the TestDaF is recognized by more universities, the DSH may be a better option if you know the specific university you want to attend, like the University of Konstanz

3. telc Deutsch Exam

Last on our list is the telc Deutsch standardized exam, which like others also assesses the same set of skills of reading and writing etc. The cost of the telc Deutsch exam varies depending on the level you take and the location where you take it, but it generally ranges from €100-200 and consists of a total of six levels where level B2 is often required by reputed universities like University of Bremen and Bayreuth.

Achieving a high score on the telc Deutsch exam can greatly increase your chances of being admitted to a German university, so it’s worth investing the time and effort to prepare for and take the test.

English Language Tests for International Students

Once you’ve met the German language requirement, the next step is to tackle the English language requirements need for the universities in Germany. But don’t worry, there are several tests you can take to fulfill this requirement. Let’s dive deeper into this section and explore some important English language tests that can help you achieve your academic goals.


IELTS is a globally recognized test that assesses your reading, listening, speaking, and writing abilities and assigns a band score between 0 to 9. With a band score of 6.5 or higher, you’re all set to apply for admission to universities in English-speaking countries.

The test is administered in person worldwide, and the fees vary depending on the location. With its reputation across German Universities like the Free University of Berlin and Munich University for accurately assessing language proficiency, the IELTS is an excellent option for those who want to prove their English proficiency and open doors to international opportunities.


Next up is TOEFL, a widely recognized English language test recognized by thousands of universities around the globe making it a popular choice among international students seeking to study abroad. Like IELTS, TOEFL evaluates proficiency in the same skill sets. But, unlike IELTS, TOEFL has a score range of 0-120 where a good and recognizable score is considered 80 or higher which helps you stand out from the crowd.

3. Duolingo

Lastly, Duolingo is an online affordable English language proficiency test that is becoming increasingly popular for admissions into universities like the University of Trier, in recent years. It assesses proficiency in reading, listening, speaking, and writing through a combination of multiple-choice questions, listening exercises, and speaking tasks. Scores range from 10-160, with scores of 105 or higher generally required for university admissions.


While it may seem like just another hurdle to jump, it’s important to remember that language proficiency is a key factor in success at university. By following our guide and taking the right language test needed in Germany, you can easily master a new language and achieve your academic and personal milestones.


We hope this article on the Language Tests Needed in Germany For International Students is informative and helpful. You can also visit the Germany Scholarships Page for more articles about studying in Germany!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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