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DSH German Language Proficiency Test for the Admission to Higher Education






A few initial remarks concerning the DSH at the beginning: 

The DSH is a university language exam which certifies the existence of a German language proficiency sufficient for taking up studies in that language. The proof of this language proficiency has to be provided at the time of enrolment. Exemptions from the mandatory language exam are regulated by the local DSH examination rules of the University of Bonn, which you can find and download under “DSH Regulations”.

Please note, that neither the admission to a masters course of studies (except for English or foreign language courses of study) nor the admission to the PhD phase mean the automatic exemption from the DSH. Furthermore, an existing graduation in “Germanistik / German Studies” of a foreign university does not waive the DSH requirement. Applications for exemption from the DSH have to be submitted to the examination chairman. The examination regulations for the DSH at the University of Bonn are based on the general regulations for German language exams at German academic education institutions (RO-DT) of 2011. In spite of this the DSH of the University of Bonn is not registered by HRK or FaDaF. Its acceptance by other universities is, therefore,  a matter to be decided there.

Please keep in mind the examination dates given below. After expiry of the examination opportunity there will be no further DSH examination prior to the beginning of the respective semester. Examinations for single persons or small groups are not possible for administrative and cost reasons.

The DSH consists of a written and an oral examination, with the written examination being administered before the oral one. Participation in the language exam is subject to a fee!

An examination result of DSH 2 justifies enrolment to all courses of study offered at the University of Bonn. Only for the follwing courses of study is a result of DSH 1 sufficient:


    • English Studies (Bachelor of Arts)
    • Altamerikanistik und Ethnologie (Bachelor of Arts)
    • Spanische Kultur im europäischen Kontext (Master of Arts)
    • Kulturstudien zu Lateinamerika (Master of Arts)
    • Applied Linguistics (Master of Arts)
    • North American Studies (Master of Arts)
    • English Literatures and Cultures (Master of Arts)
    • Spanische Kultur und europäische Identität (Master of Arts)


      • Dates for the DSH in 2019:

      Summer Semester 2019  

      Written Examination: March 12 (deadline: March 5)

      Winter Semester 2019/2020

      Written Examination: September 17 (deadline: September 10)

      Please note: Applicants from non-EU or non-EEA countries can only take the DSH at the University of Bonn after they have received admission to studies at this university!


      The Written Examination

      The written examination is split into three parts: 

      1. Listening Comprehension
      2. Reading Comprehension and comprehension and reworking of academic language structures
      3. Producing a text based on guidelines



      Listening Comprehension

      This is based on a text that sufficiently takes into account the communication situation of a lecture or exercise. The text does not require any special knowledge. Depending on content and structure, the length of the  text will be no less than 5500 and no more than 7000 characters. The listening text will be read twice. Prior to this, a list of questions about the text will be handed out. Candidates may make notes. Names, dates and difficult terms are generally provided. The question structure is dependent on the structure of the examination text. However, the questions generally deal with understanding the text and recognising the structure of themes and the organisation of the text. Different questions can be asked that may be connected. Example:

      • Answering the questions
      • Presenting train of thought
      • Plan
      • Résumé

      A summary of the text or of parts of the text plays an important role in answering the questions. Candidates' answers will be assessed depending on their completeness and appropriateness. However, content will play a greater role than grammatical accuracy.



      Reading Comprehension

      Candidates will be presented with a text that does not require any special knowledge and is for the most part authentic, academic and related to their courses of studies. A graph, a chart or a diagram may be included within the text. The text will be no less than 4500 and no more than 6000 characters. The question structure is dependent on the structure of the examination text. Comprehension of the text and the ability to rework it may be examined by the following kinds of questions:

      • Answering questions
      • Depicting the text's argumentation structure
      • Depicting the structure of the text
      • Explaining parts of the text
      • Formulating titles

      Candidates\' answers will be assessed depending on their completeness and appropriateness. However, content will play a greater role than grammatical accuracy.


      25% of the workload for this part of the exmanination is set aside for the comprehension and reworking of academic language structures.


      Producing a Text based on Guidelines

      The aim of this is to prove the candidate's capability to express him or herself independently and in relation to one of the topics in accordance with the guidelines. The text produced may be explanatory, comparative or a commentary. This may be based on putting graphs, charts or diagrams into words. This must not take on the characteristics of a freestyle essay. Candidates will be assessed according to content (appropriateness, text structure) and language (accuracy, choice of words, sentence construction). However, a greater weight will be placed on linguistic aspects.

      Oral Examination

      The candidate should be able to display an ability to relate events, facts and trains of thought intelligently and naturally, to grapple with these linguistically and to react appropriately to such topics during a conversation. The oral examination involves a discussion on general academic-related problems or questions related to the chosen field of study. The examination discussion will not exceed 20 minutes. Texts, graphs, charts, tape, video recordings or other means that may provoke a discussion may provide the basis for the oral examination. The candidate is given a reasonable amount of time to prepare for the discussion. Candidates will be assessed according to their general conversation and discussion skills in a university context (understanding of questions, appropriate reactions, spontaneity) as well as the ability to portray facts correctly and clearly. To pass the examination, candidates must fulfil at least two-thirds of the requirements.

      DSH Fee

      The fee for participation in the DSH is 110 Euro. The DSH is administered by order and under supervision of the University of Bonn by ProIntegration e. V.. Participation in the DSH is possible only after proven payment of the exmanination fee. The deposit receipt must be presented upon entrance into the examination room.

      DSH Regulations

      DSH Regulations for Download (pdf document-German Language).


      Contact Address

      Examination Chairman:
      Mr. Gerkhausen

      Organisation and Administration:
      Ms. Hammer
      Tel: +49-228/73 7708
      Fax: +49-228/73 5891
      Poppelsdorfer Allee 102
      53115 Bonn

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