You are here: Home Studying International Students German Language Courses DSH German Language Proficiency Test for the Admission to Higher Education

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 sufficient German language proficiency  for taking up university studies in German. Proof of such proficiency is required at the time of enrolment. Exemptions from the mandatory language exam are stipulated by the local DSH examination regulations of the University of Bonn, available for download under “DSH Regulations”.

Please note that admission to a master's program or doctorate does not exempt you from the DSH requirement; the only exceptions are degree programs in which English or another foreign language is the official language of instruction. Furthermore, having graduated in German Studies (Germanistik) at a foreign university does not waive the DSH requirement. Applications for the exemption from the DSH examination 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 institutions (RO-DT) of 2011. In spite of this, the DSH at the University of Bonn is not registered with the German Rector's Conference (HRK) or with the German as a Foreign Language Association (FaDaF). The acceptance of DSH Exams taken at the University of Bonn is therefore at the discretion of each university.

Please take note of the examination dates given below. There will be no additional DSH examination prior to the beginning of the respective semester. Due to administrative and financial reasons, we cannot offer individual examinations.


The DSH is subject to a fee! It consists of a written and an oral examination, starting with the written examination. You can find a DSH mock exam here.

Please note:

Applicants from non-EU or non-EEA countries can only take the DSH at the University of Bonn after having received a letter of admission to the desired degree program at the University of Bonn!

Once you pass the DSH examination with a result of DSH 2, you are eligible for admission to all degree programs at the University of Bonn.

For the following degree programs, DSH 1 is 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 (registration deadline: March 5)
      Winter Semester 2019/2020

      • Written Examination: September 17 (registration deadline: September 10)

      The Written Examination

      The written examination is divided 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 part of the examination 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 fewer than 5,500 and no more than 7,000 characters. The text will be read out twice. Candidates may make notes. Names, dates and difficult terms are usually provided. 

      The question structure  depends on the structure of the examination text. However, the questions generally aim at testing the candidate's understanding of the text, recognition of the structure of themes and the organization of the text. Candidates may be asked to perform different tasks that may be interrelated. Example:

      • Answering the questions
      • Presenting train of thought
      • Planning
      • Writing a summary

      Summarizing the text or parts thereof plays an important role in answering the questions. Answers will be assessed with regard to their completeness and suitability. 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 and related to academic content and their fields of studies. A graph, chart or diagram may be included in the text. The text will consist of no fewer than 4,500 and no more than 6,000 characters. The question structure depends on the structure of the examination text. Comprehension of the text and the ability to rework it may be examined by the following types of tasks:

      • Answering questions
      • Outlining the text's line of argument
      • Outlining the structure of the text
      • Explaining parts of the text
      • Formulating headlines
      • Writing a summary

      Answers will be assessed with their regard to their completeness and suitability. However, content will play a greater role than grammatical accuracy.

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


      Producing a Text based on Guidelines

      The aim of this is to prove the candidates ability to express themselves independently and in relation to one of the topics using provided guidelines. The text to be produced may be explanatory, comparative or a commentary. The text may be produced based on graphs, charts, diagrams, quotes or key words. The text must not take on the characteristics of a freestyle essay. Candidates will be assessed according to content (suitability, text structure) and language (accuracy, choice of words, syntax). In this part of the examination, the focus of the assessment is on language aspects.


      Oral Examination

      The candidate should be able to display their ability to relate events, facts and trains of thought intelligently and naturally as well as to reflect on them and respond during a conversation. The oral examination involves a discussion on general challenges discussed in academica or questions related to the chosen field of study. The duration of the examination discussion will not exceed 20 minutes. Texts, graphs, charts, tape, video recordings or other means that may fuel a discussion may provide the basis for the oral examination. The candidate is given adequate time to prepare for the discussion. Candidates will be assessed with regard to their general conversation and discussion skills in an academic context (understanding of questions, suitable reactions, spontaneity) as well as the ability to lay out facts correctly and clearly. 


      DSH Regulations at the University of Bonn (last revised on May 18, 2011) 

      DSH Regulations for Download (pdf document in German).


      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.


      Contact Address

      Examination Chairman:
      Mr. Gerkhausen

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

      Document Actions