The TestDaF (Deutsch als Fremdsprache) is a pass to study at universities in Germany. Because it is a relatively easy exam compared to the equivalent examinations (such as DSH or GDS), it is a frequent choice for those who dream of studying in Germany. In today’s post, I will tell you how to effectively prepare for this certificate and what to do in order to achieve the highest score available from all four modules. Los geht’s!
Familiarize yourself with the form of the exam and set your goal
The test consists of four parts – reading, listening, speaking and writing. You get a separate result from each part. It can be scored as a 5, 4, 3 or below 3. Obtaining the score of 4 or 5 from each part of the exam is a condition for admission to study in Germany. Be sure to check what result is required at the University of your choice and plan accordingly. Two months for preparation is the absolute minimum, provided that your level already hovers around B2.
Make sure to prepare yourself with many mock exams!
It is worth it to equip yourself with paper editions of books with trial tests. These books also contain valuable tips and advice on all parts of the exam. I personally used these two books: Mit Erfolg zum TestDaF B2-C1 and: Prüfungstraining-DaF-Übungsbuch
By using this study material, you will become acquainted with the form of the DaF exam. You will also develop automatic reactions that will help you keep calm while dealing with the stress that comes with the exam.
Practice writing with a stopwatch
Writing should be practiced with a stopwatch or a timer, in silence, and without the help of a dictionary or the Internet. I recommend writing a dozen or so essays. Each time, let’s try to maximize the time given, and at the same time try not to exceed the time to avoid the situation in which you leave unfinished work. However, this is not the end of the world, because even an unfinished work can get a score of four. But we are aiming higher!
By signing up for the course, you also get a lecturer who can check your essays, but if you have a friend whose major is the German language who could check out some papers in return for a coffee, this is also very useful. It is important that it is someone competent, who will give you feedback on not only grammar and vocabulary but also the degree of the implementation of individual subtasks.
Record speaking tasks
The speaking part of the test has a rather unusual form. The tasks are displayed on the monitor, and you record your responses in real time with headphones and a microphone. There is usually half a minute to several minutes to prepare for each statement. It is worth mentioning that you will be sitting in the hall together with all the participants of the exam doing the same exercise that you are doing. The echo effect is guaranteed, so it’s good to practice speaking at home, not necessarily in silence, to get used to noise so you are not as easily distracted during the main exam.
At home, record every task on your phone or computer and then listen to it quietly by checking it for errors, fluency, and implementation of individual subtasks.
How about taking a language course?
Last but not least. As a part of the preparation, I attended the Goethe-Institut Examination Center, where I had the opportunity to improve all language abilities. Its main aim was to prepare the participants for the Goethe-Institut C1 Certificate, which in some respects reminds DAF. I can recommend this language school with all my heart. Although it is not the cheapest option, the investment will definitely pay off. However, you can not rely on the fact that the reputation of the school and the outstanding lector will prepare us for the certificate without us devoting a genuine effort to the preparation.
In summary, you should start preparing well in advance and depending on the level at which you are, choose the means and tools to achieve the desired goal. If you are thinking about studying in Germany in 2-3 years and your German is at the beginner or intermediate level, you may be interested in learning how to learn German? Or Learning with the Klaus program (not available in English yet).
If you have questions or comments about the TestDaF exam I will be happy to answer them.
Just contact me via the contact form or leave a comment under the post. Tschau!