Tag Archives: certificate


Tests, Certificates and exams for learners of German as a foreign language: TestDaF, Zertifikat Deutsch

TestDaFAs many of  you learn German to either study or live in Germany you will know about the government’s requirements to pass a test in order to prove your ability to get around “successfully” in Germany.

How and what to prepare for the different tests is a question I get asked quite regularly, so I hope this article will help make some things more clear.

The two most common tests or certificates to prove your level of German are TestDaF = Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (test of German as a foreign language) and ZD = Zertifikat Deutsch.

  • TestDaF is for the people who intend to study in Germany at German universities, for academics and scientists. There are test levels available that equal levels B2-C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. TestDaF covers reading and listening comprehension, writing and speaking. You can learn more about the different levels, see sample question and get a list of the test centers in 91 countries on the TestDaF official page.
  • Zertifikat Deutsch is the other internationally recognized certificate of German language ability. The ZD tests the ability on a scale equal to a B1 level of the CEFR. It is estimated that total beginners need about 300-450 hours of preparation in order to pass the ZD (that number seems high relative to my own experience of working with students, but is probably a ‘safe’ estimate). Zertifikat Deutsch is designed for adult students, there is, however, a specially designed ZD for teens. The certificate is a collaboration of the Goethe Institut, Österreichisches Sprachdilom (ÖSD), the Schweizer Erziehungsdirektorenkonferenz (EDK) and one other testing body which means that it is not only a German test of ability but is recognized in Austria and Switzerland. More on the ZD on the Goethe Institut website.

Feel free to ask further questions in the comment section of this blog, on Facebook or Twitter @deutschhappen.