I was looking at German Universities and they require for German-taught degrees that you score at least 67% on the DSH test (meaning you score a DSH 2).

Is passing this test a good signal that you will be able to comprehend lectures and do well in school? How many hours of German do the teachers say is required to reach this level?

  • 3
    What exactly does 'one/two years of German' mean? How hard do you study? Some ppl are almost fluent after one year, others still stumble after several years learning a new language. So did it hard to give an answer here...
    – Arsak
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 6:36
  • "Time to reach" a given language level is measured in hours, rather than years (by the experts). That's because students put in greatly varying levels of effort over the course of a year (even assuming similar talent levels). Count on 1200 hours (an expert opinion of the required effort level), and figure out how many years are needed to get there. At 16 hours a day, that's 5840 (waking) hours in a year.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 8:31
  • I have re-cast the question in terms of hours, and nominate the question for reopening, since the experts have opinions of the required number of hours.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 8:33

2 Answers 2


As can be read here, DSH2 means a fluency level of "C1", which means being able to read long complex texts, recognizing implicitly given meanings, speak fluently, etc. (There is only one better level, C2, roughly approaching a native speaker.) If you mistook 2 for being a grade, you have probably still some effort to invest, to reach DSH2.

I doubt that even two years are sufficient, if German was only one of many topics. Doing an intensive training, living in that country or similar for one year may suffice, if you have the right sort of mental disposition, are already fluent in a closely related language or similar positive circumstances.

See also this answer to a related question.

  • "There is only one better level, C1..." Did you mean C2?
    – Richard
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 19:47

This depends a lot on the studies you are doing.

For example, technical fields are filled up with math, and the language of math is universal. Same with understanding diagrams, chemical formulas and other topics where understanding long texts is only a small part of your studies. You also may rely on books in your native language or in English which cover the same topics as the German books.

This all can help you to understand your professor and her assistants, even when your knowledge of German is only mediocre.

When your studies are about literature, politics, arts, medicine or similar, a more profound knowledge of the language is essential.

  • You seem to answer a different question "how much knowledge of German is necessary to successfully follow lectures". Following the link in my answer you can easily recognize, that by asking for DSH2 not much room is left for interpretation. This is somewhat similar to TOEFL and pretty much standardized.
    – guidot
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 7:56
  • The question was "Is passing this test a good signal that you will be able to comprehend lectures and do well in school?" The answer is simple. Yes. That's why it's in the requirements. But the underlying question was whether you really need to pass this level (which is quite high). And the answer is NO for a lot of fields. I had a lot of co-students from China, Ghana, Nigeria and their knowledge of German was not at all C1. But most managed to understand what the professors were talking about and managed to get their degree.
    – Janka
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 13:27

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