I want to start study in Germany and I must have a German certificate. I have these possibilities:

  • Goethe-Zertifikat C 2 (Goethe)
  • DSH-3
  • DSD II
  • TESTDAF (das in allen vier Teilprüfungen die Test-Niveaustufe 4 ausweist)
  • TELC Deutsch C1 Hochschule

And my question is: is one of them simpler to pass than other? Or is level of difficulty similar and this is rather a matter of costs and other preferences?

  • 1
    The universities, you will apply to, accept all these certificates? Commented May 19, 2017 at 11:41
  • Yes i must have one of them to start studies
    – Gawrosz
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 12:09
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    AFAIK The most popular ones are TestDaf and DSH. There is a very comprehensive compare between these two: toytowngermany.com/forum/topic/… Commented May 19, 2017 at 12:33
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    You do realize studying courses held in German (and doing the exams in German) will be much more difficult than anything covered by the Goethe Insitute C2 certificate? So … my advice is to head for the hardest of those certifcates, not for the easiest. Take it as another year of intensive studying. It also counts in should you ever look for a job in a German company in your home country.
    – Janka
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 17:13
  • 1
    @Janka, good point, though I would not agree completely. The university I work at requires B2 in English for master programs, but I assume they require something similar in German for bachelor programs. Some foreign students have a very hard time keeping up with classes. OTOH, I went to France to study engineering without any official language certificate at all, and I feel language was not the major difficulty. So of course one will encounter things in class that are not covered by Goethe C2, but at the same time they are not necessarily harder, depending on the subject (math vs Germanistik?) Commented May 20, 2017 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


The relevant levels of language ability according to the Common European Framework of Reference are C2, C1, and B2, with C2 being the hardest, and B2 the easiest.

So "Goethe-Zertifikat C 2 (Goethe)" is the hardest.

"DSH-3" is the upper end of C1, and is next in line. "TELC Deutsch C1 Hochschule" is equivalent to this.

"DSD II" puts you at the breakpoint of B2/C1 (or 3.0 in the U.S. ILR scale) and is therefore the easiest of these three. "TESTDAF 4" is equivalent to this.

  • Thank You for this comparison, i needed something like that. Thank You for your time.
    – Gawrosz
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 14:08

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