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DSH (Obligatory Proficiency Examination)
The DSH (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang / Examination of German language proficiency required for admission to universities) assesses the following language skills in separate sections:
listening comprehension
reading comprehension and linguistic structures
writing
speaking.

The DSH certificate documents the candidate's total score as
DSH-3 (100% - 82%, highest level, suitable for any faculty)
DSH-2 (81% - 67%, generally accepted) or
DSH-1 (66% - 57%, lowest possible entrance level,
only accepted according to specific university regulations).
1. Content of the Examination
The DSH is comprised of a written and an oral examination. Both examinations are conducted on two different days, the written part taking place before the oral.

1.1 The written DSH contains the following sections:

a) Listening Comprehension (50 minutes, starting after the presentation of the text)
The candidates are expected to demonstrate their ability to follow an academic lecture, take notes and process the information.
Possible questions include true/false, various assignments pertaining to the text or passages of it, synopsis of the content. The text is presented aloud twice and does not require specific previous knowledge of the subject.

b and c) Reading Comprehension and Linguistic Structures
(60 + 30 = 90 minutes)
Students are expected to demonstrate that they can understand and independently analyse a writing sample of a general academic nature.
The types of tasks may include questions pertaining to the content of the text, questions on the overall structure of the text or on parts of it, explanations of text passages (interpretation), true/false questions, phrasing titles, assignments (matching sentences with their corresponding parts in the text) et al.
The section "Linguistic Structures" is designed to assess the candidate's ability to recognise, understand and apply linguistic structures relevant to academic language. The tasks are related to the linguistic features of the given reading comprehension text (e.g. syntax, morphology or vocabulary, idioms) and may require sentence completion, explanation of specific linguistic items in the text as well as different types of rephrasing.

d) Writing (70 minutes.)
The candidates are expected to write their own coherent and well structured text on a given topic taken from an academic context. The text may cover description, comparison and/or argument. This part of the DSH may be based on a graph, a drawing, a diagram, a word list or a quotation.

Note: monolingual dictionaries are allowed.


1.2 Oral Examination (15-20 Min.)

This section of the DSH measures the ability of the students to communicate appropriately in an academic context. After a short warm-up conversation related to university life the candidates are asked to respond spontaneously and fluently to questions on the basis of a short given text or graph prepared 15 minutes before the exam. The questions or stimuli may require reception, explanation, summary, argument, as well as communicative skills such as interaction, giving or asking for information et al.
Students who have completed an intensive (or semester) course can be exempted from the oral examination, as there is ample information to assess their ability to communicate. In this case the oral proficiency level will be fixed at an average score of each of the three levels (DSH-1: 62%, DSH-2: 75%, DSH-3: 90%).
There will be no oral examination if the candidate has not passed the written sections.

2. Evaluation
The performance in the various sections of the examination is measured in %. The total score is documented:
as DSH-1, if, in the written subtests as well as in the oral examination,
at least 57% is achieved;
as DSH-2, if, in the written subtests as well as in the oral examination,
at least 67% is achieved;
as DSH-3, if, in the written subtests as well as in the oral examination,
at least 82% is achieved.
The whole examination counts as passed, if both the written and the oral examination are passed.
Candidates whose total score is at least DSH-2 generally fulfill the linguistic requirements for admission to any German university. The level DSH-3 assesses the candidate's language skills as particularly high.

Students who do not pass the DSH cannot be admitted to university studies. However, they may enroll in language courses at the Internationales Studienzentrum of Heidelberg University after taking a placement test. Upon completion of a language course, they may then enroll as an internal student for the DSH. This is only possible if the admissions letter from the university does not contain the prerequisite that the DSH must be passed.

Scoring System:

The results of the written sections are accounted for as follows:
Listening comprehension: 20%,
Reading comprehension: 20%,
Linguistic structures: 10%,
Writing: 20%.
3. Examination Schedule and Repetition
The DSH for students with an admission of Heidelberg University takes place before the beginning of each term (in September before the beginning of the winter term, in March or April before the beginning of the summer term). Internal students take the DSH at the end of each term (e.g. February or July). The only students admitted to the internal DSH are those who have qualified by completing an advanced course (Oberstufe) at the Internationales Studienzentrum.
The DSH can be retaken.
4. Examination Fee
The examination fee is 100 Euro and must be paid personally and in cash before proceeding to the DSH.
5. Registration Information
The DSH conducted by the "Internationales Studienzentrum" of Heidelberg University is officially recognized by the HRK (Association of Universities and other Institutions of Higher Education in Germany):
Registration number for Germany: 119-042.05 Date: 11th July 2005
For China and Malaysia: 119-043.05 (A) 11th July 2005
 

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