What is the TestAS?
The Test for Academic Studies (TestAS) is an official standardized exam offered to high school graduates from non-European countries who wish to study at a German university. It is offered by the Gesellschaft für Akademische Studienvorbereitung und Testentwicklung e.V. (g.a.s.t. = Society for Academic Study Preparation and Test Development, a Registered Association).
The TestAS is a voluntary, standardized test that examines a student’s cognitive and intellectual abilities. It measures a student’s academic aptitude, and has been used since 2007 to assist in university applications and approvals. A TestAS result is used to help gain admission into a German university. The test can be taken in German or English and in certain cases in Arabic.
Why should I take the TestAS? (Advantages of TestAS)
The TestAS allows students to realistically assess their chances of successfully completing a degree at a German university. The results of the test inform each participant about their individual strengths and weaknesses, and indicates their likely progress in an academic course. This is useful information for students, as it helps to guide them in selecting an appropriate area of study that matches their individual abilities.
Scoring well on the TestAS gives applicants at some universities an advantage during the selection process (for a list of universities, please see: Which universities currently accept the TestAS results?). German universities are able to compare and assess the abilities of potential students, which informs the selection of students into university courses. Therefore, a good test result can improve the chances of the applicant gaining entry into their desired study course and university. The results also increase the likelihood of a student completing their chosen course of studies, rather than dropping out if the course is too difficult for their abilities.
Who can take the TestAS?
The TestAS is intended for foreign students to gain admission into an undergraduate degree at a German university, including a Bachelor, Magister, Diplom or State Examination. There is no age limit, however many participants have completed high school. Applicants need to have at least B1 level language skills in German and/or English. One is allowed to take the test with a lower language level; but it would be difficult to score higher than the average participant. The questions tend to be long, testing text comprehension skills among other things.
Recognition of TestAS
TestAS is recognised by German universities that have included the TestAS into their admission requirements. The recognition of TestAS results varies between each university. While some universities require the TestAS as a pre-requisite, other universities only recommend it. The system by which the universities weigh each TestAS section result is also determined individually by the universities.
Which universities currently accept the TestAS results?
In the following, you will find a list of universities (as of February 2017) which recognise this test for foreign students. This list is without guarantee due to the fact that the TestAS and its acceptance at German universities is continuously changing and expanding. Please refer to the websites of the universities for up-to-date information.
In most cases, taking the test as part of the application process is voluntary. In these cases, the participant can decide whether or not the results should be made available to the university on an individual basis (if the results are not as high as desired).
If you have a higher than average TestAS result, the university entrance qualification (HZB) score may be increased. More information about the HZB score can be found online, e.g. at the website of uni-assist e.V.: http://www.uni-assist.de/wissenswertes.html
The test is normally only relevant for non-EU applicants who have not received their HZB score in Germany and who are applying for a Bachelor’s programme in Germany.
FOR THE FOLLOWING UNIVERSITIES, TESTAS PARTICIPATION IS MANDATORY FOR SPECIFIC FIELDS OF STUDY:
The University of Cologne only accepts applications (except in the case of law and teaching education programmes) which contain TestAS results. The TestAS certificate must be submitted along with the application documents and sent to uni-assist e.V. Applicants must achieve a specific standard score within the TestAS in order to be able to apply. We have listed a few such examples below (as at 03.02.2017). Additional and more up-to-date information can be found on the website of the University of Cologne.
- When applying for the Faculty of Medicine, the average score required for the core test and the specialist module on Mathematics, Information Technology and Natural Sciences is 108.
- When applying for the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences, the average score required for the core test and the specialist module on Economics is 108.
- When applying for law of for any teacher training programmes, the TestAS is currently not required.
Source: http://international.uni-koeln.de/6944.html; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
The RWTH Aachen University requires participants to take the TestAS if the participant is applying for the fields of Human Medicine or for the Fast Track Bachelor Admission Programme for Engineering. In the case of Human Medicine, the exam must be taken in German and must include the specialist module “Mathematics, Information Technologies and Natural Sciences” in addition to the core test. In the case of Fast Track Engineering, the specialist module on Engineering Sciences must be taken.
Source: http://www.rwth-aachen.de/cms/root/Studium/Vor-dem-Studium/Studiengaenge/Liste-Aktuelle-Studiengaenge/Studiengangbeschreibung/~bncp/Medizin-Modellstudiengang-Staatsexamen/ ; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
The University of Bremen only accepts applications for business programmes (Business Administration and Economics) when they include the TestAS results.
When applying to other fields of study, the TestAS is voluntary. A significantly higher grade can be achieved by taking the voluntary TestAS. If a participant’s percentile rank within the core test is at least 50%, then the HZB score of the participant is raised by 0.3 points. If the participant achieves a percentile rank of at least 50% in the specialist module, then an additional 0.3 is awarded.
Source: http://www.uni-bremen.de/international/wege-an-die-universitaet-bremen/grundstaendiges-studium-bewerbung.html ; http://www.uni-bremen.de/fileadmin/user_upload/single_sites/sfsi/Notenverbesserung_TestAS.pdf; last accessed on 02.02.2017.
For Human Medicine applications at the Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg, the taking of the TestAS (core test and specialist module on Mathematics, Information Sciences and Natural Sciences test) is mandatory. The exam has to be taken in German.
To select applicants, this university applies a ranking procedure that takes into account HZB and TestAS scores. Further detailed information can be found under Paragraph 7, Point 5: http://www.bekanntmachungen.ovgu.de/media/Archiv+_+Amtliche+Bekanntmachungen/2016/28_2016+Satzung+zur+Durchf%C3%BChrung+des+Hochschulauswahlverfahrens+f%C3%BCr+ausl%C3%A4ndische+Studienbewerberinnen+und+Studienbewerber+f%C3%BCr+den+Studiengang+Medizin.pdf.
Source: https://www.med.uni-magdeburg.de/aaaZulassung.html; last accessed on 09.02.2017.
The University of Greifswald has made the taking of the TestAS mandatory for applications to the study programme of Human and Dental Medicine. To apply, the university requires a score of at least 100 points on the core test.
Source: https://www.uni-greifswald.de/fileadmin/uni-greifswald/1_Universitaet/1.2_Organisation/1.2.5_Satzungen_und_Formulare/Satzungen/Studium_und_Pruefungen/Satzung_Auswahlvf_Ausl.pdf; last accessed on 03.02.2017
Universities where applicants can greatly improve their HZB score due to good results (more than 0.5 “abitur” score):
The University of Hamburg awards a significant number of bonus points based on the TestAS results. The following website shows an overview chart available for the bonus points system: https://www.uni-hamburg.de/campuscenter/studienorganisation/formulare-informationsmerkblaetter/zulassungskriterien-bewerbung-nicht-eu.pdf
Source: https://www.uni-hamburg.de/campuscenter/bewerbung/international/studium-mit-abschluss/studierfaehigkeitstest.html; last accessed on 03.02.2017
The Johannes Guttenberg University of Mainz awards bonus points for the HZB score based on the TestAS results. The most recently taken TestAS is the one that applies. The level of bonus points available (up to 0.5 for the core test and up to 0.5 for the specialist module) can be found here: https://www.studium.uni-mainz.de/testas/
Source: https://www.international.uni-mainz.de/studierfaehigkeitstest-testas/; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
Universities where applicants can increase their chances of acceptance with good results:
The University of Heidelberg uses the TestAS as a minor voluntary part of their acceptance criteria.
Source: http://www.uni-heidelberg.de//studium/interesse/int_bewerbung/unterlagen.html ; http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/md/studium/interesse/int_bewerbung/verfahren/2012-04-23_aktuelleinfo2012-13_internet.pdf; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
At the Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden), the TestAS results are used as additional proof of ability for applications to the study programmes of Human and Dental Medicine.
Source: https://tu-dresden.de/med/mf/studium/angebot/bewimma/adh_nicht-eu; last accessed on 03.02.2017
The University of Ulm adds bonus points to the HZB average score based on the TestAS results for a standard score of at least 100. The HZB score can be improved by up to 0.5 points.
- Standard score below 100: No bonus
- Standard score between 100 and 110: Bonus of 0.2
- Standard score between 111 and 120: Bonus of 0.3
- Standard score above 121 and 130: Bonus of 0.5
Source: https://www.uni-ulm.de/fileadmin/website_uni_ulm/zuv/zuv.dezIII.abt2u3/3-2oeffentlich/bekanntmachungen/2015/zulassung_immaO_2015.pdf; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
The University of Freiburg awards bonus points based on TestAS results. No additional information has yet been made available.
Source: http://www.studium.uni-freiburg.de/studienbewerbung/international/vollzeitstudium; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
The University of Göttingen uses the TestAS as a voluntary part of their acceptance criteria. Participation in the TestAS for the subject of Natural Sciences may increase your chances of being accepted.
Source: https://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/511340.html; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
The University of Leipzig adds bonus points to the HZB score based on TestAS results if the participant achieves a percentile rank of at least 70%. For a percentile rank higher than 70%, there is a bonus of 0.2. For similar results within the specialist module, an additional 0.2 bonus points are awarded.
Source: https://www.zv.uni-leipzig.de/studium/studium-international/internationale-bewerber/bachelor-staatsexamen-diplom/testas.html; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
The University of Potsdam takes “good” TestAS results into consideration by awarding such applicants an edge over other applicants with the same qualifications and no TestAS results.
Source: https://www.uni-potsdam.de/studium/zugang/vor-bewerbung-immatrikulation/studienvorbereitende-kurse/; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
The University of Regensburg takes the TestAS results into consideration for programmes in Economic Sciences. By submitting the TestAS results along with the application, the applicant can improve his/her chances of a place at the University of Regensburg.
Source: http://www.uni-regensburg.de/zentrum-sprache-kommunikation/daf/pruefungen/testas/; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
The Berlin School of Economics and Law gives out bonus points depending on the test results achieved by applicants for Economic Sciences.
Source: http://www.hwr-berlin.de/fachbereich-wirtschaftswissenschaften/bewerbung/auswahl-und-einstufungstests/testas/; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
The University of Applied Sciences Mittweida assesses an application positively when a TestAS certification is submitted alongside it.
Source: https://www.studium.hs-mittweida.de/bewerbung/bewerbung-fuer-auslaendische-studieninteressenten.html; last accessed on 03.02.2017
The Technical University of Telecommunications and Informatics Leipzig (HfTL) uses the TestAS as a voluntary part of their application criteria.
Source: https://www.hft-leipzig.de/no_cache/en/international-office.html?cid=12308&did=7194&sechash=42b50bd1; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
Universities which accept the TestAS as a proof of ABILITY (additional documents ARE required):
The University of Wuppertal (BUW) accepts good TestAS results as proof of suitability for a Bachelor’s programme and, in such cases, does not require the standard university entrance qualification documents such as a high school diploma. It requires a standard score of at least 76 on the TestAS core test 76 and at least 83 on the specialist module.
Source: http://www.internationales.uni-wuppertal.de/fileadmin/internationales/files/Allgemeine_Informationen.pdf; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
The Technical University of Hamburg (TUHH) makes it possible for students with above-average TestAS results to apply for a technical subject that deviates from their HZB score. The applicant must have an adequate HZB score for study programmes in Engineering Sciences and their overall test result for the core test and specialist module in Engineering Sciences must be at least 100 points. Then, the subject-specific HZB may be expanded to a general HZB for the TUHH bachelor programmes.
“An applicant has university entrance qualification for electrical engineering, but would prefer to study civil and environmental engineering. They have passed the TestAS (core test + specialist module in Engineering Sciences) with an overall result of 106. The applicant is thus awarded the university entrance qualification for civil and environmental engineering on the part of TUHH.” (Quoted from the TUHH website listed below)
Source: https://www.tuhh.de/tuhh/studium/bewerbung/bachelorstudiengaenge/bewerberinnen-mit-nicht-deutschem-abitur.html; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
The Frankfurt School of Finance & Management accepts applications containing one of the following tests: TestAS, ACT or SAT.
Source: http://www.frankfurt-school.de/content/en/education_programmes/education_advisory/application-admission-bachelor.html; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
The Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main uses the TestAS as a voluntary part of their acceptance criteria for the one-semester programme “Academic Welcome Program for Highly Qualified Refugees”.
Source: https://www.uni-frankfurt.de/60148516/03-Auswahlverfahren; last accessed on 03.02.2017.
Additionally, there are universities such as the Augsburg University, which recommend taking the TestAS but do not take the results into consideration as part of the application process. (Source: https://www.hs-augsburg.de/fakultaet/aw/zsi/kod/testas/index.html ; last accessed on 03.02.2017.) A further example of this is the University of Applied Sciences Berlin. (Source: https://www.htw-berlin.de/international/internationale-htw-studierende/bewerbung-mit-auslaendischen-zeugnissen/test-fuer-auslaendische-studierende/ ; https://www.htw-berlin.de/fileadmin/HTW/Zentral/ZHV_IIIB_-_Zulassung_und_Immatrikulation/Bewerbungsunterlagen_internationale_Bewerber.pdf; last accessed on 03.02.2017.)
For up-to-date information on whether and how the TestAS results are integrated into the application process, please visit the universities’ websites.
How difficult is the TestAS?
The TestAS assesses students’ abilities, regardless of their country of origin or previous academic results. The results of the TestAS are based solely on your performance during the test. No particular expertise in any given subject area is required to take the test.
Language skills have a very strong impact on your test result. Therefore, we strongly urge you to take the exam in the language you feel more confident in. Even if your studies will be in German, you may consider taking the exam in English, if your English skills surpass your German language skills. In few cases, universities ask for a particular exam, such as the human medicine application at RWTH Aachen, where only the results of the German TestAS are taken into account.
As a minimum, B1 language skills in German or English are recommended to take TestAS. It is, however, difficult for B1-level students to achieve above average scores on the test. As your language proficiency increases, so will your score. B1 level language skills may be sufficient for some of the sub-tests that involve visual understanding of flow charts and diagrams. However, many sections have lengthy questions that require students to filter important information, comprehend language nuances, and understand tricky formulations. For example, there will be complicated-looking texts that test a student‘s reading comprehension of complex materials and their ability to draw conclusions. Since all sections of the exam evaluate cognitive skills, a certain level of fluency in the test language is required to understand the concepts.
Overall, many students find time to answer roughly half the questions, especially in the sections that differ strongly from regular high school curricula. Students need to pay attention to time management. In each test, the questions are presented in increasing order of difficulty. The first questions are very easy. We recommend that you answer these quickly and move on to harder questions. Many students report that they regret having wasted time double-checking answers on the first questions. Answer and move on! And don’t leave any question blank as there is no score penalty for wrong answers. You can use our practice tests (such as the one on Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences Module) to improve your time management skills.
Finally, please familiarize yourself with all sections before the day of the test so that during the test, you use the allotted time to solving questions. The difficulty level of our guidebooks is generally slightly higher than the level of the actual test. This will help you prepare well for the exam and on test day, answer all questions with confidence.
In which language should I take the exam?
We recommend that you take the test in the language you feel most confident in. Even if your studies will be in German, you may consider taking the exam in English, provided that your English skills surpass your German language skills.
The TestAS is offered in German and English. Students with minimum B1-level proficiency may take the exam. This language level may be sufficient for some of the subtests that involve visual understanding of flow charts and diagrams, but many sections have lengthy questions, which require students to filter important information, comprehend language nuances, and understand tricky formulations. Since all sections of the exam evaluate cognitive skills, a certain level of fluency in the test language is required to understand the concepts. Language skills have a very strong impact on your grade!
How much does the TestAS cost?
The TestAS exam fee is 80 Euro and must be paid at the time of online registration.
Refugees may be eligible to take the TestAS free of charge. Further information can be found on the TestAS website.
Registering for the Exam: How, When and Where?
To be admitted to the TestAS exam, you will need to register online at https://www.testas.de. The exam is offered on specific dates and at test centres in several countries and larger German cities. For information on dates and centre locations, please visit the TestAS website.
During the registration process, you will be required to enter personal information, including a username and password.
For any queries about registration, including cancellation and payment, please contact the TestAS Institute directly.
Where can I take the TestAS?
The TestAS can be taken at various test centres, both overseas and in Germany. Visit the TestAS website for addresses of the test centres in Germany and worldwide.
Structure of the TestAS
The TestAS consists of a Core Test and Subject-Specific Modules.
The Core Test lasts 110 minutes and assesses the skills necessary for successful studies in all university-level subjects.
The Subject-Specific Modules pertain to your chosen field of study and last 145-150 minutes.
The Core Test and the Subject-Specific Modules are paper-based, multiple-choice tests.
The Core Test assesses a student’s general skills required for university-level courses. Every student must take this 110-minute exam. This portion of the test is divided into 4 timed sections:
Section 1 "Solving Quantitative Problems" (45 minutes): Students are asked to solve quantitative word problems consisting of brief texts requiring mathematical reasoning and simple calculations. Many international students find that their high school studies in their home countries prepared them well for this section
Section 2 "Inferring Relationships" (10 minutes) focuses on inferring relationships. Using common themes, it requires students to make connections between word pairs. You can get a very good feel for this section by practicing with the questions in our guidebooks.
Section 3 "Completing Patterns" (20 minutes) requires students to recognize patterns and, from a number of options given, choose the next logical answer to the pattern. This section is perceived to be the most difficult section of the Core Test. Many students report being able to answer less than half the questions of this section. Standard rules reoccur here. So it is wise to practice for this section in advance.
Section 4 "Continuing Numerical Series" (25 minutes) tests the student’s ability to continue numerical sequences. Students report this section to be straightforward. In the numerical sequences of our book, you will find details helping you with a few frequently occurring difficult relationships.
Please note that before the end of each subsection, you must enter your answers on the one-page answer sheet. Once a subsection is finished, you cannot go back to the pages, even if you have ample time left in another section.
Every student must choose one of four subject-specific modules relating to his/her anticipated course of undergraduate studies:
• Humanities, Cultural Studies and Social Sciences
• Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences
Humanities, Cultural Studies and Social Sciences (150 minutes – 3 Sections)
Section 1 "Understanding and Interpreting Texts" tests a student’s ability to read, understand, and draw conclusions from short paragraphs. The best way to practice for this section is to develop your language skills.
Section 2 "Using Representation Systems Flexibly" measures inductive reasoning skills by displaying text in diagrams and requiring students to draw general conclusions or, conversely, by presenting a brief paragraph that students must then diagram. Compared to the regular high school curricula, this section is quite unusual. Please make sure that you understand this question type well before taking the exam. You can then focus solely on solving questions during the exam. Overall, students find time to answer roughly half the questions of the TestAS exam. Remember: Time is precious. Please familiarize yourself with this question type before the day of the test.
Section 3 "Recognising Linguistic Structures" measures the ability to recognize language patterns and semantic relationships. Students are required to derive meanings from individual words and grammar rules in a fictitious language, with English counter-parts, and then use this knowledge to create new sentences. The question type is unusual, but once you understand the underlying logic, solving these questions becomes much easier. Please do take the time to practice.
Engineering (150 minutes – 3 Sections)
This exam measures a student’s ability to infer concepts from the abstract and to abstract from scientific or technical facts. It is broken down into three sections:
Section 1 "Formalising Technical Interrelationships" requires students to formalize technical interrelationships by transferring technical or scientific facts described verbally into a formulaic presentation. The content of this section is covered in the physics curricula of many countries. Please see the official website of TestAS for a list of formula that you need to understand to successfully complete this section.
Section 2 "Visualising Solids" measures your spatial sense. Students are asked to infer perspectives of a solid form from a different specified view of the solid. From the perspective of a high school graduate, this section is quite unusual. Yet this section tests a skill that you will use widely during your engineering studies. You can significantly improve your grades in this section by practicing.
Section 3 "Analysing Technical Interrelationships" requires students to analyse and interpret diagrams, charts, or tables representing technical laws and formulae using topics from the physical sciences. The questions come from physics, astronomy, chemistry, and earth sciences. Theoretically, the questions are worded in such a way that anyone with a general understanding of the main concepts of nature can answer them correctly. Yet studying the topics in advance strongly helps you proceed quickly and answer all questions during the allotted time. To score high on this subsection, please take a look at your high school science books, focusing especially on any topic with explanations in graphics and images.
Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences (145 minutes - 2 Sections)
Section 1 "Analysing Scientific Interrelationships" tests a student’s general knowledge of natural science concepts by presenting them with texts and illustrations that require separating relevant facts from irrelevant data and then answering a series of questions or drawing conclusions. The questions include a broad range of natural science topics from astronomy, geography, botany as well as typical high school science themes. Theoretically, the questions are worded in such a way that anyone with an understanding of the main concepts of nature can answer them correctly. Yet studying the topics in advance strongly helps you save time and answer all questions in the allotted time. To score high on this subsection, please take a look at your high school math and science books, focusing especially on any topic which is explained with graphics. In our sample tests questions, we included topics from a broad variety of natural science topics, as typically included in the TestAS exam.
Section 2 "Understanding Formal Depictions" measures the ability to transpose concrete concepts into models by diagramming information presented in text into a flow chart or, conversely, writing text for information presented in a diagram. This section is quite unusual compared to regular high school curricula, but you can practice well for it. Please make sure that you understand this question type well before the exam, so that during the exam, you can focus solely on solving questions. This is the last section of the long exam, and it is quite tiring, given the lengthy texts and visuals. Many students report being unable to answer even half the questions. This test counts for half of your Natural Science grade, and by preparing for it and staying focused until the end, you can achieve a much better grade. (Please note that this section may use natural sciences topics, but content knowledge is irrelevant. This question type is very similar to the second section of the Economics test.)
Economics (150 minutes – 2 Sections)
Section 1 "Analysing Economic Interrelationships" tests the student’s ability to separate important facts from irrelevant data by analysing economic tables, charts and diagrams, and drawing logical conclusions. You need to interpret various types of charts and tables. We included detailed examples in our guide books.
Section 2 "Analysing Processes" requires students to convert concrete economic facts into flow charts. This section also assesses critical and analytical thinking skills by testing a student’s ability to formalize sequences. This section is quite unusual compared to regular high school curricula, but you can practice well for it. Please make sure that you understand this question type well before the exam, so that during the exam, you can focus solely on solving questions. This is the last section of the long exam, and it is quite tiring, given the lengthy texts and visuals. Many students report being unable to answer even half the questions. This test counts for half of your Natural Science grade, and by preparing for it and staying focused until the end, you can achieve a much better grade. (Please note that this section may use economics-related topics, but content knowledge is irrelevant. This question type is very similar to the second section of the Natural Sciences test.)
What do I need to bring?
• You will be required to present a valid piece of photo identification. (It must be the same piece of identification you used to register online.)
• A print-out of the email you received from the test centre confirming your TestAS registration and information
• Several ball-point pens to complete the Core Test and Subject-Specific Modules
• Your username and password from www.testas.de in case you need it on the day.
• Optional: stopwatch for time management (mobile phones are not permitted in the testing area, even if you only want to use the watch function)
In what order are the sections administered?
The test begins with the Core Test. After a break, usually lasting 30 minutes, the test continues with the selected Specialized Module lasting from 145-150 minutes.
The total amount of time required to complete the TestAS is over 4 hours. Be sure to get plenty of sleep the night before and bring drinks and a snack to maintain your energy level during the exam.
How will the exam be administered?
For the Core Test and Subject-Specific Modules, you will be given a small exercise book. You will record your answers with a ball-point pen on a separate sheet of paper. Answers written in the exercise book will not be considered.
May I bring aids to the exam?
Students must bring their own ball-point pens. All other aids, including calculators, dictionaries, mobile phones, etc., are prohibited. Paper for note taking and an answer sheet will be provided by the test centre.
The TestAS Certificate
Once the TestAS has been completed, a certificate is issued to those that have taken the test. The TestAS certificate contains a list of grades for each section of the test. These scores are used by universities to determine acceptance into a course of study.
The certificate is usually available approximately four weeks following the completion of the test. It can be accessed online via the TestAS participant portal (using the participant’s username and password), and is valid indefinitely.
Students may retake the TestAS if their result is unfavourable. While this does not guarantee a better result, better preparation for the TestAS may help to achieve a higher score.