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Monday, April 14, 2014

Tips for the TestDaF: Leseverstehen

3 Texts
30 Questions
60 minutes

The first part of the TestDaF is reading comprehension (Leseverstehen). It is comprised of three sections, each of which is harder than the last. So, before you dive into the test, you should know how each text is presented and how the questions are formatted.

Lesetext 1:
Time: 10 Minutes

The first text is composed of 8 short descriptions labeled A through H. On the answer sheet, you will find 2 examples (01-02) and 10 graded questions (1-10).
Your job is to read each of the statements (1-10), and then find the matching description (A-H). Since there are only 8 descriptions, and A was already used for the example question (01), you will have to mark three of the statements (1-10) with an I. Marking a statement I means that there is no description that fits for that student.


Sie suchen ein Buch für...
1. eine Schülerin, die ein Referat über die Geschichte europäischer Länder halten muss.
2. eine Studentin, die sich für Lyrik interessiert.
3. einen Freund, der eine Gedichtanalyse schreiben muss.

A. Welches Gedicht passt zu mir? Französische Liebesgedichte (€8.90) Dieses Buch bietet über 150 verschiedene Liebesgedichte von zeitgenössischen französischen Dichtern. In diesem liebevoll gestalteten Band kann jeder das perfekte Gedicht, dass zu seinem Liebesleben passt, finden.

B. Europäische Geschichte Kompakt (€29.90) Dieses gewaltige Nachschlagwerk beweist, dass Geschichte Spaß machen kann. Dieses Buch ist ein attraktives Geschenk für Jungendliche, die sich für europäische Geschichte interessieren.

In this example, it is pretty clear that number 1 is B. Numbers 2 and 3, however, each have to do with poems. Read the description, however, and you realize that A would not be much help for an analysis. So, 2 is A, and you should mark 3 with an I.

1. B
2. A
3. I

The topic for this section does change (books, classes, internships, jobs, etc.), but the format is always the same.

  • Start by reading each of the texts first (A-H) to get a feel for what is offered
  • Read #1 and pick a text that fits (or mark I if no text fits)
  • Move on through the questions picking a text as you go
  • Only go back when you run into a text that fits for two numbers, then you can compare them both and make the call as to which is the better fit 
  • Do not spend more than 10 minutes on this section

Lesetext 2:
Time: 20 Minutes

This is the most straightforward section. You are given a one-page article about some kind of scientific study and then ten multiple choice questions (11-20), each of which has three options (A, B, C). The good part here is that the questions occur in order as you read the text.

  • Read the example question (0) before reading the article
  • Begin reading the article, and stop once you get to where the answer of the example question is written
  • Read the next question (1) and answers (A-C)
  • Continue reading article from where you stop until you reach the answer
  • Make a note of where this answer is with a highlighter or pen
  • Circle the correct answer
  • Continue through the text this way (check the next question, continue reading the article until you find the answer) 
  • Do not spend more than 20 minutes on this section

Lesetext 3:
Time: 20 Minutes

This is by far the most difficult one. The text itself is very similar to Lesetext 2, but the questions are a lot different. Basically, you are given ten statements (21-30), and you have to decide if they are true (ja), false (nein), or it is not stated in the text (Text sagt dazu nichts). 

It is very clear when the answer is "Ja.". The problem comes when you must decide between "Nein" and "Text sagt dazu nichts."


1. Wegen des Strahlungsrisikos protestieren große Teile der Bevölkerung gegen die Atomkraft.

In the text:
Als weiteres wichtiges Standbein der Energieversorgung dient derzeit noch die Atomkraft. Wegen der Strahlungsrisiken der Kernspaltung und ihrer Abfallprodukte wird über diese Art der Energieerzeugung kontrovers diskutiert.

We know that it is a controversial topic that is being discussed. However, the text does not say anything about protests. Since it does not directly say whether or not protests are being held, the answer to this would be "Text sagt dazu nichts."
  • Answer all of the questions in order as you would with Lesetext 2
  • Generally, 3 of the 10 answers will be "Text sagt dazu nichts"
    • This is a tip I got from my teacher, who has been working with the TestDaF for decades. So, this is not necessarily going to be true 100% of the time, but she said it was something she has noticed with every test she has seen
  • Do not spend more than 20 minutes on this section

If you follow the suggested time frame, you will have 10 minutes at the end to copy your answers onto the answer sheet and to look over your answers.

Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions!


  1. Courtney, you are doing such a great service for any American student who is thinking of going to Germany to study. I can't believe there are no other congratulatory posts!

  2. Thank you for the congratulatory post!

    I know I had so many unanswered questions when I decided to move to Germany to get my Masters, so I just try to create all the posts that I was looking for back then.


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