• FAQ for Institutions





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  • How can we obtain an onSET test centre licence?

    You can find information about the conditions and the licensing procedure here.

  • Which test principle is the onSET based on?

    The onSET is based on the C-Test principle. The onSET’s test tasks are gap tests which are created according to the rules for constructing C-Tests. Read more about this here.

  • Does the onSET provide information about individual language competences?

    No. No differentiating statements can be made about the competences reading, listening, writing or speaking using the onSET results. However, there are close, empirically proven connections (correlations) to all four language competences.

  • Which CEFR levels are differentiated?

    The result in the onSET, i.e. the total number of points, corresponds to one of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) levels A2, B1, B2 and C1. No differentiation is made below A2 and above C1.

  • Which institutions can obtain an onSET licence?

    Educational institutions can apply for a licence, as well as institutions which can guarantee secure, competent and technically faultless administration of the online language test. DAAD lectorates and already licensed TestDaF and TestDaF centres may also obtain an onSET licence.

  • How much does it cost to obtain an onSET test centre licence?

    Issue of an onSET licence is free of charge for the applying institutions.

  • Which technical requirements are necessary for implementation of the onSET?

    In order to run the onSET, you need a computer room with a network of at least two computers with internet access. One computer is used as a control computer to control the test. The participant computers and the control computer should be equipped with the latest versions of the internet browsers Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

  • Can the test be taken on tablets or other mobile devices?

    No. The placement test can only be taken on a desktop computer or laptop.

  • Which browser should be used for the implementation of the test?

    Please use the current versions of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome for the participant computers and the control computer. Using these browsers guarantees a stable implementation of the test.

  • Is it possible to use test data for research purposes?

    If you would like to conduct scientific research on the onSET, please address your request to the TestDaF-Institut.

Transaction numbers

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  • What are transaction numbers (TANs) required for?

    Transaction numbers (TANs) are used by the test taker s participants to book a test. Test centres acquire the TANs online from the TestDaF Institute.

  • How much does a TAN cost?

    The price of one onSET TAN varies between 4 and 9 euros (plus 7% VAT) depending on the number purchased. TANs for 50 or more tests can be purchased in increasingly cheaper packages. The largest package containing 500 TANS costs only 4 euros per test (plus 7% VAT).

  • How can TANs be ordered?

    TANs can be ordered online via the portal for licensed test centres. An invoice for the order is generated automatically in the form of a pdf download. After receipt of payment the TAN package you have ordered is made available in the test centre portal. DAAD lectorates also order TANs via the test centre portal but do not receive an invoice. The TANs are available online a short time later.

  • How long are the TANs valid?

    TANs remain valid until they are used to book a test date and until the day of the booked test has passed. Whenever you order new TANs, all previously ordered and unused TANs remain valid. In the test centre portal you can see which TANs have been used and which are still valid. If you want to change a test date booked for one day to another day, then you must do so the day before the test date at the latest. Without rebooking the TAN becomes invalid at midnight of the following day.

Planning of test dates

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  • How many participants may be admitted per test date?

    The number of participants who can sit the placement test on the same date (day, time) depends on the number of computers with internet access. For example, if ten computers are available, then a maximum of 9 test takers can sit the test at the same time (one computer is required as the control computer).

  • What if participants are late and turn up after the test has begun?

    As a rule, participants are only entitled to be tested on the booked test date (day, time). However, you are free to allow late participants to sit the placement test on the same test day. Rescheduling by you or rebooking by the participants is not required. If the test is to take place on another day, then a new booking (with a new TAN) is necessary.

  • Can both languages be tested during one test sitting?

    Yes. It is possible to sit the onSET-Deutsch and onSET-English in the same room at the same time.

  • Can test dates be set up and implemented at any time?

    Yes. There are no scheduling restrictions for the planning and implementation of the onSET. The onSET is available online at all times as long as no maintenance work is being carried out.

  • When does maintenance take place?

    Maintenance to the portals and webpages is necessary to update and develop the test system. Maintenance is carried out at two-week intervals on Wednesdays from 6 to 9am (German time). The availability of the test centre portal, the participant portal  for participants and the onSET site may be restricted during this time. You will be informed if you select a test date during a period of maintenance. Please take this into consideration when planning to avoid disruption of the test procedure.

Test administration

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  • What if there is an unstable internet connection or a complete computer failure during an onSET test?

    If there is an interruption during the test caused by an unstable internet connection or a complete computer failure, then the participants affected must restart the placement test. A new booking is not required.

  • Should care be taken to ensure that the participants do not copy from one another?

    It is highly unlikely that two participants will receive the same texts in the same order. In exceptional circumstances it could happen that participants gain an advantage in individual gaps by glancing at their neighbour’s monitor Please ensure sufficient distance (or install screens) between the workplaces.

  • Is a connection to a printer necessary for the implementation of the placement test?

    No. A printer is not necessary for the administration of the test or publication of the test results. The results are available at all times in the test centre portal and in the participant portal. You or the participants can print the certificates at a later date if need be.

  • What should be considered during the identity check?

    As soon as the list of participants who have logged in on their computers appears on the monitor of the control computer, you can start the identity check. You check the identity of each individual participant by asking to be shown a valid ID document with a photograph (passport, identity card, driving licence). Participants who have been succesfullysuccessfully identified are marked in the list of participants. Only then can you begin the test.

  • Does the control computer have special technical requirements?

    No. Any computer in the network can be used as the control computer. You must register on the control computer using the login details of your test centre before the participants log in on their computers.

  • What is the purpose of the control computer?

    You can oversee the complete test procedure using the control computer: you can identify the participants, start the test and see the current status of individual participants (“Test running” or “Test completed”).

  • Which settings are required on the participants‘ computers?

    The participants‘ computers should be configured in such a way that login details cannot be saved. The required settings of the internet browser (authorisation of pop-up windows, cookies and activation of JavaScript) can be checked using the browser test before the test begins. The browser test is also available as a menu option in the test centre portal.

Scoring and certificate

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  • How can the authenticity of an onSET certificate be verified?

    You can verify the authenticity of submitted certificates at any time using online verification.

  • How are the results correlated to the individual CEFR levels?

    The number of points achieved decides the placement result. The cut-off scores between the individual levels are established after thorough empirical analysis. The TestDaF-Institut reserves the right to modify the cut-off scores depending on the constructive development of the item bank  and the results of further studies on the accuracy of placements.

  • How long are test results available?

    The test results of all participants are stored permanently. You can access the results and the certificates at any time in the test centre portal.

  • Can finer, more exact placements be made using the results?

    Placement in onSET is analogous to the CEFR levels A2 to C1. Finer, more exact placements, such as B1.1, B1.2 or „lower limit B1“ or „upper limit B1“ are not given. If for specific practical reasons finer graduations within a level are required, you may be guided by the core areas. 

  • Are different standard varieties of English accepted?

    Yes. Participants sitting onSET-English can use their preferred standard variety of English while completing the texts. Their choice has no influence on the test result, no matter whether they prefer British or American spellings.

  • Which rules for spelling in German are used in the test, e.g. for the use of „ß“ and „ss“?

    Both the old and the new spelling rules apply. For example, this means that in permitted cases “ß” can be written as “ss” (as in “Fluss” but not in “Floß”). If the keyboard does not have the letter “ß”, then help is offered by a selection line which in onSET-Deutsch appears below each gap text and can be used by clicking.

  • May participants enter the German umlauts as vowel combinations, “ae”, “oe” or “ue”?

    No. Umlauts must be entered correctly. If the keyboard does not have these letters, then help is offered by a selection line which appears below each gap text and can be used by clicking.

  • How are typing errors (e.g. inadvertent duplicates) assessed?

    The participants should complete all of the gaps correctly. Typing errors are counted as mistakes. The time for completing each text is measured in such a way to allow participants sufficient time to correct any mistakes they may make while entering answers.

  • FAQ for Participants





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  • Can an onSET certificate be used instead of a TestDaF certificate?

    No. The onSET certificate is not a replacement for TestDaF or any other language certificate for admission to higher education. The onSET has the sole purpose of  providing a general placement of your language knowledge. For example, with an onSET placement result you can find a language course which corresponds to your level.

  • Can I sit the onSET for different languages on the same day?

    Yes. You can take the placement test for German and for English on the same day. However, your test centre must have dates and places available for both languages on the day you select.

  • Where can I get a TAN?

    You can get a TAN from the test centre where you would like to sit the onSET.

  • What is a TAN?

    TAN stands for transaction number. You need a TAN to book a test date.

  • How much does it cost to take the online language placement test?

    Your test centre will tell you how much it costs to sit the onSET.

  • Where can I sit the onSET?

    You can find a list of onSET test centres here.

  • What if I forget my login details?

    If you have forgotten your password, you can request a new one here. If you have forgotten your username, send an email to

  • Can I take the test on a tablet or smartphone?

    No. Secure, reliable and fair test participation is only possible on a desktop or laptop computer.

  • How do I register for the test?

    You must book a test date in order to sit the onSET. You can book the date as soon as you have registered as a participant. In order to complete booking you need a transaction number (TAN) which you can get from your test centre.


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  • What do I have to take with me to the test?

    You must bring a valid form of identification with a photograph (passport, ID card or driving licence). This will be used to check your identity before the test begins.

  • How can I prepare for the online placement test?

    Before you sit the onSET, you should familiarise yourself with the test format. You can find a sample test here.

  • How many tasks does the onSET contain? How long does the test take?

    onSET contains eight tasks. Each task is a gap text with 20 gaps. You have a maximum of five minutes for each gap text. The test takes a maximum of 40 minutes in total.

  • Do I need a good knowledge of computers to take the online placement test?

    No. You only need to know how to use a keyboard and a mouse.

Booking a test date

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  • Can I change a test date which I have already booked?

    Yes. Go to „My Tests“ in the test taker portal, click “ Change test date” and select a new date. Please note that a test date can only be changed the day before the test at the latest. Changing the test language is not possible.

  • When is the deadline for booking a test date?

    The deadlines are determined by your test centre.

  • Can I book more than one test date?

    Yes. It is possible to book two tests. However, this is only the case when one of the tests is in English and the other in German. It is not possible to book more than one test date for the same language. 


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  • How are errors such as entering the same letter twice or mixing up letters by mistake assessed?

    All deviations from the correct spelling of a word are counted as errors. As a rule you will have sufficient time to correct any typing errors. However, please note that you will not be able to return to texts which you have already worked on and completed.

  • Are different standard varieties of English considered correct?

    Yes. Choosing the British or American spelling of a word is not relevant for assessment. Please make sure you spell correctly.

  • How can I enter the German umlauts (ä, ö or ü) and ß if I need these letters?

    You may not write the German umlauts as the combinations „ae“, „oe“ or „ue“. If the keyboard does not have these letters, then help is offered by a selection line which appears below each gap text. Click the letter you need. It will be entered in the space selected.

  • How should I complete the gaps?

    You should complete the gaps correctly by writing only one solution in each gap. If you write two or more solutions in a gap, then it will be counted as an error (e.g. two solutions which are separated by a slash or a space).

  • Is it permitted to use any aids during the test?

    No. The use of aids is not permitted.

Results and Certificate

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  • Is the authenticity of a certificate verifiable?

    Yes. Any institution to which you submit your certificate can check the authenticity of your certificate by using online verification.

  • How long can I access my certificate in the test taker portal?

    Your test result is stored permanently. You can access and print your onSET certificate at any time.

  • How are my answers assessed?

    For every correct answer, i.e. for every correctly completed gap, you get exactly one point. The sum of all points is your onSET score (between 0 and 160 points). The number of points you score is matched to one of the levels used in the global scale of the Common European Frame of Reference for Languages (CEFR): “below A2”,”A2”, “B1”, “B2”, or “C1 (or higher)”.

  • Can I see my answers after the test is finished?

    No. You cannot see your answers once the test is finished. During the test you can only see the text which you are working on. You cannot return to the previous tasks.