Exam structure and principles



1. Close contact with reality

If possible, texts and tasks are authentic and adapted to real-life situations. The situations in which speaking takes place are chosen for their relevance and representativeness. This not only includes the authenticity of texts and tasks, but also their situational context.

2. Adequate test formats

The tasks are designed to reflect the abilities of the candidates as closely as possible, e.g. when testing listening skills, the results should not be distorted by a task that also asks for excellent writing skills, a good memory or successful oral production. Conversely, in order to achieve valid results regarding productive skills such as writing and speaking, more open exam formats are employed.

3. Adequate testing sections

To obtain a comprehensive and balanced picture of a person’s language competence, ÖSD exams are divided into different sub-areas. The ÖSD differentiates between individual communicative skills (reading comprehension, listening comprehension, writing skills and speaking) and combined communicative skills (for example listening and speaking: conversation; reading and writing: correspondence). Grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling are regarded as secondary aspects of communicative competence and are, thus, only implicitly checked and assessed.

4. Reliable and precise assessment

Open exercise formats and direct testing place high demands on examiners and assessors. In order to ensure reliable evaluation and assessment, we provide precise assessment guidelines and criteria as well as intensive training for examiners.