Preschool-12 Bilingual Education in
Three Locations in the Bay Area

More About DSD & AP German Exams





For students in our High School program, we offer the AP German Exam
and the Deutsches Sprachdiplom (DSD) I and II Exam.

The primary goal of these exams is to provide official proof of linguistic competency to students who are dedicated to study at a University (either in the US or Germany), or who are interested in careers where German is a prerequisite.
Our students do not have to choose between DSD and AP; we encourage to do them all, and prepare for University in both the US and Germany.

The GISSV Saturday School is a recognized and accredited institution for offering DSD & AP German exam prep courses. For our DSD exam prep courses, we work closely with the Bunderverwaltungsamt in Germany via our German Schools Abroad delegate Dr. Vera Dindoyal. For our AP exam prep courses, we work with the College Board and the GISSV AP Coordinator.

Benefits of DSD1 and DSD2
The Deutsches Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz (German Language Diploma of the Education Ministers Conference), or short DSD of KMK, can be obtained by high school students as a certificate proving German language proficiency on two levels. The exams are designed to test the language proficiency level ranging from A2 - B1 (DSD1) and from B2 - C1 (DSD2) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and test the listening comprehension, reading comprehension, writing skills, and oral communication of the candidate.

  • DSD1 provides students with the linguistic qualification for study at the German Studienkolleg.
  • DSD2 is recognized by all German Universities as proof of language ability required from foreign students who want to study in Germany (where University is tuition-free!)
  • Prepare for college-level work in Germany. DSD2 coursework provides a first foundation for students who wish to study in Germany.

Benefits of Advanced Placement German
AP stands for "Advanced Placement," American college-level courses available to high school students. AP courses provide a challenge for motivated students who are interested in working more intensively in their field of choice. AP courses allow students to begin earning credit toward a college degree.

  • Explore more challenging coursework. AP work offers students the opportunity to work independently and with students who are as excited by the subject as they are.
  • Improve college applications. Admissions officers recognize the work and commitment required by AP courses. Having AP classes as part of the course schedule improves the application profile.
  • Prepare for college-level work. AP coursework provides a solid foundation for work in college.
  • Get ahead in college. Earning college credit in high school allows the student to advance more rapidly through both the major and general education requirements.
  • Save money on tuition. Every course a student does not have to take in college is money saved.

Participating in any of these exams requires a serious commitment from the students and the support of the student's family. The work load and required maturity level especially for the DSD2 exam are challenging.
The DSD exams may only be re-taken if the student fails completely (which is unlikely, as we pre-screen our candidates). If a student attains only the lower level, i.e. the A2 level for DSD1 or the B2 level for DSD2, this is the student's final exam outcome. While virtually all German Universities accept the DSD2 at the C1 level as proof of German language proficiency required for admission, they may reject a student with a B2 level DSD2. Therefore, it is important for students to consider and commit to their language goals. The Saturday School staff and administration are always available to support and advise them.

If you wish to discuss your child's ultimate language goals, and potential exam readiness, please contact the Head of Saturday School at jmarsh@gissv.org

Deutsches Sprachdiplom I (DSD1)

DSD1 at the GISSV Saturday School is offered every Spring Semester.

The DSD1 exam provides proof of German language proficiency required for admission to Studienkolleg in Germany.

The DSD1 exam tests competencies in reading, listening, writing, and speaking at the A2/B1 level.
To register for the DSD1 exam, students must be 14-16 years old, and must have completed at least an B1 level course at the GISSV Saturday School (Grade 7 or 8) or other institution.

Prior to enrollment in the course, we may test potential DSD1 students individually or in groups with a sample essay written under supervision of the instructor on campus. We will not accept students into the DSD course if they are not likely to succeed.

Our exam prep course prepares students to understand the exam structure and to succeed in all tested modules. It is not possible to take the DSD exams without being enrolled in an exam prep course at an accredited institution.

Students participate in two separate DSD1 exam dates in the spring semester.
Dates are set by German authorities, and will be announced when available. On the first exam date, students complete an written exam evaluating reading comprehension, listening comprehension, and essay writing. Completed exams are sent to Germany for evaluation. On the second exam date, students present orally before an exam board in both a short a guided conversation and a short student-prepared power point presentation with Q&A.

Each of the four sections--Reading, Listening, Writing, (tested on first exam date), and Speaking (tested on second exam date)--account for 25% of the exam. Students can score per section a maximum of 24 points. The total amount of acquired points of each section will determine the level of language proficiency.

Students will receive a diploma presented by the German Consulate General of San Francisco listing the individual scores of each of the four sections.

Exam dates are set by German authorities, and make -up dates are not negotiable. It is therefore crucial that students signing up for the DSD exam courses will make attendance in the course and exam dates their semester-long primary commitment.

Students aiming to take the DSD2 exam for the purpose of German University admission are advised to also take the DSD1. The DSD1 is the "dress rehearsal" for the DSD2.


Advanced Placement (AP) German

AP German is our goal for all GISSV Saturday School students. The exam itself is offered around May each year.

Our AP German course prepares students to understand the exam structure and to succeed in all tested modules. It is not possible to take the AP exam without being enrolled in an AP course at an accredited institution. In addition to the $650 course fee per semester, a $94 exam fee applies, and is paid separately upon registration for the exam through the GISSV.

Our AP students take the AP German exam with the GISSV students on GISSV campus on the exam date set by the College Board. The exam tests German reading, listening comprehension, writing, and speaking at the B2 level.

The exam is approximately 3 hours long and has two sections — multiple choice and free-response. Read more about the AP German exam on the College Board's website. Note that as part of the free-response section, students listen to questions on headphones, and record their spoken responses. This constitutes the speaking testing. The recorded audio is sent to the College Board for evaluation, along with the student's written work and multiple choice answers.

AP tests are scored on a scale of 1-5. Students with a grade of 3 or higher are recommended to receive advanced placement in college and/or credit for a college course. However, some colleges might require a 4 or 5 for students to receive credit. Keep in mind that passing the AP exam doesn't guarantee you'll receive college credit. Only your prospective college can confer credit for AP coursework; policies vary from school to school.

Please note that exam results are not provided to the GISSV Saturday School. Instead, each student must set up their own account with the College Board and access their results there individually.

Let your high School counselor know if you are taking AP German with us, so they can add it to your transcript.

Deutsches Sprachdiplom II (DSD2)

DSD2 at the GISSV Saturday School is offered every Fall Semester.

The DSD2 exam at the C1 level provides proof of German language proficiency required for admission to College or University in Germany. This exam is the highest certification offered at the GISSV Saturday School, and the official language proficiency certification is reward for our students' investment in formally learning the German language.

The DSD2 exam tests competencies in reading, listening, writing, and speaking at the B2/C1 level.
To register for the DSD2 exam, students must be 16-18 years old, and must have completed at least a B2/C1 level course at the GISSV Saturday School (Grade 9 or 10) or other institution.

Prior to enrollment in the course, we may test potential DSD2 students individually or in groups with a sample essay written under supervision of the instructor on campus. We will not accept students into the DSD course if they are not likely to succeed.

Our exam prep course prepares students to understand the exam structure and to succeed in all tested modules. It is not possible to take the DSD exams without being enrolled in an exam prep course at an accredited institution.

Students participate in two separate DSD2 exam dates in the fall semester. Dates are set by German authorities, and will be announced when available. On the first exam date, students complete an written exam evaluating reading comprehension, listening comprehension, and essay writing. Completed exams are sent to Germany for evaluation. On the second exam date, students present orally before an exam board in both a short a guided conversation and a short student-prepared power point presentation with Q&A.

Each of the four sections--Reading, Listening, Writing, (tested on first exam date), and Speaking (tested on second exam date)--account for 25% of the exam. Students can score per section a maximum of 24 points. The total amount of acquired points of each section will determine the level of language proficiency.

Students will receive a diploma presented by the German Consulate General of San Francisco listing the individual scores of each of the four sections.


Exam dates are set by German authorities, and make -up dates are not negotiable. It is therefore crucial that students signing up for the DSD exam courses will make attendance in the course and exam dates their semester-long primary commitment.

Students aiming to take the DSD2 exam for the purpose of German University admission are advised to also take the DSD1. The DSD1 is the "dress rehearsal" for the DSD2.

DSD & AP German Exam Dates for 2017-18

Note that to participate in any of the exams, students must be enrolled in our exam preparation courses. Enrollment for exam prep courses happens at the same time as enrollment for all our classes: for the Fall Semester in August, and for our Spring Semester in December. See our Registration information.
All exams held at our campus.

Fall Semester 2017
DSD2 ZfA exam registration deadline: September 17, 2017
DSD2 Written Exam: December 16, 2017, 8am
DSD2 Oral Exam: January 20, 2018, 8am

Spring Semester 2018
DSD1 ZfA exam registration deadline: December 22, 2017 (students must be enrolled in our course by this date)
DSD1 Oral Exam: March 17, 2018, 8am
DSD1 Written Exam: April 14, 2018, 8am

Spring Semester 2018
AP College Board exam registration deadline: early February 2018 (an additional $94 exam fee applies at this time)
AP German Exam: May 11, 2018, 8am