Frequently Asked Questions


Can I take the test on my tablet or smartphone?

No. Participation in the onSET is only possible on a computer or laptop.

How much does the onSET cost?

Participation in the onSET is free for registered refugees in Germany.

Can I take the onSET-Deutsch and the onSET-English on the same day?

Yes. You can decide for yourself whether you want to take both tests or only one. You can take both tests one after the other.

IMPORTANT: You must complete one test first before you start the second.

How many times can I take the onSET?

You can take the onSET only once. Before you sit the test you should familiarise yourself with the test. To help with this, you can use a sample test, which you can find here.

How can language skills above B2 be measured?

If a participant achieves a very high score in the onSET, they can take the longer version of the test, which also measures C1.

How many tasks does the onSET have? How long does the test take?

The onSET includes six tasks. Each task consists of a text with 20 gaps. For each text you have five minutes. Overall, the test takes a maximum of 30 minutes.

How can I prepare for the test?

Before you sit the onSET you should familiarise yourself with the test format. To help with this you can see a sample test with four gap exercises here. The onSET-Deutsch and onSET-English texts look just like these texts. If you complete these texts, then you will become more familiar with the test.

Must I have good computer skills in order to take the onSET?

No. You just need to know how to use a keyboard and mouse.
IMPORTANT: You need a keyboard with the Latin alphabet.

Can I use aids such as dictionaries during the test?

No. Only when you take the test without help can you use your test result to find an appropriate language course.

How are the gaps completed?

Any completed gaps must be linguistically correct. Write only one solution in each gap. It is considered an error if you write two or more solutions (e.g. two suggestions separated by a slash or a space).

How can I enter German umlauts (“ä”, “ö” or “ü”) and “ß” when I need these characters?

You may not write German umlauts as combinations “ae”, “oe” or “ue”. If your keyboard does not have umlauts or “ß“ then a selection line which appears below the gap texts will help. Click the character you need with the left mouse button and it will be inserted in the desired location.

Are different standard varieties of English considered correct?

Yes. It is not relevant for the assessment for example whether you choose either the British or American spelling of a word. However it is important that it is always the correct spelling.

How are accidental errors such as duplication or incorrect letters marked?

All deviations from the correct spelling of a word will be marked as wrong. Typically, you have plenty of time to correct these mistakes. Note that you cannot return to completed, finalised texts.

Technical Requirements
What browser settings are needed for participation in onSET?

The correct setting of your Internet browser (approval of pop-up windows, cookies and Javascript) is automatically checked before starting the test. If changes are necessary, then it is indicated.

If you do not sit the test on your own computer ensure your password is not stored.

What happens if there is a computer failure during the test (e.g. due to a power failure)?

If your computer fails during the test you can start the onSET from the beginning. You can easily subscribe again with your user name and password.

Results and Certificate of Completion
Can I see my answers after the test?

No. You will not be able to see your answers later. During the test only the text you are currently working on is displayed.

How are my answers evaluated?

For every correct answer, i.e. for every correct completion of a gap, you will receive one point. The total points received is your onSET point score. It can vary between 0 (minimum) and 120 (maximum) points. Your point score allows a classification in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). It will be assigned to one of the levels are “below A2”, “A2”, “B1”, “B2 (or higher)”.

Is it possible to make finer classifications by the results?

The classification in the onSET for refugees is analogous to the GER levels A2 to B2. Finer classifications, such as B1.1 or B1.2 or “lower limit B1” or “upper limit B1”, are not reported. If special practical demands require gradations within a level, you can use the following core areas as an orientation:
– For the onSET-German: A2: 39 to 43 points, B1: 59 to 63 points and B2: 82 to 86 points.
– For the onSET-English: A2: 41 to 45 points, B1: 61 to 65 points and B2: 87-91 points.
So the classification A2 in the onSET-German with 35 points could be assigned to the lower level A2, the classification B1 with 69 points the upper B1-range, etc. In the onSET-English for example A2 with 49 points mean a higher A2-level classification and B2 with 80 points in the lower B2 area.

Does this certificate of completion replace the general onSET certificate?

No. The onSET certificate will only be issued if the test takes place under controlled conditions. An identity check takes place before the test, and during the test, supervisory personnel are present. The certificate of completion is valid only for participation in the version for refugees which takes place without supervision.

How long is my certificate of completion available in the portal?

Your test result will be permanently stored. You may call up your certificate of completion at any time in the portal and print it out. If you have sat both onSET-Deutsch as well as onSET-English you can print off a certificate of completion for each exam.

Is the authenticity of a certificate of completion verifiable?

Yes. The authenticity can be verified by any institution where you submit the document. The internet address for verification is on the certificate of completion.