The funded project

onSET for Refugees was funded from 2016 to 2019 by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with funds from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). It was part of a package of measures by the Ministry that also included the TestAS for Refugees and uni-assist e.V.


Facts and figures

From the beginning of April 2016 to the end of December 2019, 11,290 refugees registered for the language placement test. 8,578 of these took one of the two available tests. Below are figures and graphs showing onSET use and results.











The German-language version of onSET for Refugees was selected much more frequently than its English-language counterpart: 8,294 German tests compared to 826 English tests.








Most participants were male, between 17 and 24 years old and come from Syria. These data have remained stable throughout the entire project duration.




























Use in relation to country of origin has shifted somewhat during the four-year project duration. Initially, a very low proportion from Turkey registered for onSET for Refugees – in 2019, 26.4% of participants came from Turkey, making it the second most common country of origin.











The CEFR level achieved has also changed slightly over the four years. In 2016, 39% of participants achieved level A2; in 2018, the German level seemed to improve but this year it was only 25%. In 2019, the number of lower performers rose again. In comparison, the results in the English onSET look better.






























The g.a.s.t. study on refugees: “Language. Studies. Integration”

After the initial project phase, g.a.s.t. carried out an online survey of TestDaF, TestAS and onSET participants in the spring of 2017. They answered questions on their educational background, their personal circumstances in Germany and their education and study goals.
The whole report can be viewed here: “Language. Studies. Integration. The g.a.s.t. study on refugees”.


Voices of participants


Mohamad from Syria

“I’ve been a refugee here in Germany for 14 months and I’ve been interested in the TestDaF for months. That’s why I wanted to find out exactly how I’m doing and whether I’m ready to take part in the TestDaF. After a long search, I found the free onSET.
In 15 minutes, I was already done. In my view, the number of questions was sufficient to measure my language skills.
I was quite happy with my result: I didn’t need to do an additional course and I could start preparing for the TestDaF.”


Riyad from Syria

“I took the onSET so that I would be placed in the right language course and it actually really helped. Initially, many participants were at different levels. Then we did onSET and were placed into groups. Then everyone was on the right language course.”

Abu Lira

Abu Lira from Iraq

“The test was important for me to find out my language level. I want to learn the language for many reasons, e.g. to express how I feel. I have to learn the language to integrate into society and to understand traditions and customs. And I have to learn the language so that I can understand the law of the land. It’s important for me so that I can complete my studies, work, talk to the doctor if I’m ill. And I would earn money so that I can live well.”


Mohamad from Syria

“I’ve taken onSET twice to get a scholarship. I like the type of task and that the test can be taken at any time. I also found the length of the test very suitable.”


Mohebullah from Afghanistan

“I’ve been living in Germany for almost two years. onSET is an online test that any participant can take, wherever and whenever it suits them best. Another plus is that the test is free. You get the result straight away as a precise percentage, so you know how good your German skills are and you can keep learning. I was very happy with onSET and I would recommend it to you.”

Prince KaniDr. Iryna Shalaginova, Universität Koblenz-Landau

Prince from Gambia

“I liked taking part in onSET. The test is very suitable for finding out how good your language level is. You have to concentrate hard when you take part in this test. Afterwards, you find out where your language problems are and what needs to be improved. I’m very grateful that I took the test. I particularly liked the test structure. It tests different areas where you can use your skills and also helps to expand your vocabulary.”


Salem from Syria

“I did onSET to find out my exact level for the DSH exam because I needed proof of at least B2 to do this. The test was very convenient, extremely practical and very quick to complete. You do it easily on the computer and get the result straight away at the end. I would really recommend this test right away. It helped me a great deal and it’s never a problem to sit at the computer for a few minutes and do the test. You will definitely NEVER regret it!”

Dr. Iryna Shalaginova, Universität Koblenz-Landau

Mohanad from Syria

“I did onSET as I wanted to know my language proficiency level. I also wanted to do the TestDaF exam. I recommend this placement test to everyone because it includes different topics and is a good test of the language abilities of participants.
I did the test in May 2018 and achieved level C1 or higher. The test was really good and very helpful.”