February 24, 2024
Texas State University, San Marcos

pass auf rules_TSGC


Please click the tabs for further details about Pass Auf.  

Check out “Game Preparation Tips” for downloadable study lists, proverbs and a video link of a sample Pass Auf! round.

Abridged rules

One novice and one varsity team per school, competing in separate tournaments. Novice teams, consisting only of students in German I and German II who have never competed in Pass auf! before, compete only at the regional level and do not advance to state. 

A team may consist of up to seven players, with no advantaged speakers. However, only up to five players may compete in a given round. Two teams play head-to-head in each game. A game consists of 25 questions – at least five questions from each of the following broad categories: History and Politics, Arts and Letters, Erdkunde,and Odds and Ends, (5*4=20) plus an additional five questions from one of the above categories to round out the 25 questions.  In each category there will be questions valued at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 points, depending upon difficulty. There will also be one 50 point question relating to a specific theme announced each year. 

From the time that a question is read for the first time, the teams have 30 seconds in which to signal. After signaling, a team has 30 seconds to confer before beginning to give the answer. If a team gives a correct answer, it receives the points designated for the question. If the team’s answer is not accepted by the moderator, the moderator will reread the question for the opposing team. It then has 30 seconds to signal whether it wants to try to answer the question. After it signals, it has 30 seconds in which to answer.

Pass Auf : Revised Rules & How to Play 2017
Novice Sample Game

Grammar for 10

In German, some words are spelled with a consonant that does not exist in the English alphabet. Give the German name for this letter?
ANS: Eszet (Scharfes S)

Arts and Letters for 10
Name the German scientist who is considered the father of the American space program?
ANS: Werner von Braun

History and Politics for 10
Name the last major German offensive of WWII in the West.
ANS: Battle of the Bulge

Odds and Ends for 10
As of January 1, 2002, what is the basic monetary unit in Germany?
ANS: Euro
Erdkunde für 10, Auf Deutsch.!
Wie heisst die Hauptstadt von Deutschland?
ANS: Berlin

Odds and Ends for 20
Give the German equivalent of We believe what we wish to believe.
ANS: Was man wünscht, glaubt man gern.

Arts and Letters for 20
Which king of Bavaria was the royal patron of Richard Wagner?
ANS: Ludwig II

Grammar for 20
Give the plural form of the following noun. Mann
ANS: Männer

Erdkunde für 20, Auf Deutsch!
In welchem Bundesland fliesst die Mosel?
ANS: Rheinland-Pfalz

History and Politics for 20
Name the Prussian king who preferred French to German and often calmed his nerves before battle by playing the flute?
ANS: Friedrich der Grosse (Frederick the Great)

Grammar for 30
What are two ways to say it is 4:30 am?
ANS: Es ist halb fünf. Es ist vier Uhr dreissig. (Es dreissig Minuten nach vier Uhr. Es dreissig Minuten vor vier Uhr.)

History and Politics for 30
Two part question. Who is the current Chancellor of Germany and to which political party does he belong?
ANS: (Gerhard) Schrörder SPD

Odds and Ends for 30
What is the German name for the famous boy’s choir from Vienna?
ANS: Wiener Sängerknaben

Arts and Letters for 30
What was the name of the group of artists who gathered in munich before WWI and included the famous Russian-born artist Wassily Kandinsky?
ANS: Der Blaue Reiter

Erdkunde für 30, Auf Deutsch!
Wie heisst die Landeshauptstadt von Niederösterreich?
ANS: Sankt Pölten

Odds and Ends for 40
Give the German equivalent of A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
ANS: Ein Sperling in der Hand ist besser als eine Taube auf dem Dache.

Erdkunde für 40, Auf Deutsch!
Zweiteilig! Wie heisst Deutschlands höchster Berg und in welchem Bundesland steht er?
ANS: Zugspitze Bayern

Arts and Letters for 40
During the 15th century, guilds were formed to cultivate poetry and music. What were the members of these guilds called?
ANS: Meistersinger (Meistersänger)

Grammar for 40
Change the following sentence into the present perfect or conversational past tense – Er lädt uns ein.
ANS: Er hat uns eingeladen.

History and Politics for 40
Name the missionary who attempted to Christianize the Germanic tribes. He established the bishoprics of Salzburg, Regensburg, Passau, and Erfurt.
ANS: St. Boniface

Grammar for 50
Put this sentence into German: She stands in front of the door.
ANS: Sie steht vor der Tür.

Arts and Letters for 50
Multi-part question. What period of German Literature followed the Aufklärung and was characterized by a love of sentimentality, nature and liberty? And who were its two most famous authors?
ANS: Sturm und Drang Goether and Schiller

History and Politics for 50
For the first time since 1933, a freely elected all-German parliament met in what year, in what building, in which German city?
ANS: 1990; Reichstag; Berlin

Erdkunde für 50, Auf Deutsch!
Welche Insel Gruppe liegt an der Nordsee Küste von Schleswig-Holstein?
ANS: Nordfriesische Inseln

Odds and Ends for 50
In Germany and Austria most prices include a value-added tax. What is the German term for this tax?
ANS: Mehrwertsteuer
Back to Pass Auf site

Varsity Sample Game

Varsity Pass Auf Game

Click the following link for a video of a sample round.  Sample Pass Auf Round Video

Grammar for 20
Put this sentence into German. She is washing her face.
ANS: Sie wäscht sich das Gesicht.

2. Grammar for 10
Change the subject and verb in this sentence to plural:
Das Kind ist klein.
ANS: Die Kinder sind klein.

3. Arts and Letter for 30
Which group of Expressionist painters gathered in Dresden in 1905? Emil Nolde and Max Beckmann are well known members of this group.
ANS: Die Brücke

4. History and Politics for 40
After the death of Charles VI, Austria was attacked by Prussia, Bavaria and France. During this war which lasted from 1740-1748 Prussia seized and held Silesia. Name this war.
ANS: War of Austrian Succession

5. Arts and Letters for 40
Which German archeologist discovered and excavated the ancient city of Troy?
ANS: Heinrich Schliemann

6. History and Politics for 30
The first all-German elections to the German Bundestag were held on what date?
ANS: Dec. 2, 1990

7. Erdkunde für 40 Auf Deutsch
Welcher Wald liegt zwischen der Tschechische Republik und Deutschland?
ANS: Böhmerwald

8. History and Politics for 10
Who became the first Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 962?
ANS: Otto I

9. Odds and Ends
Give the German equivalent of – Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
ANS: Aus nichts, wird nichts.

10. Erdkunde für 20 Auf Deutsch
Welcher Fluß ist die Grenze zwischen Liechtenstein und der Schweiz?
ANS: (der) Rhein

11. Odd and Ends for 40
Give the German name for the warm, dry winter winds that come over the northern Alps from the Mediterranean and are blamed for everything from an increase in accidents to an increase in headaches?
ANS: Föhn(wind)

12. Odds and Ends for 30
Give the German name for the famous boy’s vocal group from Vienna?
ANS: Wiener Sängerknaben

13. History and Politics for 50
What agreement issued in 1122 ended the investiture dispute between Henry III and the pope over the selection of bishops?
ANS: Concordat of Worms

14. Arts and Letters for 50
Give the composers for each of the following pieces: Academic Festival Overture, Träumerei, and Der Rosenkavalier.
ANS: Academic Festival Overture – Johannes Brahms
Träumerei – Robert Schumann
Der Rosenkavalier – Richard Strauss

15. Grammar for 30
Put the following sentence into German: The pupil helped the teacher.
ANS: Der Schuler half (hat) dem Lehrer (geholfen).

16. Erdkunde für 50 Auf Deutsch
Wie heissen die fünf neuen Länder DEutschlands?
ANS: Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Thüringen

17. Odds and Ends for 50
Two part question. Name the oldest zoo in the German-speaking world and the city in which it is found?
ANS: Schönbrunn Zoo Vienna (Wien)

18. Grammar for 40
Change the following sentence into the simple past, also known as the imperfect or narrative past tense. Ich habe die Fragen schwer gefunden.
ANS: Ich fand die Fragen schwer.

19. Erdkunde für 10 Auf Deutsch
Wie heist die älteste Stadt Deutschlands?
ANS: Trier

20. Odds and Ends for 10
What is a Stau?
ANS: traffic jam

21. Grammar for 50
Translate the following sentence into German. He looks as if he were ill.
ANS: Er sieht aus, als ob (als wenn) er krank wäre.

22. Arts and Letters for 10
Which German author, living from 1749-1832, is considered the greatest figure in German literature?
ANS: (Johann Wolfgang von) Goethe

23. Arts and Letters for 20
Which German wrote the words for the hymn Ein Feste Burg ist Unser Gott?
ANS: Martin Luther

24. Erdkunde für 30 Auf Deutsch
Wie heist der größte See Bayerns?
ANS: Chiemsee

25. History and Politics for 20
Which German Texas settlement was founded on Good Friday, 1845?
ANS: New Braunfels

Pass Auf! Wortschatz

Pass Auf! Wortschatz

altGebirgszügen ökonomisch-
ältesteGegend, dieOlypiade, die 
anfangenGemeinschaft, dieost
ArmeeGrenze, dieösterreichisch
Bahn, diegroß, größteöstlich, östlichst-
bauen, eine GrenzeGroßlandschaft, diePassionsspiel, das
begrenzenHaupt-Punkt, der
benutzenHauptlandschaft, dieQuelle, die
Berg, derHauptstadt, dierecht-
Bergspitze, dieHeide, dieReligionsgehörigkeit, die
Bergwiese, dieHeimatstadt, dieResidenz, die
berühmt-, berühmtest-Herz, dasrömisch
besichtigenhoch, höchst-Ruine, die
besiedelt-Hochebene, dieSandstein, der
Blüte, dieHügel, derSchffahrt, die
Bodenschatz, derIAEASchloss, das
Buchdruckzentrum, dasim Jahre..Schwebebahn, die
Buchstabe, diein der Nähe von…Schweizer
Bundes-Industriestadt, dieSee, der
Bundesland, dasInlandhafen, derSee, die
Burg, dieInsel, dieSeehafen, der
DenkmahlKanal, derSitz, der
deutschKanton, derSprache, die
deutschsprachig-KolonieStadt, die
direktKirche, diestattfinden
Dom, derkleinst-stehen
dünnst-Kloster, derStift
dünnstbevölkert-Kontinent, dasStraße, die
durchKüste, dieStrom, der
Ebene, dieLager, dassüd
ehemalig-Land, dassüdlich, südlichst
Einwohner, derLandeshauptstadt, dieSymbol, das
EinwohnerzahlLandschaft, dietäglich
Eisenerz, daslang, längst-Tal, das
elektrisch-lateinisch-Teil, das
entlang gehenliegentropisch-
erzeugenlink-Ufer, die
EuropaMeer, dasumfassen
favorit-Messestadt, dieverbinden
Fels, dermittelalterlich- Vernügungspark, der
Fest, dasmittler-Vielfalt, die
findenmöglichViertel, das
flachmünden sichVolksfest, das
fließenMündung, dieWald, der
Flughafen, derMuseum, dasWappen
Flugverkehr, derName, derWasserkraft, der
Fluß, derNationalzeichen, dasWasserweg, der
Flußhafen, derNaturschutzgebiet, dasWein, der
für etwas bekannt seinnennenwestlich, westlichst-
Gebiet, dasneuwichtig, wichtigst-
Gebirge, DasnordZeitzone, die
nördlich, nördlichst-Zentrum, das
Nummer, diezuzammengenommen

Categories & Annual Theme

The theme for 2025 is: Die Wende

The theme for 2024 was: UNESCO World Heritage topics in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
The theme for 2023 was: Scientists from D-A-Ch-L Länder – Space, Medicine & Math
The theme for 2022 was: Bach, Beethoven & Brahms
The theme for 2020 was: German-Texans
The theme for 2019 was: German-Americans
The theme for 2018 was: The German-speaking World 1914-1945
The theme for 2017 was: The Reformation

There are five categories of questions:

History & Politics, Arts & Letters, Odds & Ends, Erdkunde, Current Events & Special Topic

All categories may include questions about any of the German-speaking countries:

The Federal Republic of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein; and about German-Americans or German-Texans.

Questions in all categories may have words in German and may require answers in German.

Categories may include but are not limited to the following:

History and Politics: Early German History (Beginnings through the Folk Migrations), Middle Ages, Reformation 17-18th Centuries, 19th Century, Post War II Period, German American History, Texas German History, Government, European Union, Political Parties, etc.

Arts & Letters: Literature, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales, Drama & Cinema, Philosophy & Theology, Music/Composers, Art, Architecture, Scientists, Inventors.

Odds & Ends: Proverbs, Holidays, food, games, sports, education, folk festivals, customs & traditions, travel vocabulary, communication, idioms, language functions, vocabulary, days, months & seasons, etc.

Erdkunde:  Questions will be asked in German and must be answered in German. 

Current Events & Special Topic: “Current events” is defined by events from the prior calendar year through the date of contest.  Each year a special topic will be announced. Make sure to check the special topic for each year!!

Game Preparation Tips

Links to Study Guides & video of a mock round. Note: All items on the study guides are fair game for Varsity Teams; however, items in italics are for Novice teams to focus on.

Category Study Guide 

Proverbs Study List

Mock Pass Auf Round Video

Tips for preparing a Team

  1. Access questions from the sample game and/or download the study guides posted on the State German Contest web-site and review them for format and the types of questions asked in the different categories.
  2. Assign students or teams of students to research areas in which they are interested. They should research those and make up questions. Be sure that all areas are covered.
  3. Questions should be short answer where a phrase or name are sufficient to answer.
  4. There are no true/ false or multiple choice questions in the game.
  5. Some questions can be flipped so that the stem clue can be an answer and the answer can be a new stem clue.
  6. The teacher should review the questions and be sure that they are appropriate.
  7. At the state contest there are visuals of famous people, famous art works, buildings, landmarks, coats of arms of states, country flags, maps, etc. Students should become familiar with them.
  8. Questions should be entered into a word document so they can be used for study and practice. It is a good idea to have two versions – one by category and one random version.
  9. Some test bank software may give you the flexibility to generate different “tests” question sets.
  10. Assign students to study at least two categories. Be sure that you have at least two students to a category so that during a competition, if one is missing due to a scheduling conflict, the content will be covered.
  11. Two important keys in preparing a team are knowing the content and being fast on the buzzers.
  12. Content comes from study, but speed comes from practice. One way to drill both is to have the team sit as they would in contest and ask them questions from the question bank that you have developed. Rapid fire question rounds really help teams develop speed. Mark those questions that they miss and ask them again after you run through the question sets. Keep going until they master the questions.
  13. Run set up question sets as described above and run through practice games.

If you have more students that want to play and you need to determine which five should be your starting line-up, you can do tryouts two stage tryouts. Stage 1 would be a written test using randomly selected questions. Rank the students by their scores. Stage two would be to ask questions and have students signal in. At the end of the set of questions, rank students by their scores. This method addresses the two key factors in the game – knowledge and speed of response.


Suggested Sources

State adopted textbooks:


Komm mit!, Deutsch Aktuell, Mosaik, Geni@l

World History

American History

Texas History

Biology textbooks – famous scientists

Chemistry textbooks – famous scientists

Physics textbooks – famous scientists

Other print resources:

Michelin Green Guide Germany

Michelin Green Guide Austria

Michelin Green Guide Switzerland

German Seed in Texas Soil by Terry Jordan ISBN 0-292-72707-0

The History of the German Settlements in Texas 1831-1861 by Eudolph Leopold Biesele 

       ISBN 1-57168-236-8

Erstes Buch – Harry Reinert – available from Amazon

German, Second and Third Years – ISBN: 978-0-87720-577-7 Amsco Publishing

German newspapers and magazines for current events. 

Internet Sources

Check these web sites for information to be used in playing Pass Auf:

News services for current events





















Feb. 9, 2024
State online registration due by 11:59 p.m. in order to qualify for early-bird price of $12 per student. Online registrations submitted after this point incur the regular registration fee of $15 per student.

Feb. 14, 2024
State online registration due by 11:59 p.m. (regular deadline). Also, postmark deadline for State payment, regardless of whether you completed your online registration by the early-bird or the regular deadline.

Feb. 17, 2024
Digital Event submissions due by 9:00 a.m.

Mary El-Beheri Memorial Scholarship applications due by 9:00 a.m.

Important Dates

Feb. 24, 2024
Texas State German Contest, 42nd Anniversary, Texas State University, San Marcos

Mar. 10, 2024
Gail Cope Scholarship applications due

Anytime during the school year August 1, 2023 - April 30, 2024
Spring Teacher Grant applications due

February 22, 2025
Texas State German Contest 2025

Contact Us

Texas State German Contest Director
Jennifer Christianson

Sprachfest/TSGC Mailing Address
Texas State German Contests, Inc.
PO Box 2043
Boerne, TX 78006

Onsite Directors
Dr. Ewa Siwak & Dr. Valentina Glajar
Dept. of Modern Languages
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666

TX State University Maps