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The German school system Posted by on Mar 18, 2010 in Culture, School

In Germany children at the age of three years can go to the “Kindergarten”.

After Kindergarten, at the age of six or seven years, they go to the “Grundschule”. This takes four years.

Depending on school grades, the “Grundschule” is followed by “Hauptschule”, “Realschule” or “Gymnasium”.

The “Gymnasium” takes nine years. The last two years are called the “Abitur” which end up in  examinations. If you pass the “Abitur”, you have the possibility to visit universities.

The “Realschule” lasts for six years. The graduation is called “Mittlere Reife”. Here you have the possibility whether to make a professional education, to visit a vocational school or to make the “Abitur” by hindsight.

The “Hauptschule” takes only five years and most of the pupils start an apprenticeship afterwards. But you also have the possibility to visit further studying schools.

Some facts:

– One lesson lasts for 45 minutes.

– The scale of grades range from 1 to 6. The best grade is 1.



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About the Author:jan

My name is Jan and I live in the south west of Germany. My profession is being a project manager at a company that creates digital media (first of all internet related things). This is my job since over a decade so I´m quite familiar with the web and its tools. Whereat today almost every school kid does. But that´s one of the main reasons why nowadays there are quasi no more limits in the internet and so it can be used for all imaginable types of things. For example learning languages! And that´s where we are at the moment. I first got in touch with Transparent Language when my family and I used to live in France a couple of years ago. I just had a break from work and by coincidence I produced some cultural videos in French. A few months later the whole blogging thing came up and I was lucky to be a part of it. So now my (second) job is to feed you with information, exercises, vocabulary, grammar and stories about Germany and German language. For being a passionate videographer I´m trying to do this more and more by videos. If you have any wishes or needs of topics that should be treated here, please don´t hesitate to contact me via a comment field. I´m open to your suggestions (as long as they are not too individual) and will try to satisfy your needs.


  1. PH:

    Very interesting. I was wondering how the german school works because it is very different from the standards that we have in Brazil.

  2. Kleenes:

    Hi Jan, just one little note to your scheme: if you leave the ‘Gymnasium’ you have all options (Ausbildung, Fachhochschule and Universität) and not only university… 🙂

  3. Mavis Davis:

    Any thoughts on the “Schuldurchlässigkeit” or lack thereof between schools? As an American, the natural response seems to be to balk at the thought of restricting a child’s path at such an early age. Are Germans generally for or against more durchlässigkeit between schools?

  4. IIM:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often. really the educational system of Germany is great.

  5. Chae Soldan:

    I enjoy reading your post, thank you very much.