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Things you might not know yet about universities in Germany (Part 1)

Hochschule Stralsund in winter
Hochschule Stralsund in winterThư

1. Bachelor’s degree in Germany isn’t always lasting for 4 years

When studying in a university in Vietnam, university programs were always fixed to 4 years, and up to 7 – 8 years in some special field such as medicine. In Germany, however, the duration of a regular bachelor’s degree can vary from 3 to 4 years (equivalent to 6 – 8 semesters).

After graduating, we will get a certain amount of credit points (ECTS – The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) for our degree. If you plan to attend a master’s program afterward, knowing how many accumulated ECTS you get after your graduation is crucial. Take an example. If you have 240 credit points from your previous degree, then you can complete this master’s program in 2 semesters. Otherwise, it will take you 3 semesters to complete it when your previous degree only has 210 ECTS, and a full 4 semesters for 180 ECTS.

2. German grading system

When I had told my mother that I got 1.0 for an exam in Germany, she blew a fuse and told me how gloomy my future would be with this bad educational background until I explained to her 1.0 is the highest and excellent score in the German grading system. Wait! What? Yes, you did not misread that. The German grading system is a bit odd to me when the lower grade you get, the better. The measurement of scores ranges from 1.0 to 6.0 with one being the highest and six being the lowest. We are considered to have failed when our result is lower than 4.0.

3. There are three attempts in total for the exams

For each module, we have three chances to pass the exam. If we are failed more than three times, we will be ex-matriculated from the program. The consequence may be more severe than you would have thought. I have been told that in this case I would not able to take the same program in any other public university in Germany.

We are considered failed when we either receive a failed result or do not show up for the exam. However, here is the trick. You don’t have to take the exam right away if you don’t want to. If you are uncertain if you can pass the exam, you can often choose not to take the exam in the next semester (by not registering for this module during the exam period or by withdrawing before the exam takes place). At my university, we can delay the exam for a maximum of 2 semesters for a bachelor’s. However, this depends on the examination regulations of your university. You may ask your study coordinator about this.

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