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High School Differences in America and Germany

SELIN ACAR Jon Jee Staff Published: January 29, 2018 7:23 AM

Did you ever wonder how the schools are in other countries? stricter or easier? in germany, for example? If you compare the school system in Germany and America, you will find many differences. For example, one difference is that there is no middle school in Germany, and after elementary school, you go straight to high school. But the actual question is in what kind of high school?

In Germany there are 3 different types of high schools:

  1. Hauptschule (“main school”)
  2. Realschule (“Secondary modern school”)
  3. Gymnasium (“High school” / “Grammar school”) - Not the gymnasium where you can do sports though.

In fourth grade you will be divided, according to your grades in the main subjects math, German and social studies, into a particular high school.
The first school that is considered as the “worst” school is the “Hauptschule” (Main school, some people also say middle school). No parent wants his child to come to this school. If you graduate here, you will usually be a reseller in the supermarket or have other medium-sized jobs. If you have a four or three threes in elementary school (That is like one D or three C’s), you have to go to the main school. Although there are ways in which you can ascend, you have to study a lot and have to be really good. For example, in ninth grade, you could make another class that would give you your “intermediate maturity,” which brings us to the next school.
The “Realschule” (Secondary modern school) is the second best school in which you only get into if you have a two and two threes or two twos and one three (That is like one A and two C’s or two A’s and one C). When you graduate from secondary school, you will receive your so-called "Mittlerereife" (“Intermediate maturity”), which will open doors for you at the bank or as a industrial clerk. If you graduate here, you have a pretty good job. The “Realschule” is till 10th grade, where you can decide if you want to either work or continue to go to school. Anyone who chooses to continue to go to school because he/she wants to study or gain a highly respected profession has two options:

  1. a) Fachoberschule (College of Further Education / higher secondary vocational school) or
  2. c) Gymnasium (High school or Grammar school)
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The “Fachoberschule” goes up to the 13th grade, where you can do only the 12th grade, but then can not study everything you want. Whoever makes the 13th grade can go to any university and study whatever he/she wants. The universities in Germany do not cost anything. But to go to the Fachoberschule (abbreviated FOS), there is a requirement. You must have your final examinations at the “Realschule” in 10th grade in the main subjects with a grade that makes an amount of ten. This means, for example:
Math 2
German 2
English 2
Art 4
= 10
Depending on which branch you have chosen in seventh grade you have to write a final exam in this branch in tenth grade. There are the branches: Business Administration and Accounting, Physics & Math, Art and French. It is obligatory to choose a branch. If you get a score of 10 in these 4 subjects you can go to the FOS.
The “Gymnasium” (High school or Grammar school) is the best school in Germany, which you can also attend after completing the 10th grade at the Realschule. The high school does not really have a requirement, as long as you do not have more than one 4 (one D) in the testimony, it is fairly easy to get in, but the material you learn is a lot more difficult and stricter. If you decide to go to high school, you have to go to the 10th grade again and then recieve your high school diploma in the 12th grade. Who graduates from high school can study in every university and every branch.

If you get three ones or three twos (which is basically only A’s and A+’s) in elementary, you can go to high school. The gymnasium goes up to the 12th grade and after you have graduated here you can go to college. The high school is also a big challenge, in contrast to main school and secondary school, it is ten times more difficult. Some have difficulty getting into 12th grade at all.

If you ask me, I think the German school system is pretty strict. Especially because you should not assess the academic strength of a child in 4th grade. What do you think about the German school system?


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