German school system

The German school system:

School begins at the age of 6 and compulsory schooling continues until the age of 18. If you graduate from either a Hauptschule or Realschule, you must continue to complete compulsory schooling.


Elementary school

Compulsory schooling applies from the age of 6. Basic arithmetic, reading and writing are taught up to the fourth grade. After completing the fourth grade, the class teacher makes a recommendation as to which type of school is suitable. However, this is no longer binding. Students can choose between the following types of school.


– Hauptschule:

The Hauptschule is completed after the ninth school year and after obtaining the Hauptschule certificate, an apprenticeship can be started or the Realschule certificate can be sought.


The Realschule is usually left after ten years with the Realschulabschluss. The differences between the Hauptschule and the Realschule are that the Hauptschule does not offer a second foreign language such as French or Spanish,… and the subject matter is less demanding and less comprehensive.


The Abitur is the highest school-leaving qualification in Germany. Normally, it takes 12 years to achieve. The subject matter is much more extensive and demanding than at Realschule. The grading system changes in the upper school from grades 1-6 to 0-15 grade points. It is only possible to study at university with the Abitur.