The Abitur is the certification that a student has successfully completed the German college-preparatory educational program and has scored passing grades on the Abitur examinations administered during the final year of secondary school. In almost all cases, the Abitur is required for entrance to German universities.
Although a student does not actually enter the Abitur track until grade 11, preparation for it begins in grade 7. Nationally, only the top 20 percent of the German student population enters the Abitur track. Admission to the Abitur program is granted if the student has been enrolled in the pre-Abitur courses conducted in grade 10 and if the student receives passing grades on the Vergleichsarbeiten, Berlin's centralized examinations determining successful completion of German intermediate school (grades 7 through 10).
Requirements for the Abitur (grades 7 through 13)
German Each year, grades 7 - 13
(All Abitur candidates in grade 11 must have at least the D-2 level of proficiency in German.)
English Each year, grades 7 - 13
French 5 years (grades 7 - 11) or 3 years (grades 11 - 13) or
Latin 4 years grades (9 - 12)
Social Studies Each year, grades 7 - 13 with various emphasis on geography, history, or political science
Mathematics Each year, grades 7 - 13 preparing students for calculus in grade 11
Music and Art: 2 hours each per week, grades 7 - 8, 1 hour each per week, grades 9 - 10
Physical Education: 3 hours per week, grades 7 - 8, 2 hours per week, grades 9 - 13
Biology: 2 hours per week, grades 7, 9 - 11
Chemistry: 2 hours per week, grades 8 - 11
Physics: 2 hours per week, grades 8 - 11
N.B. In grades 12 and 13 one science (physics, chemistry, or biology) is required.
If biology is selected, an additional year of physics or chemistry is required.
A total of eight math and science courses are required in grades 12 and 13.
In addition to the above requirements, a student must select two subjects as Leistungskurse (honors courses) each year in grades 11 through 13. One of them must be mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, a foreign language, or German. The second Leistungskurse may be selected from any of the Leistungskurse offered that year. Generally, a student receives 33 to 35 hours of instruction per week in grades 7 through 13.
The Abitur examinations are offered in the spring of each year. Students are admitted as candidates for the Abitur upon successful completion of all requirements. Abitur exams are given in both Leistungskurse (honors courses) and two additional Grundkurse (basic courses) selected by the student. One of the Grundkurs exams is oral; the other three, written.
Washington and Lee Credit Recommendations for Abitur results
Credit will be considered only for the four subjects of the Abiturprufungen (final examination) portion of the Abitur. Students may appeal to the appropriate department head for consideration of credit for Abitur examination scores of 10 or higher on the 15-point scale. Upon departmental recommendation, students may receive one, and no more than two, terms of introductory-level credit for each qualifying examination (i.e. no more than eight credits total for each subject). Abitur scores not eligible for credit may be considered for placement consideration (no credit awarded); such placement decisions must be made by the appropriate department head. The Abitur "total score" is not used to determine credit eligibility; credit is based on examination-subject scores alone.