Medical German Examination

A prerequisite for being granted a licence or provisional licence to practise medicine is that the applicant has the knowledge of the German language that is necessary for practising the profession.

According to the decision of the 87th Conference of Health Ministers on 26-27 June 2014, doctors must - based on a proven language knowledge on Level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR B2) - have a knowledge of medical German in a work-specific context which is oriented towards Language Level C1.

The State Head Office of Saxony, as the competent office for granting licences to practise medicine, has assigned the State Chamber of Physicians of Saxony with conducting the Medical German Examinations with effect from 1 May 2016. The examinations are held on the premises of the State Chamber of Physicians of Saxony (address: Schützenhöhe 16, 01099 Dresden).

Who must pass the Medical German Examination?

When considering an application for a licence to practise medicine, the office granting the licence must check whether the applicant has the knowledge of the German language that is necessary for practising the profession. The applicant must have the knowledge of the German language that is necessary for the comprehensive activities which the medical profession involves. He must be able to communicate adequately, spontaneously and largely fluently - with patients and colleagues in particular - and to understand and reproduce the contents of complex texts and expert discussions on medical topics (work-related knowledge of German on Level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages / CEFR). The knowledge of the German language must be proved together with the application for the licence to practise medicine.

As a rule, an applicant has the knowledge of medical German which is necessary for practising the profession if he

  • has fluent knowledge of German (e.g. as a native speaker), spoken and written,
  • has obtained a school-leaving qualification at a German school after at least ten years of general education,
  • has completed a vocational training of at least three years in German, or
  • has, as a doctor, successfully participated in an aptitude test pursuant to Art. 3.2, Sentence 7, of the Federal Medical Practitioners' Act (BÄO) or a theoretical examination pursuant to Art. 3.3, Sentence 3, of the BÄO.

Medical German Examinations for doctors are conducted by the State Chamber of Physicians of Saxony and only on request of the office granting the licence to practise medicine (State Head Office of Saxony). Besides checking all other prerequisites for granting a licence or provisional licence to practise medicine, the office granting the licence also checks if the applicant has at least a knowledge of German on CEFR B2 Level and if a Medical German Examination will be necessary.

The process

There will be no changes to the application process for the licence to practise medicine. The State Head Office of Saxony will check the documents, and in the cases in which a Medical German Examination is necessary, it will communicate the necessary information to the State Chamber of Physicians of Saxony. Therefore, a personal registration for the Medical German Examination will not be necessary.

The State Chamber of Physicians of Saxony will then inform the applicant about the course of the Medical German Examination and suggest possible examination dates. The applicant may choose two of those dates, of which one will be considered if possible (depending on the registration of other examination candidates).

In the same letter, the applicant will be requested to transfer an administration charge of 425 EUR for the Medical German Examination to a bank account of the State Chamber of Physicians of Saxony. Only after the administration charge has been transferred, the invitation to the examination containing the exact time as well as all other important information will be provided. The examination can take place no earlier than 4 weeks after the payment is received. If the appointment cannot be kept, information of this must be given no later than 2 weeks before the examination date. After that, a non-attendance and cancellation of the appointment will only be possible for an important cause and if information is given to the State Chamber of Physicians of Saxony immediately. In those cases, the administration charge for the examination that the candidate does not participate in will be reduced by 50% (in particular, illness will be accepted as an important cause, which must be proved by a medical certificate). If the candidate is not present for any other reason on the examination date, the paid charge will be forfeited completely and will become due again for any later examination date.

Course of the Medical German Examination

The examination will be practical. It will be held in the form of an individual examination, and its purpose is to determine the knowledge of medical German which is necessary for oral and written communication in the medical profession. The board of examiners will consist of three members, of which at least two are doctors.

The examination will be divided into three parts of which each has a duration of about 20 minutes. At the beginning, the members of the board of examiners will present themselves and ask you to present yourself briefly too (previous career, further goals).

Doctor-patient conversation

You will have an anamnesis interview with a patient as you know it from your day-to-day work as a doctor. A member of the board of examiners will take the role of the patient, who will give you predefined information about his state of health. You may take notes of this, also in your native language if necessary. Explain your suspected diagnosis to the patient and make suggestions for further examinations / treatment possibilities. React to any further questions of the patient. For this purpose, a language that is understandable for patients and their relatives (i.e. medical laypersons) must be chosen.

Written Documentation / Doctor's Report

In the second part, you will be asked to document the anamnesis and the next steps in writing in German (in complete sentences). For this purpose, you will receive a prepared, structured form. You may use the notes that you have taken during the doctor-patient conversation. In addition, you will be provided a medical dictionary. Other resources must not be used. The aim is the fulfilment of the general documentation obligation and the provision of comprehensible and complete information to the doctors performing the further treatment.

Doctor-doctor conversation

In the next part, you will present the patient to a colleague (another doctor) in the course of a discussion at shift change. You will pass on the information gained during the doctor-patient conversation to a member of the board of examiners who is a doctor. You will discuss suspected and differential diagnoses, diagnostic measures and therapies. During the discussion, you must make use of the vocabulary of medical German as used in the medical profession.

Assessment of the examination

The members of the board of examiners will assess the examination together according to a standardised, structured scheme and will inform the candidate of the result immediately after the examination. Afterwards, the examination result will be communicated to the office granting the licence to practise medicine, which will be in charge of the further handling. In case the Medical German Examination is not passed, it can be retaken several times. The whole examination must be retaken. There is no limit to the number of retakes. The charge of 425 EUR will be due again in each case.

Where to find further information?

Questions on the licence or provisional licence to practise medicine will be answered by the State Head Office of Saxony:

Questions on the Medical German Examination for doctors will be answered by the State Chamber of Physicians of Saxony. Please send your inquiries by email to fachsprachenpruefungen@slaek.de.