The main school, which is called the Hauptschule, ranges from grades five through ten. Students in the main school fulfill the state’s minimum education requirements and prepare to enter a vocational or trade apprenticeship program. During the “on-the-job” time, students must receive ten hours of relevant language and math training weekly. The main school’s curriculum adequately prepares students to become apprentice auto-body repairs, bakers, butchers, flower arrangers, and hair stylists or to take on other jobs that require only minimal language and math skills.
The intermediate school, known as the Realschule, also ranges from grades five through ten. It is broken up into the junior secondary education and senior secondary education. Students that attend the intermediate school fulfill the state’s minimum education requirements and prepare to enter any two or three year apprenticeship program. The curriculum is more comprehensive and more difficult here than that of the main school. Four to six years of a foreign language are required along with more intense math and science skills. Jobs such as bank tellers, electricians, health-care attendants, and workers in any jobs that use computers require the extra training of the intermediate school (Novack, 1999)
The college-prep school, known as the Gymnasium, who once only one fifth of the students choose, is now the choice of one half of the students and parents in Germany. Ranging from grades five through thirteen, students study I various college-prep and white-collar-career-prep programs. Most of the Gymnasiums offer specialized programs, such as math, and physical sciences, social sciences, and languages, health and physical education, and visual and performing arts. Careers such as architecture, business, education, engineering, law, medicine, or science are just some of the fields that a student who goes to the Gymnasium can go into. Written and verbal comprehensive final exams determine a student’s graduation from high school. Before moving on to a university, though, students must take and pass the Abitur exam, which is a separate test from the others that are required to graduate (Waterkamp, 2010)
After passing the Abitur, German students may apply for schools. The student and their parents do not get to choose where the student attends school, instead it is based on a first come first serve bases. All universities are free to any student that has passed the Abitur or any foreign student that has gotten a high school diploma.