Before Going to Portal
The past few months have been hectic with IB results, the college application process and moving. But as a recent ‘‘Ersti’’ (first semester student) in a German university, I am dedicating this application series to my journey on applying to Germany and how you can do it easily too. In this part we will go through what you should be doing before you enter the uni-assist portal. If you don’t know what that is, please bear with me. This will be a long ride and I will explain everything.
If you’ve decided to study in Germany, amazing! You will have a world class education with near to zero tuition fees (especially compared to other countries’ universities). As well as mainly German programs, there are also English programs which can be studied without German language proficiency.
Understanding German Applications
Before you apply it is crucial to acknowledge the difference between the German application system and US system. In the US applications, aside from your grades you have to offer a set of extra extracurriculars and also writing supplements. The same situation doesn’t exactly apply to Germany. An amazing CV wouldn’t be a key factor in German application although it is not totally useless. The most important thing is your grades. There are certain GPA limits one has to meet in order to get into their desired major. The social activities may help by distinguishing you from another candidate that has the same grades but it won’t play a leading role.
Course Selection: Math
As far as I know, German universities only allow people with Math AA HL. This is because the curriculum of it is the closest to Abitur (German high school diploma program) Math. A few schools in Turkey have agreed to teach the topic Vectors in the Math AA SL curriculum. With this students could apply by taking SL as well. Personally I have never encountered someone who took Math AI and studied in Germany. But through some friends I learnt that getting accepted with AI is also not impossible, so asking your preferred university about this requirement would be a good start before you choose your IB subjects.
If you are not a German citizen, you will have to prove your knowledge of the German language. Just like you would have to do while applying to the US with IELTS. There are many exam options like DSD II, TestDaF, telc etc. I passed the TestDaF exam which is quite similar to the IELTS with four parts: listening, reading, speaking and writing. More information about TestDaF can be found in this article.
Some German universities accept a B2 level of German for Engineering courses but most of them require you to have a C1 level. If you are wanting to study medicine some may even want you to have a C2 level. The point you need to be careful about is the period your certificate is valid. For example, the telc exam is valid for 3 years and others have even shorter duration. Therefore, I would advise you to enter the exam at the end of first year of IB. Maybe take it in the summer, so you don’t have to think about it when IB gets busier. Also, these exams are not conducted throughout the year. Specifically for TestDaF, you have to check the website to pick a time that is suitable for you.
Although this exam is not crucial to your application like the language test was, it is a good component that will make your chances of being accepted higher. Some universities like Universität zu Köln (University of Cologne) and Universität Hamburg (Hamburg University) specifically ask you this exam but for others it is just an addition.
TestAS is like a talent exam where there are two parts. Kerntest (Core Test) consists of four tasks. First one is Solving Quantitative Problems which is basically a high school math test. For 45 minutes you solve German math questions. In my opinion, it is more difficult than the SAT but A LOT easier than Math AA HL papers. The second task is Inferring Relations where you match words that are related to each other like Summer-Winter. Don’t say ‘‘But that is so easy!” as you only have ten minutes for 20 questions. I will explain to you the third part, Completing Patterns by using an example:
Basically, you are required to solve the rhythm of the given pictures and find a picture that is supposed to come next according to that pattern. Fourth task, Continuing Numerical Series, is basically again finding a pattern but this time between nummers. A very example to this would be: 3 6 9 12 (I’m not going to say the pattern, my Math AA teacher would disown me even for giving this example)
First part, Kerntest (core test) , is mandatory for every participant. The second part, Modul (module) , depends on what you want to major in. The options are
- Humanities, Cultural Studies and Social Sciences
- Life Sciences
- Mathematics, Computer Science, Natural Sciences
Every module has its own tasks and duration, therefore you should be careful to choose a module that matches your major. More information can be found on the official website of TestAS.
TestAS can be taken as many times as you want and you are free to choose which result you want to send to universities. I would advise you to take it before you start DP 2 so you can get this out of the way too.
Now that we have our extras, let’s register to uni-assit portal! This portal is only for international students and similar to CommonApp or UCAS. We will tackle what you need for the portal in the next part, see you then! (cliffhanger)