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Fachsprachprüfung in Germany


The Fachsprachprüfung for medical doctors is relevant for all foreign doctors who have not studied in Germany. As a rule, foreign physicians have to take a Fachsprachprüfung in medicine in the course of the licensing procedure. The important information about the medical language exam is listed here.

Important topics for the german approbation

These topics are important for physicians applying for German approbation

Author: Leon Pobuda

Position: Managing Director von Approbatio

Updated: 08.07.2021

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Fachsprachprüfung Medicine

In order to obtain the license to practice medicine in Germany or the permission to temporarily practice medicine (i.F. Berufserlaubnis), according to the Bundesärzteordnung § 3 Abs. 1 Nr. 5, a proof is required, which confirms the necessary knowledge of the German language, in order to be able to carry out the activity as a doctor in Germany. This proof is provided by passing the Fachsprachenprüfung. Upon passing the Fachsprachenprüfung, the professional language certificate will be issued.

On 26/27.06.2014, it was decided at the 87th Health Conference that the issuance of the license to practice medicine for foreign physicians sometimes require knowledge of technical language in a profession-specific context, at least at the language level C1.

Who needs to take a Fachsprachenprüfung?

The Fachsprachenprüfung must be taken by any physician who applies for a license to practice medicine or a permit to practice medicine and who cannot prove that he or she has the required knowledge of the German language to practice medicine.

A Fachsprachenprüfung is not required if the physician

  • holds a degree from a German-speaking university or,
  • holds a degree from a German-speaking school with at least ten years of general education, or
  • has obtained a degree with at least three years of vocational training in German.

Prerequisite for the Fachsprachenprüfung

In order to register for a Fachsprachenprüfung, general language skills must be proven. These must be proven by examination certificates and must at least meet the requirements of level B2 of the „Common European Framework of Reference for Languages“ (GER) or an equivalent language level.

Registration for the Fachsprachprüfung

In order to be able to register for the Fachsprachprüfung, the physician must first apply for his license to practice medicine or professional license at the responsible state or district government. In the next step, the authority checks whether a Fachsprachprüfung is necessary. If this is the case, the state or district government contacts the responsible medical association of the federal state and sends the required documents. The physician is then contacted by the medical association. Usually by e-mail. In this e-mail, the physician is requested to transfer the administrative fee for the Fachsprachprüfung. After the payment has been received, the physician receives an examination date and other necessary information for the professional language examination. Among other things, the exact time will be communicated in addition to the examination location. If the physician is late for the Fachsprachprüfung, his late appearance will be considered as a failure.

In summary, the physician does not have to register for the Fachsprachprüfung in person. This is done automatically by applying for the license or professional permit.

The best language schools for the Fachsprachprüfung

The right language school is the be-all and end-all for a successful Fachsprachprüfung. Because if you pass the FSP directly at the first attempt, you save a lot of time, nerves and money. We have picked out the best language courses for the Fachsprachprüfung that we can recommend.

Costs of Fachsprachenprüfung

The costs for the Fachsprachenprüfung vary between 350€ and 490€ and differ depending on the federal state. You can get a comparison of the costs for the Fachsprachenprüfung here.

Procedure of the Fachsprachprüfung

The Fachsprachprüfung lasts 60 minutes and takes the form of an individual examination. The examiners are experienced physicians. The content of the Fachsprachprüfung is a case study of a typical situation in a hospital. A conversation and documentation situation is simulated. The focus of the exam is on testing listening comprehension as well as oral and written expression skills. In this context, medical knowledge is not assessed. Nevertheless, medical knowledge is mandatory for passing the Fachsprachprüfung. For example, medical knowledge is required for listening comprehension, direct reproduction of the diagnosis and the corresponding therapy recommendation.

The structure of the Fachsprachenprüfung

The Fachsprachenprüfung consists of three parts, each lasting approximately 20 minutes:

1. Doctor-patient interview:

The first part of the examination involves a simulated doctor-patient interview. In this, the examination candidate conducts an anamnesis interview with a simulated patient. In the conversation, the patient is played by a physician from the examination board. The task of the examination candidate is to explain and formulate the suspected diagnosis, to make suggestions for further diagnosis and therapy and to explain the intended measures to the patient. The examination candidate must respond appropriately to the patient’s queries. In this respect, listening comprehension is a central component of the examination. Furthermore, the extent to which the candidate can respond to the patient and ask appropriate questions is assessed.

The examination candidate is expected to be able to understand the patient’s statements with certainty and to use clearly understandable language that contains as few foreign words and medical terminology as possible.

During the anamnesis, the examination candidate is allowed to take written notes.

2. Documentation:

The second part of the Fachsprachprüfung involves documentation and builds on the preceding doctor-patient discussion. For this purpose, the candidate receives an anamnesis sheet. On this anamnesis sheet, the examination candidate is to summarize the medically relevant information obtained in the anamnesis interview in writing in a doctor’s report. If necessary, written notes may be used for this purpose. In addition, a medical dictionary is provided, which may also be used.

Documentation of the medical history interview takes place in a separate room. Meanwhile, the staff of the medical association supervise this part of the examination and ensure compliance with the time requirements.

3. Doctor-doctor discussion:

The last part of the Fachsprachprüfung contains a doctor-doctor conversation. This involves a patient presentation within a handover conversation with a medical colleague. In the handover interview, the examination candidate informs a doctor from the examination board about the information obtained in the doctor-patient interview. Here, the information gained is to be reproduced in a structured manner and using medical terminology. Subsequently, the examiner asks further questions. Finally, the examinee must translate a few medical terms into German.

Evaluation of the Fachsprachprüfung

The evaluation of the Fachsprachprüfung is carried out by the members of the examination board. This is done by means of a uniformly structured scheme. Immediately after the examination, the participant is given feedback as to whether he or she has passed or failed the examination.

Our recommended reading for the FSP

How often can the Fachsprachprüfung be repeated?

There is no limit for the repetition of the Fachsprachprüfung. This means that the Fachsprachprüfung can be repeated as often as you wish. However, the full exam fee must be paid each time.

Leon Pobuda

Managing Director of Approbatio
Personnel Psychologist (M.Sc.)

Mr. Pobuda studied psychology in Göttingen with a focus on personnel psychology and health and sports psychology. Within his scientific work he researches the leadership behavior of physicians. Mr. Pobuda’s main occupation is managing director of the personnel consultancy for physicians „Approbatio“.