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Kenntnisprüfung for doctors

In the course of the licensing procedure for foreign physicians, an equivalence test is carried out on the training content from the medical studies in the home country. As a rule, doctors from a third country are found to have training content that is not equivalent to German standards. Accordingly, these doctors must then pass a Kenntnisprüfung in medicine.

Here you will find all helpful information about the knowledge examination! For example, we inform you about the registration, the procedure and the contents of the Kenntnisprüfung. You will also learn how to best prepare and which courses are recommended.

Kenntnisprüfung for doctors

Important topics for the Kenntnisprüfung

These topics are important for the preparation for the Kenntnisprüfung!

Author: Leon Pobuda

Position: Managing Director von Approbatio

Updated: 13.07.2021

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What is a Kenntnisprüfung?

The Kenntnisprüfung verifies whether the specialist knowledge of foreign physicians is comparable with German standards. The contents of the German course of study are used as a comparison. The focus of the Kenntnisprüfung is on the subjects of internal medicine and surgery. In addition, interdisciplinary questions on emergency medicine, clinical pharmacology / pharmacotherapy, imaging procedures, radiation protection or legal issues of medical practice are asked. 

Furthermore, it is possible for the competent authority to specify a subject or a cross-sectional area as relevant to the examination in advance. This procedure is often chosen if significant differences between medical training in Germany and the applicant’s training are identified in a particular area.

Kenntnisprüfung Bücher

The 5 best books for preparing for the Kenntnisprüfung

With the right literature you will be perfectly prepared for the Kenntnisprüfung and increase your chances of passing it. We have picked out the 5 best books for the Kenntnisprüfung that we can recommend. Click here to go to the Kenntnisprüfung Books page: Kenntnisprüfung books.

Kenntnisprüfung Sprachkurse

The best courses for the Kenntnisprüfung

The right language school is the be-all and end-all for a successful Kenntnisprüfung. If you pass the Kenntnisprüfung on the first try, you will save a lot of time, nerves and money. We have selected the best courses for the Kenntnisprüfung that we can recommend. Click here to go to the Kenntnisprüfung Preparation Courses page: Kenntnisprüfung courses.

Registration for the Kenntnisprüfung

If deficits are identified in the equivalency examination, the Kenntnisprüfung must be taken. In order to be admitted to the examination, an explicit „application for the Kenntnisprüfung“ must be submitted to the responsible state or district government (application form for Kenntnisprüfung). However, registration is not required if the Kenntnisprüfung has been imposed by means of an appealable decision after completion of the equivalency examination. Furthermore, the Kenntnisprüfung can be taken independently of the Fachsprachenprüfung, i.e. before or after the Fachsprachenprüfung.

Please make sure that you submit the application form in time! It is best to submit your application at least 6 months before the desired examination date.

Costs of the Kenntnisprüfung

The costs for the Kenntnisprüfung vary between the individual federal states. They range from about 266€ in Saarland to 1,100€ in Hesse or Rhineland-Palatinate.

As the costs can change at any time, it is strongly recommended to inquire about the current examination fees at the responsible authority.

Procedure of the Kenntnisprüfung

The Kenntnisprüfung includes a clinical and an oral-practical examination with patient presentation. As a rule, the examination takes place in a university clinic or in a hospital commissioned to conduct it.

1. the clinical examination

In the clinical examination, a patient is examined by the examinee. The examination is supervised by a medical member of the examination board. The duration of the examination is approximately 30 – 45 minutes. Subsequently, the examinee writes a medical report, which provides information about the medical history, diagnosis and differential diagnosis. The medical report also contains information about prognosis, treatment plan and epicrisis of the case. The examinee has up to 30 minutes for this.

2. the oral-practical examination

Following the clinical examination, the oral-practical examination takes place on the same day or a few days later. As a rule, this part of the examination is conducted as a group examination, in which up to 90 minutes are scheduled for each examination candidate. The focus of the questions relates primarily to the subjects „Internal Medicine“ and „Surgery“. In addition, interdisciplinary questions on emergency medicine, clinical pharmacology / pharmacotherapy, imaging procedures, radiation protection or legal issues of medical practice are asked. 

3. result

After the examination, the physician is informed orally by the examination board whether he has passed the examination or not. A written confirmation of the result of the Kenntnisprüfung is sent by the competent district or state government.

The assessment of the Kenntnisprüfung is carried out by the examination board. The examination board does not award a grade. It merely decides whether the physician has passed the examination or not. The examination is deemed to have been passed if the examinee possesses the necessary knowledge and skills, including medical interviewing skills, which are the subject of the examination and are required to practice medicine.

Contents of the Kenntnisprüfung

To successfully pass the exam, you should have at least the following knowledge and skills:

Knowledge of:

  • therapy concepts for the patient
  • the German Heilberufsgesetz and professional regulations, about patients‘ rights and about living wills
  • the German Narcotics Law, about issues of transfusions and transplantations, about the prescription of drugs and about the Radiation Protection Ordinance
  • the German Criminal Code, on issues such as intentional or negligent homicide or bodily injury, failure to render assistance, physician euthanasia, and medical confidentiality.


  • Communicate adequately with patients
  • Confident and correct use of common medical terminology
  • Application of common clinical examination techniques
  • Correctly record specific pathologies of the patient
  • Writing medical letters
  • Arrangement of meaningful differential diagnostic examinations
  • Initiation of necessary therapies
  • Correct interpretation of important diagnostic instruments, such as ECG and laboratory findings.

How often can the Kenntnisprüfung be repeated?

The Kenntnisprüfung can be repeated a maximum of two times. If the Kenntnisprüfung is not passed, the examination board makes a recommendation as to when the physician should repeat the examination at the earliest. In addition, the examination board recommends further measures (e.g. literature study) and literature.

6 tips for the successful Kenntnisprüfung

1. First the Fachsprachprüfung exam, then the Kenntnisprüfung

It is advisable to take the Fachsprachprüfung first and then the Kenntnisprüfung. This is because successfully passing the Fachsprachprüfung provides confidence for the Kenntnisprüfung. Passing the Fachsprachprüfung ensures that medical facts can be presented in a patient-oriented manner. In addition, the Fachsprachprüfung also deals with the doctor’s report or letter, the collegial discussion as well as questions on diagnostics and therapeutic procedures. In contrast to the Kenntnisprüfung, however, the Fachsprachprüfung can be repeated as often as desired, whereas the Kenntnisprüfung can only be repeated a maximum of two times.

2. Study with appropriate literature

Often the Kenntnisprüfung is not passed because the examinees have not prepared well enough. But with the right literature you are on the safe side. There are some good reference books on Amazon for preparing for the Kenntnisprüfung.

3. Gain professional experience in internal medicine or surgery

If the Fachsprachprüfung has been successfully passed, it is possible to apply for a temporary medical professional permit at the responsible state or district government. The work permit is helpful in order to gain professional experience even without the possession of the license to practice medicine. In addition, this professional experience is a good prerequisite for successfully preparing for the Kenntnisprüfung. Since the focus of the examination is on the two subjects „Internal Medicine“ and „Surgery“, it is advantageous to work in these departments.

4. Take part in a preparatory course

To successfully prepare for the Kenntnisprüfung, it is recommended that you attend a preparatory course. It should be noted that the course provider has sufficient experience on the Kenntnisprüfung and actually instructors with medical expertise. In addition, you should seek good advice beforehand, because only a high price does not guarantee quality.

The best courses for the Kenntnisprüfung

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

5. Schedule time to study!

Schedule time to study between the preparation course and the exam date! So do not look for a preparation course for the Kenntnisprüfung only when the examination date is imminent. In the worst case, there may not even be a place left in the course! In addition, a lot of material is taught in the preparation courses, which must be worked on independently. The independent processing will take some time!

6. Form study groups

In order to prepare optimally for the Kenntnisprüfung, it is helpful to form study groups or to exchange information with other physicians in general. Our Facebook group is particularly suitable for this purpose. You can access this Facebook group here: Facebook group for your license to practice.

Job search for licensed foreign physicians

With our physician recruitment service, we support licensed physicians in finding an employer in Germany free of charge. While doctors who apply on their own sometimes wait months for a response, with us you will receive feedback on your application status within a week. Through our unique contacts to decision makers in hospitals, we increase your chances of getting a great job quickly.

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“.