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Qualifying Examination

  • Is the qualifying examination mandatory?

    Yes, all applicants from outside the European Union who did not earn their first graduation from a European university and who have been selected must successfully participate in the test before they can be given admission.
  • Is it a written examination?

    Yes, it is a three hours written test in English. It is about biochemistry, molecular genetics, microbiology, and cell biology.
  • Could I see the syllabus of the exam and have a sample test?

    The exam is for evaluation of the applicant's knowledge in the four subjects, which they need to have practical experience in (biochemistry, molecular genetics, microbiology, cell biology) rather than to find out about their capacity of learning within a limited time period. Therefore, we do not present a syllabus or sample exam.
  • ... but I need to get prepared ...

    The exam is about biochemistry, molecular genetics, microbiology, and cell biology. The biochemistry part is objective (single choice), the other parts mostly subjective. Most of the questions in the subjective parts are related to practical problems in molecular biology and biotechnology lab work. The more lab experience you have (min. requirement is 80 hours each in biochemistry, molecular genetics, microbiology, and cell biology) the more probably you will pass the test with a good result. The test duration is three hours, i.e. 45 min. per part on average.

    Many applicants will find the space for the answers available below the questions rather limited, which is a challenge for them. We expect short and very concise answers ("to the point"). Writing essays instead will not help! Additional paper will not be provided. Getting used to this style will help significantly more than learning tons of textbooks by heart, especially as this will be the style of virtually all written (and likewise oral) examinations in the course.

    A strategy of success during the exam will be:
    • Read through the question carfully.
    • If you are immediately sure about the answer, give it in a few short sentences or even keywords, a calculation, or a diagram, or any useful combination. If space is scarce,then your answer is too long.
    • If you doubt about the answer, leave the question for later.
    • After the first round with well-known answers, go through the test again, looking both at the complexity of the question and the number of points you could achieve. Answer easy-plus-high-point questions first. If you need more than a minute without having written anything, proceed to the next question.
    • Take several rounds and leave the least known and least "valuable" (in terms of points) questions up to the end of the time you have available for the test.
  • I'd very much like to take the exam, but I cannot afford coming to Bonn from my home country for that purpose only.

    Germany is a nice country to travel to, but concerning the qualifying examination there is no need for a long journey. There is a worldwide network of test centers. For every applicant, the test will be arranged as close as possible to the current place of residence; e.g. there are up to seven test centers in India.
  • Where (exactly) are the test centers?

    We cannot present a fixed list of places. We are in contact with German institutions worldwide and arrange the places according to the places of residence of the applicants and the availability of the centers.
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