Whether it is a semester abroad or a full course of study: A successful course of study also includes attending courses and the associated examination forms in the Czech Republic. The ECTS point system is common at almost all universities, which means that recognition of your academic achievements there in Germany is extremely straightforward. Here you can find out which types of courses and performance assessments are common in the Czech study system and whether the atmosphere in the classroom differs from that in Germany.
Types of courses in the Czech Republic
According to top-medical-schools, the various forms of courses in the Czech Republic do not differ in principle from those in Germany. Which content you cover in your studies in the Czech Republic and which courses you have to attend for it naturally depend on your degree program. The liberalization of the higher education landscape in the Czech Republic has also had an impact on the type of teaching. The universities themselves set a specific curriculum (studijní plán) for the courses offered. In this context, the students then have certain options to individualize their schedule by taking compulsory and elective subjects. Central online systems have long been established at Czech universities as wellenforced. Through this system, students can enroll in their courses and view their grades.
As in Germany, the Czech system of study knows the following types of courses:
- Laboratory work (for natural science subjects)
- Practice (e.g. clinical practice in medical studies or teaching practice for student teachers)
The exercises and the laboratory work are often to be attended in addition to a lecture and take place in small study groups. There the students learn to apply the theoretical input from the lecture in practice. While attendance is not checked in the lectures, it is compulsory in the smaller seminars and exercises. Depending on the course, the curriculum may include practical phases, for example when studying human medicine or dentistry.
A course in the Czech Republic usually lasts ninety minutes. German students should know that the “academic quarter” practiced in this country is not common in the Czech Republic and that they should be on time for class in order not to attract negative attention.
Types of examinations and grading in the Czech Republic
It goes without saying that students in the Czech Republic also have to pass various performance tests in order to successfully complete a course and receive the required ECTS. The following types of exams are common at Czech universities:
- Intermediate tests
- Oral exam / written exam
- Final project
- Written work (term paper / essay)
- Combination of the forms of examination mentioned above
The methods and frequency of performance reviews depend primarily on the degree program. For example, there are several partial exams in the course of a semester, from which the grade then results, but sometimes it is also common to take a comprehensive exam at the end of a semester. Intermediate exams are also not uncommon at the end of a study section or module.
In general, performance assessments take place much more frequently in courses in the Czech Republic than in Germany, and the obligation to attend is taken much more seriously. So it’s not really surprising that Czech students mostly simply call the university “school”. A circumstance that one or the other German student will have to get used to, because German universities tend to expect their students to be independent and responsible.
Atmosphere in the courses in the Czech Republic
Many international students will find during their studies in the Czech Republic that the atmosphere in the courses there is more or less different from that in Germany. Face-to-face teaching is still widespread at Czech universities – and not just in the lectures. Oral participation in class is of course expected and rewarded, but the culture of open discussion is far from being as open as we know in this country. You should avoid open criticism of the teacher’s opinion.
This fact has above all to do with the cultural differences. The Czech Republic, for example, has a greater power distance than Germany ; Age and status differences as well as hierarchical structures also play an important role in academic life. For this reason there is a certain distance between the lecturers / professors and the students, which you should keep in order not to appear disrespectful. Academic titles and the formal salutation are part of everyday communication with your professors. But don’t worry, you will get used to this fact quickly and you will find that despite the greater distance there is a warm and pleasant atmosphereis. Younger professors in particular prefer a more relaxed tone in their lectures and look forward to lively discussions.
Czech courses and differences to Germany
On the whole, the courses and the types of examinations that take place there are similar to the study system in Germany. As far as the atmosphere is concerned, the tone of communication may be a bit more formal than in this country – this of course always depends on the teacher. In general, the following differences can be identified:
- Greater control of presence
- More frequent performance assessments during the courses
- More formal tone between teachers and students