Knowledge Test

On this page you will find key information on the Knowledge Test for Doctors from Abroad

The Ärztekammer Hamburg (Hamburg Medical Association) conducts knowledge tests on behalf of the Behörde für Arbeit, Gesundheit, Soziales, Familie und Integration (Authority for Labour, Health, Social Affairs, Family and Integration [“Social Security Office”]) for granting a licence to practise medicine.

These tests serve as proof of the medical knowledge and skills of doctors who have completed their medical studies outside the European Union. This also includes medical communication skills. The knowledge test is taken before an examination board in German.

The Verein für interkulturelle Bildung Hamburg e. V. (IBH - Association for Inter-Cultural Education Hamburg) offers training in preparation for these tests.

You can find information (e.g. courses, dates, costs, participation requirements) on the IBH website and the IQ Netzwerk Hamburg (IQ Network Hamburg). The “Recognition Counselling Dictionary” in simple language is also available here.

N.B.: Applications for financial support for your knowledge test must be made before registration and, in particular, before taking the test.

Knowledge test procedure

Knowledge test procedure

How does the procedure work?

1) The social security office processes your application for the granting of a licence to practise medicine. If the authority deems a knowledge test necessary, it will send the Ärztekammer Hamburg (Hamburg Medical Association) the required documents.

2) After receiving the documents, the Ärztekammer Hamburg will send you confirmation of receipt by email stating the expected test month. Notice of the payable test fee will be sent approximately two to three months in advance, again stating the scheduled test month. Delays may occur due to the large number of candidates and the limited number of test dates.

N.B.: Should the social security office also deem it necessary that you take a Specialist Language Test, you must have passed this first before we can book you in for a knowledge test. The specialist language test is also taken at the Ärztekammer.

3) Once payment has been received, we notify candidates two to four weeks before the test about the date and the hospital where the test will be taken. You will also receive a written invitation from the social security office with all the important information.

Important: Please make sure you turn up on the test date. In case of illness, please cancel in good time. If you are too late or do not turn up at all, the test result will be a fail, regardless of the reason. A new date can be arranged at the earliest after three months.

Test procedure

How does the test work?

The test lasts 150 minutes in total. It is divided into three sections:

1. Patient presentation
2. Writing a case report
3. Oral test

1. Patient presentation
A member of the examination board will present you with a patient related to the relevant disciplines (internal medicine | surgery).

Duration: 30 minutes

2. Writing a case report
After the patient presentation you have to prepare a report on what you have learnt about the patient. The contents focus on medical history, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment plan and a critical/analytical summing up of the medical case history. After completion, the member of the examination board who accompanied the patient presentation signs the report. This is presented for the oral test.

Duration: maximum 60 minutes

3. Oral test
Straight after completing your case report you have your oral test. The panel of examiners is made up of one examiner each for internal medicine and surgery and a chairperson. Usually the questions asked by the examiners relate to their respective specialisms. Firstly, reference is made to the patient presentation. Questions may also be asked about the following areas: Emergency medicine, clinical pharmacology/pharmacotherapy, imaging procedures, radiation protection, legal issues relating to the medical profession. The task of the chairperson is to start the test, take the minutes and occasionally conduct the test themselves.

Total duration: 60 to 90 minutes

Test centres

Where and how often do the tests take place?

Currently the following hospitals are testing:

Asklepios Klinik St. Georg
Asklepios Klinik Harburg
Asklepios Klinik Wandsbek
Israelitisches Krankenhaus
Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

Normally six to ten tests are taken a month, but the Ärztekammer Hamburg is trying to increase the number.

N.B.: Owing to the high number of candidates, the further training department of the Ärztekammer has developed a new procedure in consultation with the social security office: Knowledge tests with simulated patients. Since mid-October 2023 knowledge tests are therefore also being held in the Ärztekammer. In future, six of these tests are to be held per month, which will roughly double the total number of knowledge tests.

After the test

What next?

You will be informed of the result immediately after the oral test and it will be noted on the test minutes. The test documents (case report and minutes) are then sent to the Ärztekammer Hamburg. The medical association forwards the documents to the social security office.

If you have passed the test, you will, receive the licence to practise medicine from the social security office. Prior to this, the authority checks that all the necessary requirements have been met, namely health suitability, no criminal record and you have passed the specialist language test. It can take some time for the licence to practise medicine to be issued.

If you have not passed the test, the social security office will inform you of the result again in writing. You can immediately register to take the test again afterwards. The repeat test normally takes place six months after the failed test at a different hospital and before a newly constituted examination board. The knowledge test can be taken three times in total.