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Old 31.08.2017, 21:26
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Gymnasium in German part of Swiss

Hello all,
Is there a difference Schooling system between cantons within German speaking part of Swiss? Especially Gymnasium ie Langzeitgymnasium and short/kurz gymnasium

For example in Zurich canton.. it is Gymnasium test at 6th grade, then 8th and 9th... is it same across cantons?
Is the level of exam same or different?
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Old 31.08.2017, 22:00
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Re: Gymnasium in German part of Swiss

It is different. Most cantons do not have a Langzeitgymnasium. Entry requirements are also different.
In Solothurn kids are streamed in grade 6 for Sek B, E and P, with P giving direct entry to Gymnasium after Grade 8 with no exam, as long as the student has passing grades. Sek E students can also attend Gymnasium, but they enter from Grade 9 into the first year of Gymnasium.
In Berne, if the Sek student gets a recommendation from their teacher, they can enter Gymnasium in Grade 9 without an exam, but they can try the exam, if they don't get the recommendation. They can also enter after grade 9, repeating the year. In Aargau kids can enter Gymnasium directly after Bezirksschule without an exam if their marks are high enough, again they can try the exam if their marks are below the threshhold.
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Old 01.09.2017, 21:32
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Re: Gymnasium in German part of Swiss

Very interesting , Thank you.

Looks like Zurich canton it is made tough..

My son is at just started 7th grade, and targeting 8th grade exam for gymnasium. We were in French part till 5th grade.. hence his langgymnesiaum at 6th was not possible here in german part ... so the next chance is at 8th...
and I am wondering if it better to shift to different canton or stay in zurich canton and take a chance ....he certainly want to get into gymnasium line...

any advice?
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Old 01.09.2017, 21:37
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Re: Gymnasium in German part of Swiss

....and is murten is german part? ie german medium schools? or french?
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Old 02.09.2017, 09:34
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Re: Gymnasium in German part of Swiss

Zurich is definitely more difficult. On the other hand it is currently probably the most objective one as only entrance exam counts. That will change though in two years.

French counts for 20% so that of course is an advantage. If he is very strong in math he should be able to pass. It is 20% French, 40% Math and 40% German.

We have personal experiences that it is doable.


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Very interesting , Thank you.

Looks like Zurich canton it is made tough..

My son is at just started 7th grade, and targeting 8th grade exam for gymnasium. We were in French part till 5th grade.. hence his langgymnesiaum at 6th was not possible here in german part ... so the next chance is at 8th...
and I am wondering if it better to shift to different canton or stay in zurich canton and take a chance ....he certainly want to get into gymnasium line...

any advice?
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Old 02.09.2017, 13:07
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Re: Gymnasium in German part of Swiss

Maturity itself gives the same rights regardless of the gymnasium type you went to. I may be wrong but I think the maturity test is the same for all gymnasiums in the respective Kanton.

Sending your kid to a gymnasium outside of the Kanton of residence, i.e. where you pay taxes, usually costs in the region of 5-10k CHF a year. The actual cost depends on your Kanton of residence, perhaps also on your taxable income.

Murten-Morat is bilingual but too small to have a gymnasium, it is part of Kanton Freiburg. See gymnasium.ch for a (hopefully complete) list of gymnasiums by Kanton, Kanton Fribourg is FR, Bern is BE, VD is Vaud, Zürich with its Dübendorf is ZH.

Did you consider a bilingual maturity? Typically German/English or German/French in the German speaking Kantons. However, in Biel/Bienne (in Kanton Bern and just 15km north of Murten) the subjects are taught 50/50 in French or German, with history and physics optionally taught in English.
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Old 02.09.2017, 18:11
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Re: Gymnasium in German part of Swiss

I personally don't think that moving cantons at this stage would be beneficial, due to the adjustment to a different syllabus, different school, classmates, teachers, and assessment. I also would not consider the canton of Zurich especially tough. In Berne for instance unless the kid has at least a 5 in the report card, he/she will likely not get the recommendation for Gymnasium. The marks required are lower in other cantons. The percentage rate of kids going to Gymnasium is actually higher in Zurich than in Berne.
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Old 04.09.2017, 14:12
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Re: Gymnasium in German part of Swiss

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Hello all,
Is there a difference Schooling system between cantons within German speaking part of Swiss? Especially Gymnasium ie Langzeitgymnasium and short/kurz gymnasium

For example in Zurich canton.. it is Gymnasium test at 6th grade, then 8th and 9th... is it same across cantons?
Is the level of exam same or different?
As others have said: Welcome to the federal system with 26 cantons and 26 different systems!
You will find a right mix: St. Gallen, Thurgau and Schaffhausen are the 3 cantons which rely solely on entrance exams. Zurich is one of 14 cantons with a combination of both grades and entrance exams (for entry after primary only!) and a number of cantons in Central Switzerland (Luzern, Zug, Nidwalden) and West Switzerland do not have entrance exam.

It is not black and white but in general, cantons with an entrance exam tend to have a more challenging admission policy that those canton without entrance exam. Also, according to NZZ, as a rule cantons in the French part of Switzerland have a less strict admission policy than cantons in German speaking Switzerland and in particular in cantons in East Switzerland. (https://www.nzz.ch/schweiz/aufnahmev...ler-ld.1310592)

Interestingly, in cantons with an entrance exam such as Zurich, it tends to be the same number of children passing the exams every year, 'nicely' matching the number of available places and the 'better-off' municipalities, such as Meilen or Kilchberg...

But even cantons without an entrance exam have their hidden selection mechanisms. For example, Zug, like Zurich is committed to keep the overall Gymnasium admission rate below 20%. Considering that the number of Gymnasium entrance is on the rise in both cantons, expect that requirements will get tougher in coming years.

Last edited by Bussibaer; 04.09.2017 at 14:39. Reason: Missing source
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Old 04.09.2017, 14:15
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Re: Gymnasium in German part of Swiss

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...Also, according to NZZ...
Could you please provide a link to the source?
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Old 04.09.2017, 15:07
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Re: Gymnasium in German part of Swiss

I agree that moving canton does not make much sense, it would likely be too disruptive even if other routes might be easier.

For your kids exam currently they would only look at the test score but as least someone has said that will change again. If you are very concerned it might make sense to take a prep course outside of what his or her school offers but these teach to the test and you still have to compete for the probezeit as soon as you join the Gymi anyway so you just push the pressure to a different time.

We have experience with the Zürich system after arriving in Switzerland at 5th Grade so if you would like to PM I can provide more details

I do also believe that different school even in the same canton test differently for the Matura but that is out in the future.
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Old 04.09.2017, 17:54
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Re: Gymnasium in German part of Swiss

You should look at more than just the ease of getting into gymi.
Zürich has the advantage of grammar schools with different profiles - arts or sciences and slightly differing philosophies, in smaller Kantons one is likely to have less choice.
If your kids want to stay in Switzerland, gymi is not a must. Many students who are not so academic and/or who are just not ready for hard study at 15, do very well following the Lehre and Berufsmatura pathway. Anecdotally, these students are often preferred by Swiss companies.
If the aim is to study outside Switzerland then the marks in Sek will give a good idea of the chances of passing the Zürich entrance exam -but it is competitive and the number of places is limited. Changing Kanton to get an easier way in is risky. It has been done, but the receiving school likes to think that the move came first......
Each school definitely writes their own Matura exams. There are, or there used to be a yearly federal set of exams but hardly anyone sat them as they were considered too tough.
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Old 29.03.2018, 10:11
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Hi there,

We are an American-Swiss family (American mom = me, Swiss dad). At home, I speak English with the kids and the kids speak English with each other - and then about half English, half German with my husband.

My older daughter took the Langzeitgymnasium text when she was in the 6th grade at a public school - and she did not pass. She went to a private Sekundarschule for two years (the Catholic school here in Zürich) and she did just end up passing the Kurzgymi test - and actually did so quite easily.

My younger daughter is now in the 6th grade and just took the exam. She did not pass either and will go to the same private school (and plans to try again in two years).

When my first daughter did not make it two years ago, it was upsetting to her and I was also kind of shocked and disappointed because she had good grades at school and had done so much preparation. But in particular, her German wasn't strong enough and she made a lot of little mistakes in the math that added up.

She really thrived at the private school with the individual attention and encouragement. In her class, everyone took the Kurzgymi exam and nearly everyone passed. That is definitely due in large part to the good preparation at the school, but also the Kurzgymi test is much more manageable. It is based on the material they learn at school. If you are a good student, you have a good chance of passing.

Other kids at the local public Sekundarschule tried the Kurzgymi test. Seemingly most did not make it, but several did. So I think it is still doable for kids at the public school.

Anyhow, I just wanted to share our experience that it is sometimes harder for bilingual/expat kids to make it to the Langzeitgymnasium...but the Kurzgymi is more within reach. And in our case, we felt like it was worth it to send our daughters to a private school for two years of Sekundarschule.

One other factor to consider. At present, admission to the Kurzgymnasium is currently based on the exam only. It is an advantage to go to a private school because you are better prepared. But perhaps as soon as the 2020 test, they will go back to counting "Vornoten" (existing grades/marks) for half of the results. And then the test results will count for the other half.

The Vornoten in math, German, English, French, Naturkunde (science) and Verhalten (behavior/comportment) will be averaged - and then this figure will be averaged with the test score average. A final average score of 4.75 would be required.

If your child goes to a private school the grades/marks will not count. Only the test results will count and a score of 4.25 will be required.

At present, a 4.0 is required for all kids without Vornoten.

The above info is based on a proposal from December 2016, which is still being developed. It is not clear if it will go into effect as planned. It might take longer. Also, the details are not fully clear. It might end up being different in the end (according to a recent phone call with an education department official working in this area).

Last edited by 3Wishes; 04.04.2018 at 20:58. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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