The Higher Preparatory Examination programme (HF)

The Higher Preparatory Examination is referred to as the  Hojere Forberedelseseksamen in Danish. It is also known as the HF. This exam is given following the completion of a 2 year general programme in upper secondary education. Prior to this, students must have completed the studies up to the 10th grade in the Folkeskole. Apart from the HF, students can also give the STX, Higher Commercial Examination and several other such options. It all depends on the students.

In Denmark, there are around 75 institutions which provide full time programmes for the HF exams. About 61 of them are attached to the Gymnasium and most of these provide full time programmes lasting for 2 years. Many of these programme providing institutions are attached to colleges of education and adult education centres. 

Eligibility for the Test and Admission Requirements

Students must have completed 10 years of basic schooling at least one year prior to admission to be admitted for the test and its special preparatory programme. However, there are exceptions to the rule. Students who have not attended the 10th grade can be judged suitable for admission to an HF programme in case a HF school representative finds them suitable.Students who have gone to another school above 9th grade such as STX, HTX or HHX can opt for admission to HF schools. Those without completion of 10 years of education may appear for the HF exams under these circumstances.

Students who have received relevant teaching and passed required exams can stay in any upper secondary education programme of their choice. This includes the HF. In case the student seems unable to meet the rigor and standards required by the test, however, he may have to appear for an admission test for this purpose.

Format and Overview of Exam and Programme for HF

An hf exam qualifies the holder for admission to higher education programmes at Danish business academies, schools of technology and design and university colleges. 

Business academies and schools of technology and design

  • Normally 2-2,5 years (for example AP Graduate in multimedia design, marketing management or laboratory technology) 120 ECTS

University colleges

  • Normally 3,5 years (for example BA of education, BA of Science in Nursing or BA of Financial Management and Service) 210 ECTS

Facts about the two-year HF programme

The HF programme is divided into four semesters, and consists of the following subjects and elements:

  • Danish A*
  • English B
  • Mathematics C
  • The Natural Science Group (Biology C, Geography C, Chemistry C)
  • The Humanities and Social Science Group (History B, Social Science C, Religion C)
  • A choice of either physical education C or an artistic subject C
  • A choice of one set of interrelated subjects oriented to a profession
  • A practical project every semester
  • A major written assignment in the 4th semester
  • One or more electives

* A =upper level, B = medium level, C = basic level.

Sets of subjects oriented to a profession

  • Each set consists of two subjects at B-level or a B-level subject and a C-level subject. The two subjects must be interrelated and aim at broader education areas within Danish business academies and university colleges.
  • Each school must provide a number of sets which students can choose from. The subject sets are placed in the 3rd and 4th semester of the programme.
  • Schools may also offer advanced sets, which consist of at least one or two subjects at level A and one or more subjects at level B and possibly level C. An hf diploma including an advanced set qualifies the holder for admission to academic bachelors at Danish universities.
  • The advanced sets can be obtained within the two-year programme or in continuation of the programme.

Trainee courses with project focus

The hf programme consists of a minimum of three trainee courses. These courses aim at supporting the students in their choice of profession and further education. Each course combines a practical field-oriented dimension and a theoretical dimension. In the 3rd and/or 4th semester the courses are linked to the students’ chosen subject set.

Number of weekly periods

In the course of the two years each student completes a minimum of 1705 hours of classes. In addition to classes, the programme includes homework, written assignments, research, etc., as well as examinations.

Type of school

HF is typically offered by the general upper secondary schools, which also offer STX, and by the adult education centres (VUC), which also offer other types of adult education.

HF as independent subjects

HF is also offered as independent subjects and sometimes as sets at adult education centres, where approximately 80,000 students annually complete one or more hf subjects as independent subjects.

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