Higher Preparatory Examination For Danish Upper Secondary Students

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

The HF exam is based on the contents of the 2 year special preparatory programme. This is a 2 year programme with the following format. Different teachers provide training for the students in different subjects for this programme. The programme itself is a course in general education for ensuring that students are able to pursue further studies. The HF exam is taken for admission to higher education apart from restrictions appearing on account of regulations which have been laid down.

For the HF programme, students are either given a plan by the teacher or work with him or her on it. During later parts of the programme, the teacher and the student work in conjunction with each other to achieve a positive outcome in the exam. An HF examination has a group of common core subjects along with 3 optional subjects and a complete written assignment. Foreign languages can be studied at either beginner or continuation level depending upon their level of expertise. Students are given class instruction in the core individual subjects. Apart from this, there is also project work in specific subjects carried out within a group. This is known as group work.

The comprehensive HF examination is conducted in all subjects with the exception of visual arts, physical education and sports as well as music at a common core level. When instruction in the subject is over, the HF exam for it takes place at the end of the year. In case the subject has been selected as an optional subject, it is possible to omit appearing for the exam in a common core subject with the exception of certain subjects such as math, physics/chemistry in which an examination is always conducted.

HF Examination's Specific Format

In the HF exam, the written and oral examinations are given in the following subjects: Danish, English(which is optional), French/German (at continuation level as optional) common core of mathematics, mathematics optional and subjects chosen at a high level. Oral examinations are held in the remaining subjects.

The questions for the written exam are designed by the Danish Ministry of Education, specifically the department of genera/upper secondary education. The examination committee for each subject comprised specially selected teachers as well as the subject advisers for the department with regard to certain subjects.

Oral exams are held in subjects which are selected at random by the department for each particular school.
While external examiners mark the written exam papers, oral examinations are conducted by the teacher in collaboration with one external examiner to decide on the marks which will be allocated provided the external examiner has the final say in the allocation process. The Ministry of Education is responsible for the content of the special study programme as well as the exams that follow it. All students must take one or more written plus/or oral exams in the compulsory subjects. Alongside this, students also must take exams in certain subject groups pertaining to natural/culture/social science. Electives are also subjects for exams.

An HF exam also involves individual, major written assignments of 1 to 3 subjects and an exam project prepared on individual or group basis which includes 2 to 3 subjects. Term marks are not included within the programme for the HF exam. The HF exam is offered through general upper secondary schools.

Application Process and Fee

After completion of 9th or 10th grade education, students can give the get admittance in the programme by March 1. Following this, they will complete the training and apply for the exam following completion of the special study programme. Students can also join this programme if they are school drop-outs who have passed numerous subjects in general adult education courses. They can join the programme at a certain level.

Courses which must be passed to appear for the exam include Danish or Danish as a second language, English and math at D-Level. Along with this, science and one of the subjects-French/history/social studies/German at G-level or beyond that. The application deadline is the first fortnight of March. Students are notified in June and the programme commences in the month of August. The course fees are allocated by the Danish Ministry of Education as between 1,000 and 1,500 Danish kroner at private schools. 18 year old students and above can take economic assistance from the SU/state organisation.

The HF course is based on level 4 within the Danish Qualifications framework for learning throughout the life. The framework ranges from 1 to 8 and it is based on the benefits of education to empower students for careers and professional growth.

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