Thu, Mar. 06, 2008

Finals: Ready, Set, Stop!

CK - Washington.   Law school in Germany takes seven semesters or more. When you feel you are ready for the comprehensive final, you want to get it behind you. To their dismay, Heidelberg law students yesterday arrived at the assigned test center only to find fire engines and closed doors. The Heidelberg court house where the written exams were supposed to take place, suffered a fire.

The test was rescheduled for today which will bring the Heidelberg exam out of sync with the rest of the state of Baden-Württemberg. The Staatsexamen is a final state-wide examination with a stress level possibly exceeding that of the bar exam in D.C. The bar takes two days while the German first exam in law lasts almost a week and is topped off with orals scheduled a few months after the written part.

In addition, the bar is the culmination of a perpetual exam season that begins in the first semester of law school. By contrast, there are few interim tests in a German law school--although Heidelberg now offers a preparation program for the state finals. Then suddenly, a marathon of daily exams lasting five hours each.

To make things worse for the poor Heidelbergenses, who rely on street cars and buses, the public transportation system is set for a strike tomorrow morning. Seems like the candidates might as well spend the night at the Weinloch in Untere Strasse or similar establishments designed to fill the meek with courage.

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