If you went to school somewhere other than Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Hungary or Slovenia, then in order to continue your studies in the Czech Republic, you need to verify your school certificate. The procedure of recognition of your education in the Czech Republic to is called nostrification.
The majority of foreign applicants to Czech universities are former schoolchildren, i.e. holders of a complete general secondary education certificate.
Obviously, students with college or ever university diplomas come to us as well. If you need to nostrify a diploma of secondary specialized or higher education, follow the link below.
So, to nostrify a secondary school education certificate, you have to take nostrification exams. Having successfully passed them, you will receive a confirmation that your school certificate is equivalent to the Czech one. Without this confirmation, foreign applicants cannot be admitted to state universities, even if they successfully pass the entrance exams.
You can also get nostrification without any exams, but it has its own aspects. You can find detailed information by clicking at the link below.
Now we will try to answer the most common questions related to school certificate nostrification. If you don’t find the answer to your question, please contact us at email@example.com
• Read also: Why do you need to take exams for your certificate to be recognized?
What documents are required?
In order to take the nostrification exams, you have to:
- provide a certificate with grades enclosure,
- provide a certificate with the number of academic hours during your studying in 10th, 11th (and if you studied longer, in 12th) grade,
- be registered in the region of the Czech Republic where you submit the application for certificate recognition,
- provide a power of attorney from parents written out for an adult representative of the student who applies for nostrification exams (for minors).
What are the formal requirements for documents?
It is very important to pay attention to the legalization of documents issued outside the Czech Republic.
If a document of education is issued by a country that was a party to the 1961 Hague Convention, it must be apostilled.
List of the countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Tajikistan. The list of all countries can be found here.
The exception is countries that have a bilateral agreement with the Czech Republic on recognition of documents without additional legalization (Smlouva o právní pomoci a právních vztazích ve věcech občanských, rodinných a trestních).
List of the countries: Georgia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine. The list of all countries can be found here.
In all other cases, consular, or so-called super-legalization, is required. It is always worth to follow the current situation, because agreements between countries may either end, or, the other way around, new ones may be signed.
All submitted documents need to be translated into Czech. Attention! – translation can only be done by a translator who is included in the Czech register of court translators. Translations of other translators, even notarized ones, are not recognized by Czech institutions.
How to apply for nostrification?
Study centers’ consultants help students of preparatory courses to collect all documents and apply for nostrification. Consultants do it for free, you do not need to pay for assistance in diploma nostrification as a separate service – this is included in the course price. Consultants make notarized copies of documents, find a Czech court translator (not only from Russian), provide translation and control if it is correct, fill out an application to the education department, check the presence of all necessary documents, communicate with officials during the process of scheduling exams and obtaining confirmations. They also help with an appeal if necessary.
Documents are submitted to the education department of the regional administration. In Prague – to the city hall.
1. Application form
The application form may differ in various regions, so you better use the application form from the website of the administration where you are submitting your documents.
2. Certificate or diploma with attached grades
Educational documents need to be legalized and translated into Czech by a court translator (see the paragraph “What are the formal requirements for documents?” above).
3. State school license
Needed if you graduated from a non-state (private) educational institution.
4. School curriculum or confirmation of the number of teaching hours
The curriculum should indicate the number of teaching hours for each subject per year. The list of subjects has to correspond to the certificate attachment with grades.
5. Confirmation of registration
It can be a copy of your residence agreement or a confirmation from the dormitory where you live. If you are not yet in the Czech Republic, your representative can submit documents without this confirmation.
6. Power of attorney to the person who deals with your nostrification
If you are a minor student, your parents should give the power of attorney. The power of attorney must be notarized, and then translated into Czech by a Czech court translator.
7. Administrative fee of 1000 CZK
It is paid at the payment office of the regional administration BEFORE submitting documents.
What are the exams?
The algorithm for scheduling exams is very simple – the fewer study hours you have for a subject, the more likely it will be assigned as an exam.
The law does not define a certain number of exams. Based on many years of experience, we can say that graduates of Russian, Ukrainian and Kazakh schools are most often assigned three exams. Graduates of Belarusian schools – four. But in some cases there may be more exams, from what we have seen – there were cases when five exams were assigned.
The most often assigned subjects are the ones of natural sciences: biology, chemistry, geography. Over the past few years, computer science, English and social studies have been assigned more frequently.
In addition to the subjects mentioned above, physics, math and history can also be assigned. What definitely cannot be assigned (and this is determined by law) is an exam in the Czech language and literature.
Can I reduce the number of exams by submitting documents from a university as well?
It should be mentioned right away that certificates of academic hours for grades 8 and 9 are not considered – for Czech officials this is primary (basic) education level. Similarly, confirmations from universities that the applicant has studied there for a year or two do not affect exams assigning.
In other words, education department workers who deal with nostrification issues consider only documents that indicate the time you spent on obtaining a document on complete secondary education, the subjects you studied at that time and the results you achieved (your grades in the appendix).
How and when does the exam take place?
Exams are held at grammar schools – gymnasiums or colleges. Unfortunately, each school organizes these exams in its own way, based on its capabilities. If there are a lot of applicants, most likely a written test will take place, if the school is not drastically overloaded, most likely there will be an oral exam.
Most often, exams are held in oral form. The exams are held in Czech, so applicants often have to make use of an interpreter’s help. Not anyone has the right to interpret these exams, it can only be a court translator who is in the state register. To find an interpreter, ask your study center consultants and teachers for a piece of advice.
The exact date of the examination and its form (written or oral) is determined by the head master of the gymnasium indicated in the decision of the education department. Students usually have at least a month to prepare for the exams.
Each of the schools has its own policy regarding the registration for exams, providing topics for preparation, informing about the results and choosing the examination form. Therefore, every person who is passing nostrification exams has to understand that there will always be unique conditions – face-to-face with the committee or with test tasks.
While everything is more or less clear with the written test (you will either need to choose the correct answer from the given ones, or write your own), the procedure of an oral exam may vary. In a standard situation, examinees are given three questions and 15 minutes for preparation, then the commission listens to their answers for 15 minutes, additional questions may be asked as well. But the experience has shown that you might not be given time to prepare, the reason is simple: “Well, after all, you have been preparing for this exam, you should know at least something…”
Are the nostrification exams graded?
No, only “passed” or “did not pass” in written in the protocol. It is enough to know the learning material for 60% to successfully pass the test. Nevertheless, the preparation process should not be taken lightly and you should not overestimate your knowledge – some students paid for this with failure at nostrification exams and subsequent difficulties with entering state universities.
What is the best way to prepare for nostrification exams?
It all depends on how well a student knows the assigned subjects. For some people, it is enough to flip through textbooks and take a glance at educational websites on the Internet. Some, on the contrary, will not be able to pass these exams without a tutor and intensive preparation.
Individual preparation or preparation in small groups with a tutor is the best choice for those who have some gaps in their knowledge. Unfortunately, not always and not all tutors are conscientious, so you better read reviews, talk to your friends, or ask teachers and consultants for advice before paying for someone’s classes.
Preparation for nostrification exams is not included in the ÚJOP UK preparatory courses.
Where can I get the question lists to prepare for the exams?
There are no question lists as such. There are some topics on which specific questions will be asked, you can find them on the websites of the gymnasiums or ask the school to send you these topics. Why is that so? Because it is assumed that people who want to verify their education have studied a full subject course at secondary school and have information on all required topics. Therefore, they should be able to figure out how to answer a specific question.
There is an important BUT here – differences in the content of learning programs. Some topics of each of the subjects (take chemistry, for example) are not studied at all in secondary schools of the CIS countries. Some subjects, such as social science, are simply organized differently. And in geography program, much more emphasis is placed on the economic and political aspects. How can you deal with this?
First, read the WHOLE list of topics and understand what you are unfamiliar with, what you did not study at school. Secondly, assess your abilities objectively – whether you can independently study the unknown material (either in your native language, or in Czech). Third, set aside ENOUGH time to prepare. Students have at least a month from the date when the exams are assigned till the day they take them.
What is the success rate at the nostrification exams?
A little more than half of the students pass nostrification exams at the first attempt (information is based on Prague gymnasiums’ statistics). Almost all of the remaining ones pass on the second try. Only a few students go to take nostrification exams for the third or fourth time. Students of courses in Poděbrady say that the chances of passing on the first try are quite high.
How many times can nostrification exams be taken?
If you were denied recognition of your certificate due to failure at the nostrification exams, you can submit new applications an unlimited number of times. There is only one necessary condition: the second (third and further) applications cannot be submitted before an official refusal in nostrification for the current process has been received.
How long is the nostrification confirmation valid?
The general nostrification confirmation has no expiration date, meaning that you get it once and it is valid for the rest of your life.
Why should I think about all this if I am offered to buy nostrification?
It can lead to such consequences that at one “fine” moment the police will call and ask you to explain how you have received your nostrification confirmation. Then you will be deprived of your visa, all the years that you spent studying at a university will be considered invalid, and you will return home without anything, only with a tarnished reputation. This is not a scary story, but facts – news about unveiling of corruption schemes like this appears in Czech media from time to time.
What can I do if I did not pass the nostrification exams in time?
If you cannot get the usual general nostrification, there is an opportunity to recognize your documents at the faculty where you will study. We have written an article about this on our blog, read Nostrification of the school certificate at your faculty.
Apart from Charles University, such recognition can be issued by all universities that have received the right to conduct institutional accreditation (and those are almost all universities in the Czech Republic).