Comparable standards

PAL examinations

Examination exercises

The examination exercises are developed by 1.015 honorary PAL expert committee members in 126 technical committees and working groups with support from over 50 full-time PAL employees. Examinations are currently offered in the following professional categories:
  1. Metal and plastics technology professions
  2. Vehicle technology professions
  3. Design professions
  4. Electro--technical professions
  5. Clothing professions
  6. Construction and wood technology professions
  7. Scientific, food-industry and
  8. environmental technical professions
  9. Economic and social studies

Comparable standards throughout Germany

PAL examinations are carried out at the same time and with identical content throughout Germany. So comparable standards in the examinations are ensured. This allows apprentices flexibility and mobility when applying for jobs. Achieving a consistently high quality of examination exercises is the focus of examination setting.
Essential features in ensuring the quality of examinations are:
  • objectivity
  • validity
  • reliability
  • economic efficiency
One special characteristic of PAL examinations is that not only theoretical knowledge, but also practical skills are tested. Therefore, the examinations have a high significance for the operational practice.

Export of vocational training based on the German role model

Abroad, the dual vocational training “Made in Germany” is becoming increasingly popular. Worldwide German companies are facing the challenge to find qualified professionals for their products and services. A lot of companies are recollecting the good experiences made in Germany, where the professionals are trained and qualified by the companies themselves. In this context PAL is an important partner and plays a key role in the area of the commercial-technical occupations. In many places the German chambers of commerce abroad are using the examination tasks provided by PAL for intermediate and final examinations. They receive the unique limited usage right from PAL for each single examination. Through the examination tasks provided by PAL and the structure for vocational education of the German chambers of commerce abroad, they are able to ensure the quality of the training program by following the German role model. So the chambers of industry and commerce worldwide are able to support their member companies to train professionals according to German standards.  

Creation of examination exercises 

Expert committees

The expert committees are responsible for the draft, revision, test and implementation of examination exercises.

Equal representation

The expert committees generally consist of nine members and include equal numbers of representatives of employers and employees as well as teachers from vocational colleges. Members of PAL expert committees must have expert knowledge in the relevant examination area and need a reference as an examiner of a regional examination board.

Honorary work

The honorary work of the expert committees is one key aspect of PAL's work.

Project managers

The full-time PAL project managers organize the development of exercises. They schedule and attend over 350 meetings of the expert committees and working groups every year and ensure that the exercise drafts are adopted in a form that complies with current standards and norms.

Increasing costs and work

The fragmentation of apprenticeship jobs into different specializations, fields of application, focus areas, etc. is increasing. Consequently, the number of candidates taking examinations is decreasing for each professional specialization while the number of offered examinations is still arising. This leads to increasing costs and work concerning the creation of examinations. However, the aim of PAL remains developing high-quality examinations at reasonable costs.

Development and implementation of new examinations

The development, review and selection of examination exercises is a complex process, lasting approximately two years. Each year, the PAL expert committees develop new exercises for the intermediate and final examinations, so that candidates are always confronted with new scenarios that are relevant in practice. The expert committees are able to access a large and continuously updated and expanded pool of existing exercises.

PAL examinations – custom-made high quality products

Using the Plan-Do-Check-Act method, PAL generates, ensures and optimizes the quality of nationwide examinations.  


  • What do frameworks/regulations look like?
  • What needs to be examined according to regulations?
  • Identification of requirements
  • Determination of activities Definition of standards  


  • How do we implement our requirements qualitatively?
  • How do we create our examinations?
  • Implementation of activities that were agreed upon in the "PLAN" section


  • How is the developement process being carried out?
  • How do we ensure the quality of the examination documents?
  • Monitoring of success
  •  Review of examination development and implementation


  • How do we ensure the qualitiy of the examination preparation process?
  • What do we learn from this process?
  • Quality assurance Continuous process of optimization