If you want to withdraw from an examination attempt in Germany due to illness, it is better to state a physical illness as the reason. Mental illnesses are often not recognized as a reason by examination offices and courts - in any case, an elaborate description of the diagnosis by the doctor is necessary. In the end, it is not the official medical certificate, but the examination committee that decides on the ability to take exams. The official medical statement that they are not able to take an examination does not mean that the test participant is not able to take an examination. Especially with regard to mental illnesses, this leads to results that are difficult to understand for test participants.
The examination committees first check whether it is a "long-term disease". According to the case law, this does not lead to an acute illness-related reduction in performance, which could be accepted as a reason for resignation, but rather determines the permanent performance of the examinee (e.g. OVG NRW, NJW 2020, 1084 para. 35). Persistent depression can therefore not be recognized unless the doctor clearly states in his diagnosis that it is a disease flare-up or something similar.
But even acute mental illnesses are not necessarily recognized by the examination boards. In the summons to the legal state examinations, it is explicitly stated that "Usually in the case of exam anxiety and exam psychosis, there is no hindrance to an exam in the legal sense." Even if an official doctor's certificate confirms that they are unable to take the exam, the test participants run the risk that the illness will not be recognized as a hindrance. The reference for other tests should not be as clear as this. Nevertheless, the same applies to almost all exams. The examination board independently checks whether there was a hindrance on the basis of the certificate. This must therefore be able to determine the inability to take the examination on the basis of the findings given in the certificate. The requirements are higher than for a conventional medical diagnosis, because members of the examination committee who are not doctors (usually with the exception of medical examinations) and administrative judges must be clear about the extent to which an examination was incapable and how this was determined. In this respect, the VGH Baden-Württemberg does not consider it sufficient if the diagnosis is based “essentially on the recollections described by the plaintiff” (cf. VGH Baden-Württemberg decision of April 26.04.2021, 9 - 1029 S 21/XNUMX). It is obvious that this leads to considerable problems in the case of mental illnesses: The diagnosis of mental illnesses is based on the experiences and feelings of the person concerned. The diagnosis is therefore based on their memories. Unfortunately, a kind of “fever thermometer” has not yet been invented for mental illnesses.
Even if the mental illness itself would be recognized as a hindrance, caution is advised when withdrawing from exams that have already started: Exam participants who knew they were ill may have made a conscious risk decision (see VGH Baden-Württemberg decision v. 26.04.2021/9/1029 - 21 S XNUMX/XNUMX). In principle, they must allow themselves to be adhered to if they discover after the start of the examination that they cannot take part. You can no longer withdraw and have to accept the result of the exam.
So if you are unable to take an exam due to a mental illness, it would be better to (suddenly) break your leg or - less painfully - have diarrhea. There can be many reasons for diarrhea (gastrointestinal infections, certain foods, food intolerance, etc.), some of which are available in pharmacies or drugstores. In uncomplicated cases (if only a normal gastrointestinal infection is suspected), no further medical examinations are usually carried out.
diarrhea is also a disease known to the examination committees and understandable for them. Doubts as to whether a person suffering from diarrhea is not able to take exams and can take part in exams (often lasting several hours) can hardly be justified even by examination committees and administrative courts.