budapest buildings
Photo: Tamás

Not only because of the coronavirus epidemic but also due to some government measures, there are fewer external factors that would encourage Hungarians to learn a foreign language. As a result, the number of those taking a language exam fell significantly between 2019 and 2020, with the drop reaching 34 pc. 

According to, there are four important reasons why the number of people trying to get a language exam decreased in 2020 compared to 2019:

  • the number of students continuing their studies in higher education is falling;
  • language exams are not obligatory to start university studies;
  • the epidemic;
  • the government’s regulation allowing all those to get their degree who did not meet the language exam requirements.

In 2020, 91.4 thousand people wanted to continue their studies in Hungarian higher education, which is a 20 pc fall compared to the 2019 data. This number also means a

negative record in the issue: the last time this number was so small was in 2001.

This fact, of course, had a significant impact on the number of those trying to take a language exam. Furthermore, those who would like to go to a foreign university need an exam accredited in the target country or accepted by the target institution.

Until 2019, the government said that only those could start their higher education studies from 2020 who have a language exam. However, they modified this in November 2019.

Between 2011 and 2020, 1,273,228 people did a language exam.

English is the most popular while German is in second place.

Then comes Esperanto, French, and Lovari, a dialect of the Romani language. In 2018, 120,566 Hungarians tried to pass a language exam. This number increased by almost four thousand in 2019 but fell to slightly more than 82 thousand by 2020.


the number of those taking an online exam has not increased significantly since spring 2020,

even though that form is much safer in the current situation. Therefore, 85 pc of the candidates still try to pass a paper-based exam.


  1. From my experience in Hungary, the ones who don’t speak English doing you a favor when not interacting with you, so many idiots it’s unbelievable m no wonder the VAT IS 27%, IDIOTSSS

  2. I agree with you @Ahmed on what you say, as a Hungarian who has lived abroad since I was 6 years old (now 40), I could never see myself living back home, because of people’s attitudes. Hungarians can be very condescending and smug about things.

  3. As a retired American living in Hungary, I have found Hungarians to be very warm and welcoming.

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