Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is probably the most famous fictional school in the world. Harry Potter and his friends went through a tumultuous education in Hogwarts over the years, riddled by Lord Voldemort’s attempts to murder everyone and conquer the world. Due to the events that transpired, many fans still wonder, how many school years are there in Hogwarts?
There are seven school years in Hogwarts. The First Year starts when students are about 11–12 years old, while the Seventh Year begins at 17-18 years of age. Many fans mistakenly think there are eight years due to eight Harry Potter movies, but that’s not the case.
Apart from teaching magic and having a noseless guy trying to kill everybody each year, Hogwarts kind of operates in the same way as other non-magical schools in the United Kingdom. They have terms, finals, and breaks, quite similar to other schools. Let’s dive into the Hogwarts curriculum a bit deeper – here’s all you need to know.
How Many Years Are There In Hogwarts?
There are seven school years every Hogwarts student needs to pass to complete their education. It usually begins when students are about 11-12 years old and finishes when they are 17-18 years old.
Of course, that depends on every student individually. That’s when students are usually deemed “ready” to start their magic training and when first signs of magical abilities start to manifest. However, it can sometimes vary, depending on the individual – their Hogwarts letter can come earlier or later. Let’s dissect the school years and the skills acquired by the students.
Young witches and wizards, most commonly between eleven and twelve years old, get their Hogwarts invitation letter, after which they start attending the school. Before the school year starts, each student is required to obtain the necessary equipment, including books, wands, etc.
After they are sorted into one of the four Houses – Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin – every student receives a House robe. They aren’t allowed to have broomsticks until they’ve finished the Flying class.
Common First Year classes included Herbology, Potions, Transfiguration, Astronomy, Charms, Flying, History of Magic, and Defence Against the Dark Arts. Like every school year, students must pass their final exams in each class to move on to the Second Year.
Second Year students are already sorted into houses. Previously, they had to arrive at the castle in boats by crossing the lake with the Keeper of the Keys and Grounds – in Harry Potter’s time attending Hogwarts, it was Rubeus Hagrid. When they reach the Second Year, students can reach the school by traveling with Thestral-pulled carriages.
The classes were more or less the same as in the First Year, only advanced in the program, and students could also carry their own broomsticks despite not having the Flying class in their curriculum.
Third Year students were now 13-14 years old, usually, and gained permission to go to Hogsmeade – a nearby magical village – on certain weekend trips, provided that they had signed consent from their parents or guardians.
It was also the first year where students could choose two to three more elective classes to go along with the usual curriculum, which was the same as the previous two years: Herbology, Potions, Transfiguration, Astronomy, Charms, Flying, History of Magic, and Defence Against the Dark Arts. Hermione Granger used a time-turner to be able to attend all electives at once.
The Fourth Year in Hogwarts is almost completely identical to the Third Year program-wise – two to three elective classes, along with the regular classes they attended each year.
However, the program and spells were much more difficult, and there was much more work done by the students to prepare for their O.W.L. exams. Ordinary Wizarding Level exams are taken in the Fifth Year, but preparations start much earlier.
The Fifth Year might be the most important school year for every Hogwarts attendee. First, they have to pass their O.W.L. exams, after which they become Ordinary Level wizards and witches. How well they do on the exams determines which N.E.W.T. courses they can choose the next year.
Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests determine which career they can choose after finishing their education. The Head of each House has individual meetings with fifth-year students to talk about their results and provide career counseling based on their O.W.L. scores.
Sixth Year students were now 16-17 or older, depending on how many times they had to repeat years one through five. This is when career-defining N.E.W.T.-level classes begin, depending on how well the student did on their O.W.L. exams and what career they chose. It’s also the first year where they can partake in Apparition lessons for an extra payment.
In the Sixth Year, a student can choose how many classes they want to take at the N.E.W.T. level if they meet the requirements to take them. That meant more free time for sixth-year students, but the homework and lessons in each class were much harder, so they had to study harder as well.
Finally, in the Seventh Year, students were usually around 17-18 years old if they didn’t have to repeat any school year before this one. Students complete their studies and classes which they choose to attend at the N.E.W.T. level. At the end of the year, they have to complete the N.E.W.T. tests for each of those subjects to complete their official Hogwarts education.
Some students didn’t even take those classes because some careers and magic professions required only the O.W.L.-level exams to be completed.
Harry, Hermione, Ron, and their generation’s Seventh Year was quite unorthodox because they had the Battle of Hogwarts commencing against Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters instead of their final exams.
Is There An Eight Year In Hogwarts?
There isn’t an eight school year in Hogwarts, although students could attend the school for more than seven or eight years if they fail to complete each year’s classes in time. Fans tend to mistakenly believe there were eight years in Hogwarts because there are eight Harry Potter movies.
However, the Seventh Year of Harry’s education was stretched out to two films: Deathly Hallows Part One and Two.
How Long Is A School Year In Hogwarts?
Hogwarts follows a similar pattern to most other non-magical schools in the United Kingdom. The school year is divided into three terms.
The first term starts on September 1st and finishes around the Christmas holidays when the students have their first two-week break.
The second term begins after the Christmas holidays and lasts until the Easter holidays, which also last for approximately two weeks.
The third term starts after the Easter holiday break and lasts until the last week of June. The big summer break between school years lasts about nine weeks.
During the Easter and Christmas breaks, students can choose to leave and go home or stay in Hogwarts. There are no other breaks or holidays during the year, apart from an occasional road trip with the school to Hogsmeade.