OWLS 1996

O.W.L exams being taken in the Great Hall

"Anyway, it's a nightmare of a year, the fifth."
George Weasley's opinion of fifth year[src]

A fifth year is a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who is in their fifth year of magical education. Fifth years are typically fifteen to sixteen years of age. At the end of this year, students take Ordinary Wizarding Level examinations, in order to determine what subjects they are allowed to take at N.E.W.T.-level.

During the fifth year

"You realise we've got to write three essays, practise Vanishing Spells for McGonagall, work out a countercharm for Flitwick, finish the bowtruckle drawling, and start that stupid dream diary for Trelawney?"
—The increase of homework during O.W.L. year[src]
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The trio in their fifth year

The fifth year is very important for students, due to the fact that it is the year in which they must sit their O.W.L. exams, which will determine what N.E.W.T. courses they will be permitted to take later on in their education. O.W.L.s also determine what job opportunities they can pursue in the future. They will receive career counselling from their Heads of House, where they will be advised as to what N.E.W.T.-level classes they should take in order to qualify for their desired career. The amount of homework for each class is also increased drastically and much of the year is spent studying.


Fifth year students must take Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, History of Magic, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Astronomy and Herbology. They must also take at least two of Divination, Arithmancy, Study of Ancient Runes, Care of Magical Creatures, and Muggle Studies.[1] Students may choose to drop an elective if it becomes a burden.



"There's been a mistake. No one in their right mind would make Ron a prefect..."
Fred Weasley[src]

Every year, one male and female Fifth Year student per House is selected to become a Prefect by the professor who was appointed Head of the House in which they are, though the Headmaster may intervene, as with Harry Potter's case (Professor Dumbledore thought he had enough responsibilities to go with). They would likely continue to be Prefects in their sixth and Seventh years. Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley became Prefects for Gryffindor house in Harry's Fifth year.

Required textbooks


Notes and references

Hogwarts years
First - Second - Third - Fourth - Fifth - Sixth - Seventh
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