The Reflection Grating Spectrometer (RGS) onboard the ESA satellite XMM (X-ray Multi Mirror mission) combines a high resolving power (approximately 400 at 0.5 keV) with a large effective area (approximately 200 cm2). The spectral range selected for RGS (5 - 35 angstroms) contains the K shell transitions of N, O, Ne, Mg, Al, Si and S as well as the important L shell transitions of FE. The resolving power allows the study of a wide variety of challenging scientific questions. Detailed temperature diagnostics are feasible as the ionization balance is a unique function of the distribution of the electron temperature. Density diagnostics are provided by studying He-like triplets where the ratio of the forbidden to intercombination lines varies with density. Other fields of interest include the determination of elemental abundances, the study of optical depth effects, velocity diagnostics by measuring Doppler shifts and the estimate of magnetic fields through the observation of Zeeman splitting. The resolving power is obtained by an array of 240 gratings placed behind the mirrors of the telescope, dispersing about half of the X-rays in two spectroscopic orders. The X-rays are recorded by an array of 9 large format CCDs. These CCDs are operated in the frame transfer mode. They are back illuminated as the quantum efficiency of front illuminated devices is poor at low energies because of their poly-silicon gate structure. To suppress dark current the CCDs are passively cooled. In order to obtain the effective area of about 200 cm2, grating arrays and CCD cameras are placed behind two of the three XMM telescopes. A model of RGS was tested last autumn ('93) at the Panter long beam X-ray facility in Munich. The model consisted of a subset of four mirrors, eight representative gratings covering a small section of the inner mirror shells and a CCD camera containing three CCDs. The purpose of these tests was to verify the resolution and sensitivity of the instrument as a function of X-ray energy. Extensive simulations, using a Monte Carlo raytracing code, are used to interpret these tests. Preliminary results of these tests will be discussed and compared to the calculated response.