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Inburgeren exam tips and experience 2016

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:42 am
by Ale
Update: I received all my scores so I have updated the post.

I had many questions before taking the exams, so I decided to share my experience for anyone who would find it useful:

1) Inburgeren or NT2:

I was misinformed by my Dutch language school and registered for the NT2. Along the way I discovered the Inburgeren exam was all I needed and much easier, so I took that one. I obviously lost the money I paid for registering for the NT2, so don't do the same: if you only need to do Inburgeren (that is, if you do not need a certificate for studies or work), go Inburgeren.

Tip: use your DigiD to schedule and pay for the exam, but first ask for the mobile phone confirmation thing so that you can do so. It makes it all faster.

2) Preparation:

Unless you are speaking Dutch at home, take a course or two. I would not go for those Inburgeren courses because I think the language ones are better and cheaper, yet not enough: practice with all the material available on different websites, and do as many toets as possible, starting by those on the Inburgeren website: https://inburgeren.nl/examen-doen.jsp

Tip: you get familiarized with the system and will feel way more comfortable when taking the real exam.

3) The exam:

I will only talk about the 3 parts I already received my results for, since I do not know how I did on the other 2. My results were 10 in Reading, Listening and Kennis van de Nederlandse Maatschappij, so I guess I learned a thing or two about those:

Reading: Read first the question AND ALL THE 3 POSSIBLE ANSWERS. Then go to the text. Read it well 1 time, then scan back for keywords, but be careful: there are subtle details and most times 2 of the possible answers seen OK, but only the little key will point to the correct answer. IMO it is also better to read the entire text before answering, because it might seen like you found the answer on the first paragraph, etc, but a clue from paragraph 3 or 4 might indicate otherwise, so read well first.

Listening: Read first the question AND ALL THE 3 POSSIBLE ANSWERS. Watch/listen and realize you can STOP THE VIDEO OR GO BACK TO ANY POINT OF IT BY CLICKING ON THE BAR. This is key when searching for key words and moving on to the next question WHEN THE VIDEO IS THE SAME ONE, without wasting time listening to all of it again and only if you remember well what you heard and only want to double-check. If the voice reading the answers bothers you, please notice that you can stop it by clicking on the pause bottom. This is why familiarizing yourself with the system via the toets on http://www.inburgeren.nl helps.

Kennis van de Nederlandse Maatschappij: 40 questions, 45 minutes, so it is kind of heavy. 50% of the questions can be odd for most people coming from a Western country, so worry not unless (my apologies if it offends anyone, but it's my honest impression of some questions) your culture approves of violence against women, is man-superiority oriented, if you expect the government/someone else to pay/do everything for you, or have acute behavioural issues. The other 50% of the questions can be more difficult: belastingdienst stuff, names of institutions, gemeente-related questions, how to buy a house, how to rent, landlord issues/responsabilities, work life, employee-oriented associations/services, etc. I practiced only online and think that checking how the taxes and government work here is sufficient.

The other two tests? I share my experience now that I got my results, almost a month after the first three:

Writing: surprisingly, not only did I pass but scored an 8, which by all means is too much for my level of writing and the amount of study I put into it. This was the test that had me worried, and it was a relief to get the results and see that I passed and don't have to retake it.
I honestly don't remember much about the exam except that the first question is an email to be written, the second a form to be filled, and the other six (I think, I might have forgotten that exact number of questions by now) are phrases to complete.
The clues to write the email and fill the form are in the presentation of the question itself. I guess the key is to strictly follow the order and pay attention to the information you already know about the why of your email/details for the form. Don't be me and make the silly mistake of not following the order or filling the form with random info at times, for I am certain that is the reason my score wasn't better. That, and details such as writing "jouw" instead of "jou" four solid times within a 3 lines email...

When it comes to the sentences to complete, I was told by the DUO people at the exam to keep the answers short, make sure they make sense (one of mine kind of did not, by the way, so again, don't do that), and watch out for the grammar. The time for this test is the shortest of them all, yet I think it is enough.

Speaking: this was one I went cocky about, had zero preparation for and wasn't certain how I would do. I got a disappointing 7. At least I passed, which is good enough because see you never again, test. This exam was uncomfortable in my opinion: half the exam are questions being asked to you, which answers you must record yourself giving. It is enormously awkward to do so in the same room with the other test takers, and it is pretty easy to mess up the recording be speaking too low, so beware. One can practice with the tests on the http://www.inburgeren.nl website. Do so, I was lazy and did not, and clearly I would have benefitted from having done it, same way that website helped me much preparing for the other tests, so there you go. The other half of the questions are similar to the listening part. I don't remember the type of questions but you have to complete sentences or something similar. In any case I think that the second half of the exam is easier and will help out with the score. In my case, I am pretty sure I passed because of that part, and slacked on the recordings/speaking. Therefore, again don't be me and practice as much as possible, both talking to Dutch natives and by using the software/toets via http://www.inburgeren.nl.

In terms of the results, I received the first 3 (reading, listening and kennis) about a week and a half after taking the exams. Writing and Speaking arrived 5 weeks after the exams' date, funnily enough with a day of difference from each other. My scores were 10, 10, 10, 8 and 7. That 7 bugs me and ruins my fierce 10s, but if I am honest, it is fair.

In general: practice, take the test well-ahead of your IND deadline (so that you know you have other chances), be confident the day of the exam, don't waste time but check the clock, read carefully, and don't panic.

Re: Inburgeren exam tips and experience 2016

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:32 pm
by Octa
Hi Ale, congratulations =D>
Can you maybe give some clues for speaking test ? I will have my exam next week. Thanks

Re: Inburgeren exam tips and experience 2016

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:47 pm
by Ale
Octa wrote:Hi Ale, congratulations =D>
Can you maybe give some clues for speaking test ? I will have my exam next week. Thanks
Hi!

I haven't received my result for that one so I don't know how much advise I can give you! Perhaps just to not mind the other people while you have to record yourself, I found it intimidating to answer out loud, record myself and etc in the same room with other people.

They ask questions about the food you like, the things you do for work and etc, so it is relatively standard. The other half is similar to the listening part therefore you choose from several options.