What exam should I choose?

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

You want to apply for your permanent residence permit, but first you need to pass one of the official government exams. Or maybe you are looking for a job and you’d like to improve your chances by adding Dutch to your Curriculum Vitae. You are wondering – what exam do I take?

Inburgeringsexam, Staatsexamen I or Staatsexamen II?

I’ve noticed there is quite a bit of confusion about what exams are available or valid and for whom they are meant.

Some people seem to think it’s a cumulative thing and that you first need to pass one before you can try to pass the next level exam, but this is not the case.


How to choose the right exam?

Choosing the right exam for you depends on what you need to take the exam for, in how big of a hurry you are, your level of education, your professional goals, and the extent to which you want to be a full member of Dutch society.

There are three different official government exams for Dutch that are valid when applying for your permanent residency permit:

  1. Inburgeringsexamen Level: A2
*

  2. Staatsexamen NT2 I Level: B1
*

  3. Staatsexamen NT2 II Level: B2

*

*According to the European Common Framework of References for Languages

Preparing for an exam always takes time. You not only need a sufficient command of the language in accordance with the level of exam you’d like to pass, but you also need to prepare for the type of questions and know how they want you to answer. You need to learn the ‘right way to respond’, so to say: the kind of questions you can expect, the kind of answers you are supposed to give, and the kind of skills considered important by the exam commission.


Inburgeringsexamen


What is the level required?

You need a very basic level of Dutch to pass this exam, level A2. This is the minimum level you need to be able to do the groceries, have a short conversation with a neighbour, or comment on the weather. According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages this is when you:

>Understand sentences and frequently use expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).

>Communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.


>Describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need


What is the Inburgeringsexam like?

This exam consists of 6 parts: reading, speaking, writing, listening, KNM (‘Kennis van de Nederlandse Maatschappij’, or Knowledge of Dutch Society) and ONA (‘Orientatie op de Nederlandse Arbeidsmarkt’, or Orientation on the Dutch Labour Market).

Is this for you?

> you are in a hurry to pass a test before the deadline for the residence permit expires

> your highest level of education in your home country is high school or vocational training

> you’d like to attend an MBO education school (for example an ROC)

> you have no interest or reason to learn Dutch other than passing an exam for your permit


Staatsexamen NT2 I


What is the level required?

This exam is at level B1, the minimum level you need to be able to work as a daycare teacher, doctor’s assistant, shop manager. According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, this is when you:

>Understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.

>Can deal with most situations likely to arise while traveling in an area where the language is spoken.


>Produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.


>Describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.




What’s the Staatsexamen I like?

This exam consists of 6 parts: reading, speaking, writing, listening, KNM (Knowledge of Dutch Society) and ONA (Orientation on Dutch Labour Market).


Is this for you?

> you’d like to use Dutch on a day-to-day basis and feel confident in different situations and social settings.

> your highest level of education in your home country is university, vocational school or trade school

> you have a primary school and/or high school education, and no other degrees, but you enjoy studying and learning new things and pushing your limits

> you’d like to enroll in MBO level 3 or 4 educational program

Staatsexamen NT2 II


What is the level required?

You need a more advanced level of Dutch to pass this, level B2. You need this exam to enroll in a Dutch HBO or University program, or when you want to work at a pre-academic or academic level. According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages this is when you:

>Understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization.

>Interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.

>Produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.


What’s it like?

This exam consists of 6 parts: reading, speaking, writing, listening, KNM (Knowledge of Dutch Society) and ONA (Orientation on Dutch Labour Market).


Is this for you?

> you’d like to use Dutch on a day-to-day basis and feel confident in different situations and social settings, speak Dutch with family and friends, use Dutch at work, feel comfortable talking to strangers, acquaintances and friends, and function independently in Dutch society.

> your highest level of education is a university degree

> you’d like to improve your Curriculum Vitae by adding a diploma that shows your command of Dutch

> you’d like to enroll in a Dutch HBO or university program


Test which exam would be best for you:

Answer these four questions, choosing one of the three options:


1.Why do you want to take an exam?

a) To obtain your residence permit asap or to find a job at MBO level 1/2

b) To enroll in a Dutch MBO level 3/4 or for better job opportunities

c) To enroll in a Dutch HBO or University program, or for better job opportunities at a (pre-)academic level.


2. What is your level of education?

a) Primary school, high school, vocational training

b) Vocational training, trade school

c) Trade school, university


3. What are your professional ambitions?

a) Working at MBO level 1/2 or working in a non-Dutch environment with no intention to change that on the long term

b) Working in a trade, at MBO level 3/4 or with the intention to do so on the longer run

c) Working at (pre-)academic level or with the intention to do so on the longer run


4. What are your personal ambitions?

a) I want to be able to order a coffee, do groceries and greet the neighbor

b) I want to be able to manage all daily activities in Dutch, including government correspondence, but I don’t mind if it takes a little more time and effort

c) I want to become fully fluent eventually, and use Dutch comfortably with friends/at work/daily activities/playdates/hobbies etc, using this exam as the next stepping stone to get there.



Now count how many A’s, B’s and C’s you have:

2 or more A’s = Sign up for the Inburgeringsexamen

2 or more B’s = Sign up for Staatsexamen NT2 level I

2 or more C’s = Sign up for Staatsexamen NT2 level II


If you’d like any advice or more info on the different types of exams and which fits your situation better, get in touch! 


#Inburgeringsexam #Exams #Staatsexamen #DailyDutch #RubioDutch

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