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I am afraid of the speaking exam!

Afraid of the Dutch inburgeringsexam? No worries! Here you can find some tips and tricks!

The Dutch Speaking Exam

So, you've signed up (or are planning to) for a Speaking exam. Whether it's a inburgeringsexamen or a NT2 Staatsexamen, chances are that you are nervous..

Many students save the speaking exam for last, because they fear it. But that's not necessary and nerves aren't going to work in your advantage anyway! In this article we'll give you some tips and tricks to pass the exam with confidence.

Passive versus active skills

As you probably already know, we can distinguish 4 types of skills when it comes to language learning: reading, listening, writing and speaking. The first two are what we call passive. You have to recognise and understand words, you have to understand the language and answer questions about it. Writing and speaking are active skills. You'll have to produce the language yourself. And that's the reason why most students fear these Dutch exams the most.

You should know though, that what is expected from you in terms of passive skills is different than what is expected from you in active skills. In other words: you don't have to be able to produce all the words you can understand. The Dutch used in the reading exam is way more difficult than what you are expected to show during the speaking and writing exam.

If the exams about the active skills were more difficult, you would be able to see this in the succes rates. But as you can see below, the speaking exam is not always the most difficult Dutch exam. The illustration shows the results for the Dutch NT2 Staatsexamens (B1 and B2)

Succes rates Dutch exam NT2

Most students think the reading exam is easiest, but as you can see, the succes rate is often lower than the succes rate of the speaking exam.

Keep it simple during the Dutch speaking exam

The Dutch speaking exam is not about showing off your most difficult words and sentence constructions. It's all about speaking clear and correctly. You'll loose points if you make mistakes. You don't earn extra points if you throw in complex grammar or words.

Example (this example is not an example for the Dutch inburgeringsexam):

Je krijgt een telefoontje van een vriend terwijl je in een belangrijke vergadering zit. Luister naar je vriend en reageer.

Vriend: "Hoi! Hoe gaat het? We hebben elkaar lang niet gesproken." So, a simple situation, but lot's of possibilities. Let's look at two options:

  1. Hoi! Wat leuk dat je belt. We hebben elkaar inderdaad lang niet gesproken. Ik waardeer het enorm dat je belt, maar op dit moment zit ik in een belangrijke vergadering. Kan ik je later terugbellen? Ik ben om 17:00 uur vrij, dan kunnen we bijpraten.

  2. Hoi! Ik ben op mijn werk, dus ik kan nu niet bellen. Ik bel je vanavond.

Both options are correct and would give you the same amount of points, but option 2 is way easier right? Why make it complicated? That would only increase the chance that you make a mistake. The words and grammar should be correct and the content should match the questions. Don't fall into the trap of showing off or experimenting while speaking. Try to stick to correct and easy phrases.

The Dutch inburgeringsexamen spreken

The speaking exam of the Dutch inburgeringsexam is a bit different than the NT2 Staatsexamen. The exam consists of two parts: a part where you answer questions by speaking into a microphone and a multiple choice part where you pick the most suitable reaction for a situation.

It's important to know that you have to do both parts of the Dutch inburgeringsexam spreken well. If you score the maximum amount of points in the first part, but fail in the second, you won't pass the exam. At the website of the inburgeringsexamen you can practice and test yourself.

Again: keep it short, correct and clear! Don't forget to pay attention to word order. Here you find more information about the Dutch writing exam.

Here you can download an example of the Dutch speaking exam inburgering (with questions and answers).