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Inburgeren: The inburgeringsexam

How to prepare for inburgeringsexamen in the Netherlands

Studying Dutch? Chances are that you are working towards a Dutch test, like het inburgeringsexamen or het staatsexamen NT2. In this article you will read what you can expect from those exams and how you can prepare yourself.

Het inburgeringsexamen in the Netherlands

The inburgering consist of a few different tests.

  • Reading

  • Writing

  • Speaking

  • Listening

  • Knowledge of Dutch Society

Let's find out what these parts of the inburgeringsexamen are exactly. We will focus on the first four. Be aware that right now (2019/2020) the level of this exam is A2. In the future this might change and become B1.

Het inburgeringsexamen Lezen / Reading

The answers of this test are multiple choice. Many people who learn Dutch and do the inburgering describe this test as a race against the clock. But if you prepare yourself well by studying vocabulary and by reading texts suitable for your level, you will soon feel comfortable with the content.

You get a few small texts and a few questions about it. The most important thing of the reading exam is to not pick an answer based on a word or part of a phrase that you see in the text. Let's look at an example of a part of a text:

  • De winkel sluit gewoonlijk om 17:00. Het personeel maakt vervolgens de winkel schoon en gaat om 17:45 naar huis. Op zaterdagen sluiten we een uurtje eerder dan op de andere dagen.

  • The shop normally closes at 17:00. The staff then cleans the store and goes home at 17:45. On Saturdays we close an hour earlier than on the other days.

Let's say the question is: at what time does the shop close on Saturday?

  • A) 16:00

  • B) 17:00

  • C) 17:45

If you don't read well, you might go for option B or C, which would be a mistake. Many questions in this exam are similar. So read carefully!

Het inburgeringsexamen Schrijven / Writing

The most important advice that we can give students for the writing exam is: Keep It Simple.

What are they going to look at in the writing exam of the inburgeringsexamen?

A few things are really important. You will definitely earn points:

  • If you cover everything you had to mention in your letter or text according to the exercise.

  • If your text is understandable.

  • If you made not too much errors in grammar (conjugation of verbs, word order, right pronouns, etc.)

  • If you spelled words well (don't worry about some small spelling mistakes)

  • If you used connectors to make a little story of it (maar, en, of, want & dus are your safe basis, check our grammar lessons about conjunctions)

What is of lesser importance during the inburgeringsexamen schrijven?

  • De/Het-errors.

  • If you show a lot of variation in your language or use difficult words.

  • (Very) small spelling mistakes.

Keep it simple!

You normally get a few letters you have to write during the exam and one or two forms to fill. Important is to not do more than expected during the inburgeringsexamen if you are not 100% sure how. If you have to write a letter to a friend, asking how he is doing and if he wants to go to the cinema next week, then do exactly that. Don't ask that imaginary friend how his birthday party was or if his dog is doing well: this doesn't give you more points. It just makes it more likely that you make mistakes!

Check always if you wrote your verbs well and keep an eye on your word order. These things matter. You can find lots of practice material online, also on this website, of course we highly recommend looking at the official website from het inburgeringsexamen and prepare yourself by making some practice tests.

Het inburgeringsexamen Speaking / Spreken

Het inburgeringsexamen spreken has two parts: antwoord geven en meerkeuze vragen. The speaking exam takes half an hour.

You will see videos of a person talking and asking you something. You have to answer. Just like in the writing exam it is better to keep it simple, but formulate full sentences. If they ask you what your favourite food is, you don't say: pizza. You could say: Ik eet graag pizza or Mijn favoriete eten is pizza.

During the second part of the exam you will see videos again, normally of a conversation between two people. The conversation is suddenly stopped. You have to pick a sentence from the answer options to finish the conversation of the video.

As you can see you have to develop your listening skills too in order to make the speaking exam of het inburgeringsexamen! So make sure you surround yourself with the Dutch language.

Het inburgeringsexamen Luisteren / Listening

During this test you will listen to audio recordings and videos. Based on what you hear you can pick one of the multiple choice answers to answers the question. To prepare yourself for the listening exam you need more or less the same vocabulary as for the reading exam. Expose yourself to lots of Dutch radio, youtube videos and television programs to get used to the Dutch sounds and be able to distinguish the words.

You can use this website from The Dutch Online Academy to build up a steady foundation for your inburgeringsexamen. Have fun learning! In the end, all your hard work makes it easier and more fun to talk with Dutch people around you, read Dutch articles, newspapers and books and listen to Dutch radio and television. Keep it up!