With the news making rounds that the difficulty level of the inburgering exams may be increased from A2 to B1 in 2021, almost everyone is scrambling to complete the exams as soon as possible. And rightly so! If you can do something in A2 level, why would you want to wait till it gets to B1 level?
So, here I am to give you some tips for the Writing and Speaking inburgering exams in A2 level
- Writing exam is on paper unlike other exams (on the computer). If you are like me and think you don’t have a great handwriting, do your practice on paper rather than on the computer.
- During your preparation, time yourself – this will help you get used to the time pressure in the exam.
- What do they evaluate in your answers? This is called the assessment model (Beoordelingsmodel). Adequacy is the most important thing they evaluate in the exam. You can see the full assessment model in the duo website. If adequacy is not good, other things don’t matter at all (doesn’t matter if you write grammatically correct sentences that do not answer the question):
- Write atleast 3 sentences for each exercise (opdracht), but keep it precise (not more/not less)
- Write about everything that is asked; do not miss any point asked in the opdracht
- During the exam, usually there is one question where you need to fill-in a form. Many people consider this the easiest because you just need to fill-in your personal details (you do remember your name, phone number, email address 😊 don’t you?). As this exam is on paper, you have your entire question paper with you – you can start in any order. Start your exam with this question because it is a great confidence booster!
- Write short sentences as much as possible.
- Use more of Hoofdzin (Independent sentence) and less bijzin (sentence which is dependent on the hoofdzin) as much as possible. This will avoid mistakes related to word order.
- Usage of conjunctions (voegwoorden) gives you extra points. Use conjunctions like (en, of, want, maar, dus) rather than conjunctions like (omdat, als etc). You use the first set of conjunctions between two hoofdzins and you use the second set of conjunctions between a hoofdzin and a bijzin (This is more difficult and a possibility for mistakes related to word order).
- Check Articles (de/het) of all words. Tip: In Dutch, majority of the words are ‘de’ words. So, when in doubt, simply use ‘de’ and the probability that it is correct is higher 😊. ‘Diminutief’ is a noun ending with -je, -tje, -mpje, -pje, -etje. These are always ‘het’ words.
- If they mention the number of sentences in the opdracht – try and stick to it.
- Use appropriate beginnings/endings. (Greetings – Beste, Hallo etc) and (Salutations – Met vriendelijke groet, Groetjes etc)
- When asked, do not miss even dates and signatures – you might be wondering how this is important in a language exam, but it is about adequacy.
- In forms to fill-in, pay attention to: [Voornaam (First Name)] (vs) [Voorletters (Initials)]. This is an easy mistake to avoid!
- In forms to fill-in, strike through the wrong one and circle the correct one: [M (Man)] (vs) [V (Vrouw)]
- Check eenvoud (singular)/meervoud (plural) of all words that you write. This is a common mistake that we tend to make when learning!
- Check Tenses (present/past) of all words.
- Write with enough space between words/lines so that there is space to make corrections if required. Again, this is useful for people like me who write something promptly and get fresh ideas later 😊 – then it is hard to fit them in if there is no space. Remember, you cannot erase (you should write with a pen and not a pencil).
- The assessment model (Beoordelingsmodel) for speaking is also in the above-mentioned duo website. Again, Adequacy is the most important thing they evaluate in the exam:
- Keep it precise (not more/not less) but answer accurately; make sure it is an answer to the question and not something random
- Speak about everything that is asked; don’t miss any point from the question
- Try and keep the Dutch pronunciation of words which are common in English as well (Ex: goed vs good; water vs water etc)
- Avoid repetition/stammering/re-forming the sentences; re-record if time permits
- Try and avoid long pauses between words; re-record if time permits
- Do not worry about an accent – it is acceptable to have a foreign accent
- Other tips (related to grammar) mentioned for Writing are also applicable for Speaking.
Here are some common topics to prepare:
During your preparation, think of the below topics and come up with example (simple) answers. If you get a similar question in the exam, you shouldn’t be searching for ideas at that time. This will help you for both Writing and Speaking exams:
- About your favorite restaurant
- About your favorite dish/fruit/vegetable
- What did you do in the weekend?
- About your favorite city
- About your last vacation
- About the weather
- About your favorite activity to stay healthy
- About your house/job/family/city/country
- About your hobby
- Introduce yourself
- Describe your problem to the doctor
- Describe the route to your house
Good luck with your exams!
I learnt most of these tips during my preparation and some of them from my experience of the exams. Hope you find them useful!
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