Your Go-to Guide to the Inburgering Exam
Your Go-to Guide to the Inburgering Exam
Has DUO informed you that you need to integrate? No need to panic. With the right information and preparation the inburgering process need not be as daunting as it seems!
‘Inburgeren’ is the process of integrating into Dutch society. A big part of this is learning the language, but it also involves learning about the Dutch lifestyle and working culture. You may receive a letter from DUO informing you that you are obligated to take the integration exam (inburgeringsexamen). It is also possible to do this on a voluntary basis.
If you want to or are obliged to integrate, you will have to take the following exams: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Knowledge of Dutch Society (Kennis van de Nederlandse Maatschappij or KNM). You may also have to take the Orientation on the Dutch Labour Market (Oriëntatie op de Nederlandse Arbeidsmarkt or ONA) exam, but this will depend on your working situation. The exams are currently set at an A2 language level, although this is likely to change in coming years.
Preparing for the exam – Ask an expert!
Margreet de Beer is a Dutch teacher who has been preparing people for the inburgering exams for around ten years now. She had not intended to become an expert in this field, but she was ‘dropped in it’ years ago and realised she really liked doing it. As a results-oriented person, she is keenly suited to exam preparation and her students tend to agree. Margreet has been teaching the Inburgering exam preparation course at Kickstart School for almost 5 years now and has plenty of advice to share with soon-to-be inburgeraars.
- What are the requirements for joining an inburgering course at a school like Kickstart? What kind of people typically sign up for the course?
Well, the courses here are different to the ones at other schools. We cater to educated people; the course goes so fast so you really have to be able to pick up and process a lot of information in a short time. The requirement is that you have an A2 level of Dutch. You need this level to be able to read the book, Welkom in Nederland and to prepare yourself for the reading, writing, speaking and listening exams.
- Generally speaking, what does a student learn on an Inburgering course?
They are going to learn about the KNM, one of the 5 exams. For that they have to learn how everything is organised here in Holland and how people live - the dos and don’ts, the political system, health care, the way people work and so on. The course mainly focuses on acquiring the knowledge and the vocabulary that are needed to pass the exams, but we don’t spend too much on grammar as that is barely required for the exams – at this moment. The government intends to change the language level from A2 to B1, so in the near future grammar is going to be more important.
- Are there parts that people struggle with more than others? How do you tackle them?
Speaking and also writing… And I tackle that with lots of speaking and writing exercises. Quite a lot of time is spent on speaking and writing during the lessons. For that I use the same format that is being used during the real exams.
- What are people’s reaction to the course?
In the beginning they all say ‘Oh, it’s difficult’ but then after a few lessons they start to notice and understand things that they didn’t before and then it becomes much more interesting and fun. I think it is very important that our exercises are very much like the questions on the exams so people know what to expect before they go in to the exam. That takes a lot of the stress away!
- Can Inburgering lead to life changes?
Well, the IND has lots of rules and regulations for expats, but generally speaking: if you are a non-EU resident and/or you want to stay here on a permanent basis you will have to take the inburgering exam. Without it you cannot settle here in the Netherlands.
- What should people do to prepare themselves for the exam?
Learn the language as soon as they can. And speak Dutch! But that is easier said than done – even if you try to speak Dutch, you’ll get an answer in English!
Don’t wait too long to book your inburgering exams because it can take quite a long time to get your diploma, so don’t leave it to the last minute.
About Kickstart School
Kickstart School offers Dutch and English courses in Den Haag for individuals and companies wanting to improve their language skills. They provide language training at all levels to meet the individual needs of their clients. If you’d like more information about their courses, visit their website: www.kickstartschool.nl.
This article is written by our partner: Kickstart School