Last Thursday, August 7, I took my Civic Integration exam in the Netherlands Embassy, Makati City. This is an exam that most non-EU citizen must take and pass in order to get that “residence permit” so they could live and stay in The Netherlands with their Dutch partner. I had my appointment set up at 1PM, but I was at the embassy 30minutes earlier.
For KNS: Kennis van de Nederlandse Samenleving (Knowledge of Dutch Society)
Score: 30/30 (100%)
Estimated Time: 10-15mins
Before the exam. I studied this part on the last 4 days of my review. I’ve already watched the movie that was included on the package Dennis bought me so I already have an idea about the culture.
During the exam. You will be given a photobook that has 30 pictures which were randomly selected out of the 100 pictures from the book Naar Nederland. If you know the pictures and questions by heart, you can easily pull this exam off. There will be no visible text, only pictures and sound. There’s no beep after each question so make sure to listen carefully. The connection/audio as well as the instruction is clear.
For TGN: Toets Gesproken Nederlands (Oral Dutch Language Test)
Score: 56/80 (70%)
Passing: 26/80 (32.5%)
Estimated time: 12-15mins
It is divided into 5 parts:
– Zinnen Herhalen / Nazeggen (Repeating Sentences): you will hear 12 dutch sentences with 5-12 words in each and repeat it precisely ALOUD.
* If the speaker said ” Dat is een mooi verhaal“, just repeat ” Dat is een mooi verhaal”.
During the exam. Don’t get intimidated! And don’t panic! The speaker is talking in a native dutch speed on this part of the exam. Try your best to imitate atleast the first 5 words in each sentences. Otherwise, just mimic the intonation and sound, regardless if you understand the sentences or not.
– Korte Vragen (Short Question and Answer): answer the basic dutch questions and answer ALOUD.
* If the speaker asked “Is januari een dag of een maand?” just answer “maand” or “een maand”
Before the exam. I studied the Naar Nederland online to enhance my vocabulary, which will be tested in this part of TGN. After going through lesson 60, I stopped and focus on the Oefentoetsen that I got from a great pinay friend.
I’ve stopped practicing the Nazeggen part coz I know that there will always be long sentences and words that I’m not familiar with. Therefore, I switch my attention to make better preparation for Korte Vragen, just to backup my overall score in case I failed terribly in the Repeating sentences.
During the exam. Stay calm. Most questions have choices just like the sample above. But that was just based on my experience, it may be different for everyone. In case the questions have choices, focus on the last part and repeat any that you hear. Atleast you have 50% chance of getting the correct answer 🙂
– Zinnen Herhalen / Nazeggen (Repeating Sentences) PART 2 : you will hear 12 dutch sentences with 5-12 words in each and repeat it precisely ALOUD.
– Tegenstellingen (Antonyms) tell the opposite of the 10 dutch word ALOUD.
During the exam. I think I answered more than half of the opposites. I think I’ve done better on this part, overall.
– Verhalen Navertellen (Short Stories) which you will listen and just repeat the story on you own words ALOUD in dutch. *You will not gonna get any point on this.
**With your TGN test, there will be no visible text and no visuals, only sound. You will pass this part if you satisfied the following components:
(1) Accuracy. All air-flow consonants S, F, CH, and air-stop consonants T (ending -d included), K, P (ending -b included), the R (usually difficult for Chinese), the starting ‘L’ (usually difficult for Thais) and combinations like -PT, -ST, -TS, -KT, -PS, SP, -CHT, SCH-, SCHR-, should all sound crisp and decisive),
(2) Intonation (like singing the Dutch text line).
(3) Proper pronunciation of long & short vowels, combined vowels / diphthongs (‘ui’ is the most difficult one, ‘ei’ is also not that easy to learn, and can easily be confused with ‘ie’. Plus, ‘ie’ can easily be confused with ‘ee’ and ‘oe’ can easily be confused with ‘oo’.
(4) Reading speed.
For GBL: Geletterheid en Begrijpend Lezen (Literacy and Understanding Written texts)
Score: 31/35 (89%)
Passing: 26/35 (70%)
Estimated time: 12-15mins
– Reading aloud 4 columns of 8 Dutch words (total of 32 words).
– Reading aloud 8 Dutch sentences between 6 to 11 words.
– Reading aloud 3 shorts texts in Dutch (word count between 40 and 50 words)
– Completing 28 incomplete Dutch sentences: you are required to read aloud these items (length: between 7 and 23 words) and you will need to choose the correct last word out of 3 possible answers, as presented in your exam booklet.
– You will need to read 3 short stories (this is silent reading, length: between 52 and 84 words). For every story, you will see 4 questions in the booklet, which you need to answer after the beep.
Before the exam. The first thing I studied are the Dutch alphabets. The basic lessons from the Naar nederland book is very important because it will teach us how to pronounce Dutch alphabets. All letters in Dutch words need to be pronounced, specifically the double vowels “UU”, “AA” “EE”, “UI” and the difficult ones “G” and “SCH”. If you’re unsure that you’re pronouncing everything right, you can seek assistance from your partner or anyone who can speak dutch.
Other than that, the tips I saw somewhere on the internet is that the most important part in GBL is the “woordrijen” (word sets).
During the exam. There will be beeps after the announcement of which sentences or word sets you need to read. Remember to only start reading AFTER the beep! The audio quality is good, the speed is moderately fast. On the “reading aloud 3 short texts”, it is possible that you won’t be able to finish the entire texts (that happens to me!). That’s fine. As long as you read everything clearly, all is good.
So after an hour of waiting, I finally got my result. I can’t help but cry out of happiness after seeing the fruit of my hard work. Months of self-study, agonizing reviews, sleepless nights and tons of patience, I can finally close the book (for now!) and prepare for the life that awaits me in The Netherlands. Ofcourse, this wouldn’t be possible without the help of my parents (wag na daw ako maghugas ng pinggan, magreview na lang daw ako. LOL!), my friends (who never fail to make everything light every time I whine about my Dutch study), my one and only love, my beloved husband Dennis (for believing in me, for all the patience, accompanying me in this difficult times and considering no time to help me with everything) and ofcourse, our Almighty God for showering me strength and wisdom to make this happen.
Be on time. It’s good to make a good impression, ofcourse. In the exam result, they will put if you arrived early, on time or late. Not sure if it has a bearing, though. But one thing is for sure: if you’re late you could no longer rescheduled your exam and no refund will be made.
Bring your passport. The embassy will photocopy the first page and put that on their file. They will use that for validation.
Bring a jacket. The examination room is kinda cold, so if you’re not used to that it will definitely brain freeze you.
Follow the instructions. The embassy officer will explain how the exam will go. Ask questions before the start of each exam, otherwise she will not entertained you once it has already started. During the exam, speak clearly but not too low, nor too loud. They will test that in beginning of each parts of exam. There will be a question about your city and country and just answer MANILLA, FILIPIJNEN.
Say “Ik weet het niet” (I don’t know) if you really have no idea what to answer. There’s no shame on that, I did that 3 times 🙂
Be calm. And stay focus! Being nervous will affect your performance.
Pray. The most powerful weapon of all. I prayed and surrendered everything to Him. Whatever the result would be, I will accept it wholeheartedly.
Best of luck to everyone who will be taking the exam soon! Just comment below for any questions regarding the exam.
NEXT STEP: TEV Process!