Instructions and Exercises for the YKI test

Watch and Listen

A student at the Institute of Adult Education in Helsinki Shadi Hatem asks questions of The Head of the National Certificate of Language Proficiency Committee Mirja Tarnanen posed by the Institute’s students and the listeners of Yle Selkouutiset.

10 Questions about YKI

1. When certificate from YKI test is acceptable as proof of your language skills?

If you wish to apply for Finnish citizenship, you can prove that you have the necessary language skills in Finnish or Swedish by completing the oral and written parts of the National Certificate of Language Proficiency test at skill level three at a minimum.

Please check ahead of time when the language proficiency test is being arranged and remember to register for the test in time. You can find more information about registration and qualification grounds on the website of the Finnish National Board of Education.

Please note that the places at test centres in the Greater Helsinki area fill up fast. You can also register for a test that is arranged outside your place of residence.

Accepted subtest combinations

To obtain citizenship you only need to complete one of the subtest combinations below at skill level three at a minimum.

Only the below listed subtest combinations are accepted. If you have achieved skill level three ( 3 ) in two subtests but they are not included in the above mentioned combinations, your certificate is not acceptable as proof of your language skills.

A) speaking 3 or 4 and writing 3 or 4 or

B) listening comprehension 3 or 4 and writing 3 or 4 or

C) reading comprehension 3 or 4 and speaking 3 or 4

You can also prove that you have the required subtest combinations with more than one certificate if need be. Please note, however, that you must complete the entire examination and take all subtests or you will not receive the certificate. You must complete the entire examination during the same day.

Please note! The structure of the National Certificate of Language Proficiency changed in 2012. If you have completed the certificate between 2002 and 2011, the certificate also indicates what your general level of language proficiency is. To obtain citizenship, this general level of language proficiency has to be at least three ( 3 ). For certificates completed before 2002, the general level of language proficiency has to be at least four ( 4 ).

2. Do you have to know specifics and facts about Finland in the test?

There are no questions on Finnish matters in the test. You don’t have to know facts about Finland, but you must be able to write, speak and understand the Finnish language.

3. How many mistakes are allowed in the YKI test?

The test doesn’t look at mistakes, but language skills. The important thing is what you know. A mistake can be a problem when it hinders understanding.

4. Is grammar a very important thing in the YKI test?

Grammar does help you to communicate and understand more accurately, but it is equally important to know and understand vocabulary and fraseology in different themes. It is more important to be able to speak and write, and understand different themes.

5. What if I don’t understand the question or the task?

Even if you don’t understand the task it is better to try, to answer, write of speak something, because there are no minus points from an incorrect answer.

6. Can one retake the YKI test multiple times?

You can retake the YKI test to improve your grades. It is, however, beneficial to prepare for the test and not just have a crack at it if you already know that you don’t yet know Finnish at all.

7. How many words must there be in an answer?

The YKI test does not focus on words, but ideas and themes. If you understand the task and your answer matches it, that is enough. Sometimes it is better to talk and write too much rather than too little, in for example the narration task and opinion piece. On the other hand it is good to keep track of time, because it is in short supply.

8. What if I think that my opinions and thoughts are stupid?

The YKI test doesn’t evaluate thoughts and opinions, but your language skills. A stupid test is equally good as a clever one, if it is in comprehensible Finnish.

9. What if I don’t have time to answer all the questions?

The YKI test can still be successful, the most important thing is to answer as many questions as possible. In the speaking test, for example the narration test, you don’t even have to answer all the questions. On the other hand in the writing task, for example in the e-mail task, you must answer all the questions.

10. How do I best prepare for the test?

It is beneficial to read magazines, to listen, to talk and to write whenever possible. It is also important to know things, which are not in study books or courses. You will need new vocabulary, and grammar, too. You can also prepare for the YKI test by taking a course. Check the YKI courses here.