I’m still stuck somewhere between excited and overwhelmed with the whole learning Danish thing. Excited because the more I learn the more I get to understand what is happening around me. But also overwhelmed as every week as I’m given a new list of nouns, adjectives and verbs to learn I am quickly reminded just how big the Dansk minefield of past, present and plural tense is.
But…I am making progress.
After 4 months of attending Danish Language School I have now sat my first two language tests.
The first test was to enable me to progress from Module 1 to Module 2 at my Danish language school (IA Sprog). After 4 months of school I finally had to prove my new Danish skills. I'm not entirely sure what happened in the test to be honest (it was all verbal, including the feedback). But at the end I was greeted with ‘Tillykke’, which is congratulations in Danish. So I took that as my cue for celebration. I begin Module 2 in January.
The second Danish language test I did had a bit more pressure attached. It was the compulsory government test known as the A1 Test.
The A1 test is a compulsory condition of my Family Reunification Visa and must be passed within 6 months of arriving in Denmark. By passing this test it ensures I can stay in Denmark as well as enabling a refund in the ‘bond’ that we had to pay to the Danish Government when we arrived in Denmark (approximately 50,000kr or NZD$10,000). Mega moolahs huh? But as I keep telling the Dane, I’m worth it.
Not everyone who moves to Denmark is required to sit the A1 test (EU passport holders are exempt). However the rules are forever changing…since 2002 there have been 68 significant changes to immigration laws in Denmark. To say it is a hot button in Denmark would be an understatement. But then again, it also is in New Zealand. But I do feel the sharp ‘ping’ of the laws a bit more intently here as I jump through the Danish hoops. It’s a complex system and I’m not an immigration expert. I’ve only concentrated on the rules which apply to me, so if you want to know more about the exact rules applicable to your own situation check at www.nyidanmark.dk - and good luck…..both with applying and deciphering that website.
Never the less, here is what you need to know about the A1 test:
- The A1 test is completely separate to any test you may do as part of your day to day Danish language school (ie. Module 1-6). Your language school will do their own tests which enable you to progress from one module to the next however the government approved A1 test is done by Vestegnens Sprog Center. They seem to be the government appointed testing centre for this test.
- Book online at http://www.vestegnenssprogcenter.dk/en/language-exams
You need to book online to take the test. Be aware that it can get busy at the testing centre and there is limited capacity at each session so choose your date and book in plenty of time.
- Have your credit card ready.
While attending Danish language school is free (thanks to the Danish government) you will need to pay to sit the A1 test. It isn't cheap - but as you don’t have much choice I advise you just dust off the credit card. It cost me 2500kr (NZ$500) for the pleasure of sitting it. On the upside it gives you really good motivation to study and pass it first time.
- Practise the online test
On Vestegnens Sprog Center website you will find a link to an example test. This format is EXACTLY the same as you’ll experience when you sit the actual test. There are no surprises. Some questions will also be very very similar. As well as the actual questions being spoken in Danish, the test instructions are also in Danish. You probably won’t have come across some of these instructional words before. At least I hadn't. So don’t freak out with them just ask someone else to explain the instructions to you the first time. You’ll then have a comfortable frame of reference. And while it may sound highly unlikely ‘slut’ is your friend. Refer slut disclaimer at the end of this post.
- Learn the weather.
I’d been told prior that there was likely to be a weather question and I made a point of learning the words for sunny, rain, windy etc. For whatever reason we hadn’t covered the terms for weather in my language classes prior to the test. Danes love talking about the weather so this should be an easy fix for you to also nail.
- A pass is 21/30
There are 30 questions in total and you can get up to nine questions wrong and still pass. So if you forget to breathe and stuff up a few questions the chances are you’ll still pass. But do try and remember to keep breathing. As a general life skill it is quite useful.
Your results are sent electronically to your Danish big brother aka - Eboks. This is the electronic communication system in Denmark which all government correspondence is sent to. You’ll get a text/sms message to tell you there is new mail in your Eboks first and then you can go login with your NemID and have your ‘ta dah’ moment.
After passing the A1 test there is also a 2nd test, called the A2 test. It is not a compulsory test, but if you do choose to take it (and pass) it will allow you a further reduction in the 50,000kr (NZD$10,000) bond you’ve paid to the Danish Government.
Others may have their own top tips for the A1 test....but I hope my tips above are a start for you in your A1 journey and held og lykke (good luck)! If you have any other questions feel free to ask me below, I’ll do my best to answer.
And in case you were wondering – I passed the A1 test. 30/30. Accordingly I have given myself a gold star and begun throwing in a few extra Danish words while talking to little old ladies in the supermarket.
p.s This is why 'slut' is your friend in Denmark: