"Farai e disferai in continuazione il tessuto della tua vita, in attesa di trovare la sola esistenza che ti possa appartenere davvero”.
As I said in my first post from my new city “Vices, Virtues and paranoia in Oslo”, linguistic requirements to work in Norway are getting stricter. Legends say that a few years ago, English was the passepartout language for the cold North. When I first came to this country, in 2012, most of the job offers required a good knowledge either of norwegian or a scandinavian language. So, whether you were swedish or you would work in a office with foreigners like you (I’m talking about you, engineers), a bit of norsk was required.
Today, this is not enough. A barnehage vikar, usually a foreigner subject who helps teachers in kindergarten, must now have the norskprøve certificate.
This exam certifies the language knowledge: A1, A2 or B1. It is possible to repeat it until you reach the desired level.
You can take norskprøve in most of the cities, usually twice a year (May and December). You can find dates and many useful information on this website:
It is not cheap, but it is not the same everywhere and some places offer a free first try.
Norskprøve consists of two test, written and oral, taking place in two different days.
Oral exam is a conversation with another candidate on an assigned topic, followed by two questions you have to answer individually. Written exam is divided into three parts: listening, comprehension and composition. You can’t use dicionary, but you can choose between two level of complexity: A1-A2 is descriptive, A2-B1 is more like a debating text.
In the first case it could be something like: describe an object, write a message or an invitation or describe what subjects in a picture are doing. In the second case, it is more complicated: they show you a problematic situation and you have to tell which is the best solution and why you think so.
The local commission evaluates the oral exam and the central commission reads the written part. You shall receive by mail the two results separately within six weeks from the exam.
What can you do to get ready for norskprøve and reach a good result?
There are dedicated courses, but you can also choose to study alone.
Train your ears by listening to the sweet sound (!) of norwegian language on the radio and tv programmes. Once you get confident with grammar, try to read books: in many libraries there is a shelf called lett å lese (easy to read) with easy and short books, perfect to understand phrase structure and common words.
Oral exam requires you to speak a lot with norwegians. If you are afraid to bore to death the speaker (ask my housemates, they love to talk with me in the morning) you can try språkkafe. Many libraries host these meeting between nice norwegian volunteers offering to chat with foreigners and help them solve grammatical and pronounciation doubts while drinking a warm cup of coffee.
If you decide to study in Norway or work at a higher, academic level, bergentest will be your nightmare.
You can try it on January, April and October. It is an oral and a written part (925 and 1900 Kr at Folkeuniversitetet).
As in norskprøve, you have listening, comprehension, writing and speaking tests.
Everything is more difficult in bergenstest. Topics require a wider knowledge of words, grammar is on a higher level and the oral part is focused on pronunciation: you need to sound almost like a local.
Every part of the exam gets a mark.
Godt bestått means you are officially at level C1: only one step divides you from native norwegian speakers! Bestått means level B2: you made it! If your score is lower, you will have six months to get ready for the next chance.
So, to sum up:
Norskprøve = level A1, A2, B1
Bergenstest = level B2, C1
…Aren’t we missing something?
Oh yes, the step B1-B2!
From December 2015 there will be a new intermediate exam, something like an adding test between norskprøve and bergentest. It seems that teachers from all Europe are working on this exam to make it alike for every language. I will find out more and share information ASAP!