So in my aims for this year I included taking the NT2 Dutch exams, and last week I sat the exams for program 2. I’m still waiting for the results – they should be out over the summer. Fingers well and truly crossed here!
The exam was an experience unlike my school language exams. We did it in an exam centre and it was all on computer. Everybody had a desk with privacy boards round three sides, so we couldn’t see the people sitting round us. And each computer had headphones with a microphone attached.
During the exam not only were electronic equipment not allowed, but so were all watches and your own pens and paper (they were provided if you wanted to write anything during the exam). Food and water were allowed though. And for the reading and writing exams you could take up to 3 dictionaries – I had a Dutch-English, an English-Dutch and a Dutch dictionary. I’m not quite sure why Dutch foreign language dictionaries all seem to be one way, rather than having both in one volume.
The reading and listening exams were multiple choice, and both included a number of texts to answer about. For the listening exam we all listened to the text at the same time, and while we could navigate through the questions on the screen we couldn’t pause or repeat any of the audio. So if you missed something you couldn’t go back and hear it again. The writing exam was done in two halves, and in each half we had four sentences to complete, and then two longer pieces to write. The longer pieces all required about 150 words to complete. Two of them required us to make up lots of the information to include, which was quite tricky. The other was re-presenting data from the text and giving our opinion about it.
The speaking exam was pre-recorded and our responses were then also recorded. We had a series of situations to put ourselves in and then respond. The first few questions were shorter, building up to two longer ones at the end. These were all timed and we had between twenty seconds and two minutes in which to say our answer. For the longer responses we also had some thinking time to plan our answer. The tricky thing with this exam was that there wasn’t anyone to interact with. The recording beeped when we needed to start and then beeped when our time was up. Anything that we said after the second beep wasn’t recorded and wouldn’t count towards our answer. If you hadn’t finished you just had to forget about it and go onto the next question. The problem I found with this was that the timer for the exam just counted down to the end; it didn’t give any clue about how much time was left in each bit.
Anyway, it’s done. Now I just need to wait to see how I did…