Dutch B1- The Main Points
In 2024, language level B1 will be required for Dutch Civic Integration. Read here the main points of Dutch at language level B1. The B1 exam requires studying twice as long as the A2 exam. Continue reading for more information.
Estimated reading time 8 minutes
Author: Margreet Kwakernaak, director of Suitcase talen. The Third Edition of Dutch for Dummies was released in June 2023.
Dutch at language level B1 – 4400 words
Level A2 is not enough for work or social life in the Netherlands. Though living in English may be an option in towns with 200.000+ inhabitants, Dutch integration requires level B1 – from 2024 on. Language Levels CEFR
First of all: for level B1 you must know 4400 words, the double of 2200 required for level A2. Consequently, reaching level B1 takes twice as much time as level A2. Fortunately, you are not expected to know 4400 words actively. You should understand those 4400 when you read or hear them. Luckily, the other words in the text will help you to understand. Moreover, the more languages you know already – the easier you will guess the meaning of words. Read more about word acquisition in Word learning: make it part of your daily life
The e-learning of the Delft method offers you those 4400 words. However, doing the e-learning by yourself is tough – what you learn with it is meant to be practiced in a group! In Delft method conversation classes only Dutch is spoken. You will answer the questions of the teacher and you will speak Dutch with the other students. As the e-learning of the Delft method is based on texts, your reading skills improve as fast as your speaking and listening skills.
What comes first: reading. Dutch B1 – The Main Points
To master a level means that you have all four skills: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Consequently, to pass the Civic Integration Exam B1 means that every single skill has to be at that level B1.
Provided that you grab every opportunity to understand parts of texts that pass your eyes in your Dutch life, the reading skill is the first that you’ll master. Keep your eyes open and check your phone for the meaning of the new words!
When your child is at a Dutch school, at level A2 you understand most notifications of that school. However, level B1 is needed in case there are complications around your child or in your own life. You will understand written texts at an intermediate level. Unfortunately, Dutch level B1 is not enough to understand texts aimed at highly educated people. For that, you need level Dutch at level B2. Read more Dutch B1 Reading Skill, 5 Tips
Dutch B1 – The Main Points. Listening skills or ‘luistervaardigheid’
As to listening at level B1- you will only reach that level if you expose yourself to it every day. For many reasons, listening comprehension is such a complicated skill, that class only is not enough. You must exercise much more! Factors like speaking speed, regional accents, bad articulation, ambient noise and not knowing the subject that the person is speaking about, play a big role. Start with watching Dutch tv for 15 minutes every day: all the above-mentioned factors are in it.
But, how to remember the new words? Read How to remember words, the seven steps
Hearing Dutch should become normal first, and then, as your vocabulary grows, you’ll understand more. When you finally dare to talk with a Dutchman who is speaking fast, ask him: ‘Kunt u wat langzamer spreken alstublieft? – Can you speak a bit slower, please? At level B1, a speaker should take you into account.
Look for help in Dutch B1 Listening Skills – Five tips
Speaking at B1 is using sentences connected by ‘dat’, ‘omdat’, or ‘als’.
In the act of speaking, all your skills come together. Do the words that you need come up in time, do you understand the person who is speaking to you, and does the other person understand you? If yes, you probably are at level A2. For level B1 more is needed: you should speak in compound sentences, using the correct word order after words like ‘dat’, ‘omdat’, or ‘als’.
Either way, speaking in a new language takes courage. Courage helps you to overcome your shame. For sure, you are not the only language learner who is fighting shame and fear! However, once you accept that making mistakes is a normal part of any learning process, you’ll start speaking. By trial and error, you’ll find your way. It is easier to remember words that someone spoke to you than from books.
Finally, B1 will make an end to the frustration that all A2- speakers feel. At level A2 you can never tell what you mean. On the other hand, at level B1 you’re almost there – very complex situations excepted.
Writing Dutch at level B1: the last hurdle
If you want to pass the Dutch integration exam B1, you’ll have to pass the last hurdle: writing at level B1. Which are the requirements? They are the same as for speaking at B1. Most importantly: at level A2 short sentences will do.
For example, when telling about yourself:’ Ik woon in Almere. Wonen in Amsterdam is erg duur. Ik rijd nu elke dag naar Amsterdam. Ik werk in Amsterdam’.
However, level B1 requires more complex sentences: ‘Ik woon in Almere, omdat wonen in Amsterdam erg duur is. Maar, omdat mijn werk in Amsterdam is, rijd ik elke dag naar Amsterdam’.
Though you may not write a lot in your Dutch life, once you can make sentences when speaking, writing will follow. Moreover, when writing you have more time to think. As a consequence, some students prefer writing to speaking!
Passing the Dutch integration exam B1. Do language programs help?
We cannot finish our Dutch B1 – The Main Points without mentioning the help of language tools and apps. Even professionals need them, as the examples below do show.
Even though more and more language programs offer great help, you will not master the last writing steps without a teacher. For this blog in English, I use three language programs. The first one is to look up some words, Google translate
The second language program I use checks the readability: the length of the words and the sentences. Moreover, each text needs transition words. These words, like ‘however’ and ‘moreover’ introduce what comes next. The Flesch Reading Ease Score that checks my transition words is a feature for Yoast SEO- WordPress users.
The third program checks my spelling and grammar. Besides, it suggests more appropriate words. By using Grammarly, I slowly expand my vocabulary and grammar knowledge.
These programs do great work. They give insight into repeated mistakes and teach you small parts of grammar and vocabulary.
Though for Dutch less help programs are available, Chat GPT may become a good study aid. The program knows Dutch and it can correct your sentences. It answers questions also. But, beware: when Chat GPT does not know the answer, it invents a nonsense answer. It may take some time before this companion becomes a reliable companion.
A good teacher and the Delft method lead you to B1
However, up to now, no program replaces a good teacher who leads you up to level B1. Do you want to pass the Dutch Integration Exam B1? A good teacher not only corrects you but, more important, gives you tips on how to improve! Your teacher shows you the shortest way to B1. The Delft method and a good teacher save you a lot of time when you are preparing for the Dutch Integration Exam B1.
Currently, up to 2024, language level A2 is enough for civic integration, and self-study with the help of language apps and lots of free materials on Youtube is popular. However, B1 requires twice as much studying and more grammatical correctness. At level B1 a teacher prevents frustration and failing exams.
Conclusion of Dutch B1 – The Main Points
- For Dutch B1 you need to know 4400 words
- You learn to read at level B1 by looking up new words every day
- 15 minutes of news every day, helps to achieve B1 listening skills
- Speaking at B1 means you can make sentences connected by ‘that’, ‘because’, and ‘if’
- Once you can speak at level B1, you can also write at level B1
- Tools like Google Translate and Chat GPT help to reach B1
- A good teacher will lead you to Dutch B1 by the shortest possible route
Studying with Suitcase talen and the Delft method
The author of this blog is such a teacher. After preparing your class with e-learning, you meet Margreet Kwakernaak online, in a small group.
Every week have two 40 minutes evening classes. To offer maximum flexibility, modules are for 5 weeks only.
Are you highly educated and willing to invest 4-6 hours per week?
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