Passing the Civic Integration Exam B1 requires an understanding of 4400 Dutch words. Besides, you should be able to speak in complex sentences, with correct word order. Focus on vocabulary and word order: the two requirements for success. Learn more about the B1 exam in this blog.
Estimated reading time 8 minutes
Margreet Kwakernaak, author of Dutch for Dummies and 7 other textbooks on Dutch
Passing the Civic Integration Exam B1 needs additional language requirements
Are you an expat and planning Dutch citizenship?
First of all: read Integration Exam 2023 for expats to know which level is required for you.
Secondly: A2 is a lower language level than B1, and in 2024 the Dutch Government requires the higher B1 level for Dutch Citizenship.
Passing the Civic Integration Exam B1 – What is the exam like?
Despite experts’ warnings in integration policy, the Dutch Government decided to increase the language requirements to B1. The exam to be passed is an existing one: Staatsexamen NT2 Programma I.
As an experienced teacher, I could write a novel about this exam, but to be short: it’s 25 years old and it shows its age. One part of the writing exam focuses on word order – which requires more grammatical knowledge than most actual teachers teach.
Though I expect this exam to be updated gradually, now, in 2023, students and teachers have to deal with the actual form. What does this B1 exam require?
Speaking and writing in the Civic Integration Exam B1 must be done in complex sentences in the correct word order
Firstly, Speaking and writing at level A2 is mainly talking and writing about your daily life. Level B1 however, demands much more. Next to subjects related to daily life, the speaking and writing B1 parts include giving your opinion, giving instructions, and reporting work or an event.
Secondly, in Integration Exam A2, you can speak and write in short and simple sentences. Some sporadic conjunctions like en or maar guarantee success. A conjunction is a word that connects either two sentences or two parts of sentences.
On the other hand, at level B1 more complex sentences are required. In the A2 level as described in Language Levels CEFR, en, want, maar of en dus, followed by the correct word order are required. Five frequent conjunctions- that’s all.
However, at level B1, using omdat en dat, followed by the appropriate word order should be mastered first. After that, you should be able to manage some ten other frequently used conjunctions, like als, wanneer, terwijl en toen, including the word order that these conjunctions entail.
What do I need 4400 words for? Passing the Civic Integration Exam B1
To clarify this, a bit of history is needed. The original exam State Exam NT2 Program I was the entrance exam to lower intermediate professional education, mbo. Besides, the State Exam NT2 Program II at level B2 was the entrance exam to higher intermediate professional education, hbo, and University.
Both exams continue to be entrance exams. However, they have a second function nowadays. Both exams are Civic Integration Exams as well. Each of them entitles you to a permanent residence permit or a Dutch passport.
As a consequence of their role as entrance exams, each exam has its characteristic subjects. State Exam Program I has topics related to work at an intermediate level.
Because State exam Program II is an entrance exam to the academic world and higher professional education, it makes sense that the subjects of State Exam Program II relate to different sciences.
Fortunately, in both exams, the subjects can be understood by anybody with a broad range of interests – and command of the required number of words. As mentioned, for the B1 program 4400 words are needed. However, for the B2 program 12.000 are required.
Which are the subjects in the B1 reading exam? Work, education, technology and hobby/social life
Let’s dive deeper into the subjects. The subjects of the reading B1- exams 2020, 2021 and 2023 can be divided into 4 categories:
work, education, technology, and hobby/social life.
All information about this exam is to be found at StaatsexamensNT2 On the page ‘Voorbereiden’ you find proof exams and example exams. As soon as you try your first reading exam, you’ll note that some subjects are pretty specific and use professional language. Fortunately, the more specific the texts are, the more global the questions are! No need to understand every line.
Users of The Delft method have a head start on the B1 exam. This method has been developed by TU Delft, Technical University Delft. It has been written for academic students, focuses on speaking, and the method gives lots of information about the Netherlands. Read more about the Delft method subjects in the Delft method and KNM.
The listening subjects are all about work: jobs at an intermediate level
As the B1 exam is related to a wide scale of intermediate jobs, a broad vocabulary is needed. As far as technical terms are used, the interviewees explain them. The listening exams are videos: pictures are a great help in understanding what they are about.
Speaking and writing subjects are broader: work, education, and daily life
Reaching the B1 level takes twice as much time as reaching level A2. Whilst the Civic Integration A2 speaking exam is about daily life only, in the B1 speaking exam you talk about the world that surrounds you: either your personal surroundings or a wider range.
The B1 exam requires 4400 words- how do I learn them?
When you are studying by yourself, start by reading Word learning: make it part of your daily life. Learning is followed by remembering: the blog How to remember words – the seven steps helps you with memorizing them.
However, learning a language all by yourself up to level B1 may take 3 years or more. Participating in a Delft method course at Technical University Delft reduces three years to three months – of full-time studying.
Is your day taken by other duties? In that case, Suitcase talen online evening courses in small interactive groups may be a good solution.
Suitcase talen courses have been made for full-time working ex-pats and all other highly educated persons who can spend 4-6 hours per week studying – after work or caring for children.
The Suitcase talen modular system covers B1 in a year.
Besides, the modular system offers the utmost flexibility. When work or personal obligations require, you can take a break in between modules.
A module takes 5 weeks and we start new modules 10 times per year: Suitcase talen Delft method courses
The B1 speaking and writing exam requires a correct word order – how do I get it?
Dutch word order is different from English as well as many other languages. Both English speakers and speakers of Roman languages, like Spanish, have to fight for correct Dutch word order. As well, for Turkish, Chinese, and Vietnamese – just to mention a few of the nationalities I have been teaching- word order is a recurring point of attention.
Fortunately, Dutch word order is a piece of cake for Germans, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegians. Dutch belongs to the German language family and that helps.
Proper word order can be required by listening and reading a lot. However, that process may take several years. Moreover, many students never reach the point of speaking correctly without some grammar and the help of a good teacher. Dutch word order 1 gives you some rules and the teacher should provide you with a lot of exercises. Additionally, the teacher should be correcting to the point where the student can self-correct.
Once you know how to build a simple sentence, take the next steps to Dutch word order 2.
Of course, when you join Suitcase talen courses, the teacher helps and corrects. Moreover, 40% of our B1 optional grammar module is about word order.
- Passing the Civic Integration Exam B1 requires two main skills: you must have a vocabulary of 4400 words, using complex sentences with correct word order
- The topics of the B1 exam are work, studies, and daily life
- Though the A2 level of the Civic Integration Exam could be reached by self-study and the help of volunteers, reaching the B1 level requires double effort and professional help, especially in the fields of writing and speaking.
Suitcase talen Delft method modular system
The Delft method focuses on speaking and vocabulary. In each Lesson, you learn 50 new words, in useful and communicative sentences.
You prepare your classes with e-learning and practice in two online group evening conversation classes per week, with a teacher.
To offer flexibility, we divided the B1 level into 4 modules of 5 weeks. In between Modules, you can take a break.
40% of the optional B1 Grammar Module is about word order. The other 60% is about frequently asked B1 grammar questions. You prepare your grammar class with worksheets.
Twice per week, the teacher answers your questions in the online evening class. Most of all, you practice the learned grammar in oral exercises, whilst the teacher corrects.
Students of Suitcase talen are highly educated expats, working full-time or taking care of children. Online classes are in the evening. Read more in Suitcase talen Courses.
Are you interested? Ask for specific information or a free intake by phone, using the Contact form mentioning:
- Your situation
- Whether you are a beginner or know some Dutch
- Your motivation: integration, the Civic Integration Exam, children or work