The A1 Danish Exam
Oh, Family Reunification, you make my life so easy....not!
You get the papers that say, "Hey, you can stay in Denmark, just make sure you pass a test that proves you can have a basic conversation in Danish in 6 months 'kay?" That test is called the A1 exam!
*NOTE: I AM SPEAKING AS A NON-EU CITIZEN ON A FAMILY REUNIFICATION VISA*
The way I looked at my future in Denmark was priority was taking this test. There is no point in getting a job if I did not pass A1. I started Module 1 (basic Danish class) weeks after I received my visa for an intensive 4 day a week, 4 hours a day, 6-week class. I LOVED everything about Module 1. It gave me a routine since it was during the day I made friends who were in similar situations & learned how to speak basic Danish phrases. I was 2 weeks into class & booked my testing appointment for A1 to be 2 days after I finished Module 1 & the day before I left for the States.
Other than trolling the internet for support, all I did Danish wise was take Module 1 in preparation for the exam. In my search for A1 aids, all I could find was a post by Bilingual Backpack Baby, who also took the exam, & the government suggested video. This is when I realized, us foreigners need to help each other a bit more in regards to this mandatory exam, so I am also adding myself to the list of A1 aid's now :)
As of 2017/2018, the A1 exam must be passed within 6 months of family reunification approval in order to keep your visa. Not only can you stay in the country, you get some of your collateral money back. We submitted a little over 56,000 DKK in 2017 to the Kommune for my collateral and I believe the A1 pass would return a little over 22,000 of it. There is also the A2 exam but that does not need to be taken in order to keep your visa however if you pass it within 15 months of approval you will receive an additional 11,000 back from your collateral.
Now that you know all the fun logistics of the exam, let's talk about what you can expect!
The A1 exam is not apart of your Danish school
You have an exam at the end of each Danish Module but that IS NOT a part of the A1 system of even the government language approval. DO NOT get that mixed up or you could end up facing deportation. There are only two places you can take the A1 or A2 exam: Vestegnens Sprog- og Kompetencecenter in Glostrup or at Sprogcenter Vejle. You have to sign up before you go & pay the 2500 DKK fee to take it. You can sign up here for both locations.
USE THE VIDEO EXAMPLE!
I will give you the resource again for A1 & for A2 so you know how serious I am about this.
The test is THE EXACT SAME format as the examples the government gives you. The test is broken down into 4 sections & they are in the same order on the video as they will be when you sit down in that testing booth.
Listen & Answer - they will ask you basic questions that you have learned 1000 times in Module 1 to say & answer. One thing that caught me off guard with this was there are multiple questions they can ask you, not just the ones in the example. My test was going EXACTLY the same for the first 4 questions and number 5 was one that was "off script" which threw me a bit & I stumbled over my words. It wasn't a question I have never answered before, it was just something that threw me off so don't expect to receive the same questions as the example.
A, B og C - You will now listen to a story while looking at three images. They will then ask you a question about the story & they answer will be one of the images marked "A","B", or "C". All you have to answer is the letter. You do not need to worry about how to say the answer, just listen carefully & respond with the correct corresponding letter.
Ja og Nej - This was a section I had a hard time understanding the directions in when doing my practice sessions. I played it for my Dansk underviser, Danish teacher, who explained it to me. You will see a picture while you listen to a story. It will then ask you if the picture matches the story. You the only have to respond with "Ja" or "Nej" it really is that easy! Do not over think the image, they are blatant yes or no to the story.
A, B, og C...en gang mere - You had so much fun in part two right?! Well, we do it again! Another set of 3 images and stories come along where you just answer "A", "B" or "C" and then you hear the magic words...Sprog prøven er slut!
Do some research in the Expat groups on Facebook
By doing this I actually found all the examples that could be given to you in part 1 & between mine and my friend who took it on the same day, we were each asked all the ones that were on that list. It is also a great resource to see how other people feel about the test & any tips they may have.
Take a deep breath before answering
There is a "ding" you will here before each time you need to answer, use that to take a breath before you respond. This is important especially in part 1 of the exam. It helps you focus and pronounce your words correctly.
What you need to pass
You only need to get a 21/30 to pass the exam. That is 9 questions you can possibly mess up on & if memory serves me right, the question and answer section is 7 questions. I do not know what my results are as of yet because immigration has not provided me with my actual test score, I took the exam in mid-February FYI... but I have been given oral confirmation 4 times that I have passed. I feel like I maybe missed 3 maximum, the one in the oral section that I tripped up on & two that I had a hard time distinguishing what word matched my A, B or C answer. I went with a friend that day and he got a 30/30 so a perfect score is more than possible.!
Take your scores to your Kommune
If you are looking to get the collateral back, you have to take the scores to the Kommune. Immigration will send you the results & from there you go to the Kommune. You need the letter to have your collateral released.
I saw in the Facebook groups that a lot of people decided up to days before whether they were taking A1 or A2 in order to avoid paying the test fee twice. I think that is personal preference. Listen to both examples & decide what you feel more comfortable with. I stuck with A1 because it is what I felt I knew I would pass instead of hoping I could pass A2. I plan on taking A2 this summer once I complete Module 2.
*UPDATE JUNE 25, 2018* I have FINALLY recieved my test scores and I got a 29/30
Hope this helped & if you are planning on heading in to the A1 exam...
Held og lykke!
Have you taken the A1 exam or planning on it? How do you feel about the test? Let me know in the comments below!
& read it later