How do I know that I am ready for the YKI Test?

Answering Mari Nikonen, a Finnish language teacher and author of Ask a Finnish Teacher. To watch the entire interview with Mari, click here. Mari, how do you know that a student is ready for the YKI Test?  As a language teaching and assessment professional, I examine the YKI criteria. There are specific criteria for determining B1 proficiency in writing and speaking, particularly for YKI 3. I assess whether my students meet these. Finnish is a demanding language, but at the YKI 3 level, the main requirement is the ability to independently navigate various everyday situations. It’s not just about performing one task independently; rather, it involves handling several different everyday situations. This includes managing situations in healthcare, purchasing concert tickets, and handling various tasks without relying on a translator, dictionary or a friend.

YKI Test takers must manage everyday life situations like visiting a doctor.

This doesn’t mean perfection is necessary. Students can make grammar mistakes or use the wrong word at times, but they should be able to manage different life situations. For instance, in expressing opinions, they should go beyond simple statements like “I think this because it’s good for me” or “I think this because my family prefers it.” They should be able to elaborate more. This is one indicator that a student is ready, and confidence plays a significant role. While some students may study for a long time and still feel unprepared, as a teacher, I often find it my responsibility to encourage and assure them that they are ready. Perfectionist students might underestimate their readiness, thinking they have a long way to go when, in reality, they’ve been at the YKI level for the past three years. However, the student is the best judge of their experience. If a student knows they tend to panic in exams, the overall level of speaking and writing might need to be a bit higher for them to feel confident. As a teacher, I aim to provide an objective perspective because often students can do more than they believe they can.

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