7 Tips to Pass the Sproochentest
- written by Stephanie Buchler
Anxious about passing the Sproochentest, the oral and listening test for Luxembourgish nationality? Here are some tips from our teachers and students!
Many students enroll in Luxembourgish courses because they want to feel more integrated in Luxembourg’s everyday life. Often, the first motivation is to eventually apply for Luxembourgish citizenship.
While the procedure as such is rather straightforward, many students dread the Luxembourgish language exam required to take in order to qualify for citizenship.
But fear not! With the help of some of our students who have recently passed the Sproochentest, I’ll share some of my top tips to help you ace the Sproochentest.
We’ll review what tools you need to get started, as well as how to improve your listening and speaking skills.
Continue reading to find out more!
1 - Take a Course to Set the Foundations
As a language teacher, I always tell my students that grammar is the skeleton of a language. To reach fluency in a language, you first need to understand what holds it together and gives it its distinct structure.
While there are many resources available online and offline, including the Learn Luxembourgish book, taking a class with an experienced teacher will give you structure, allow you to ask questions, and get immediate feedback on mistakes and pronunciation.
When asked about how our courses helped in passing the Sproochentest, our former student Leopold thought that our course materials were a good reference that helped him revise grammatical structures and targeted vocabulary for specific topics. Elena found that they provided her with a good base, structure and methodology.
2 - Use Flashcards to Build Vocabulary
The more you expose yourself to a new language, the more you continue to encounter new words. As you get a better understanding of the grammar of Luxembourgish, you’ll also expand your vocabulary.
Most of our students prepare for each lesson by revising a specific deck of flashcards. This method is becoming more and more popular among language learners. It allows you to revise new words on the go through mobile apps using audio, which also help you improve your pronunciation and listening skills.
Leopold used flashcards to continue building his vocabulary:
For each identified theme for the speaking test, I built a card with some opening sentences and key vocabulary, which I could repeat and get used to.
Our former student Gheorghe listened to our flashcards on repeat during his commute to work in the weeks leading up to the Sproochentest to prepare for the listening part.
3 - Listen to the Radio
Speaking of listening, the listening part of the Sproochentest is particularly challenging for many learners as it requires B1 level (compared to the lower A2 level for the speaking part). Many well-prepared students have reported struggling much more during this part of the exam than expected, so it’s important not to neglect training your ear when preparing for the exam.
This tip is particularly easy to integrate into your daily life, as you can just do this on your way to work, in the car or while doing the dishes at home.
And don’t despair if you don’t understand a word at the beginning - you’ll get better the more you listen to it!
4 - Speak, Speak and Speak Even More
Even if you don’t have an exam date yet, it’s never too soon to start practicing your speaking. Try to meet locals in your area, at work or at social events. This part is particularly tricky, as Luxembourg has become a multilingual country where French and English are spoken and understood almost everywhere you would get the chance to practice your Luxembourgish.
If you already have a basis, you could search for a language café in your area (some of them listed here), or participate in a language tandem if you speak a language you could teach a Luxembourgish speaker.
You could also sign up for a conversation course, like our ‘Talk With a Luxembourger’ courses. These are tailored to three different language levels and can be taken as a group or 1-1 course. These courses are particularly useful, as you will receive immediate feedback from your teacher, who will detect and correct your mistakes on the spot.
Here’s what Irene, who was taking this course 6 months before her exam, thought about it:
TWAL helped me immensely to get the confidence I needed to speak about subjects of everyday life. It also helped me to put in practice all the knowledge learned in the previous courses.
5 - Consider Taking a 1-1 Course the Weeks Before the Exam
Regardless of whether you’ve been learning the basics of the language with or without a teacher, when it comes to the final weeks leading up to the Sproochentest, every learner should consider getting hold of a native Luxembourgish speaker who will regularly sit down with them and practice their speaking.
If your partner, spouse or colleague happens to be Luxembourgish, this is particularly easy. Have them practice potential exam topics or conduct a short interview with you.
If you don’t have anyone who could practice with you, consider getting a private teacher for a couple of short lessons.
The private lessons offered by Learn Luxembourgish to prepare the Sproochentest are what most of our students felt had the biggest impact on their confidence and performance in the exam.
Our former student Bob thought that short 1-1 speaking sessions helped the most in his preparation for the speaking part:
It was like taking the test every time we met.
Gheorghe found that they helped avoid any (bad) surprises on the day of the exam:
It's topics you would have already discussed a couple of times at that point and at least one picture will be similar to one from the prep course.
6 - Don’t Overcomplicate Things
This tip is particularly relevant for the day of the oral exam. Remember, you just need to show evidence of being able to talk about a simple topic in Luxembourgish. While you may have learned some complex grammar during your Luxembourgish course, like the passive voice or the conditional tense, those are usually not needed to answer the questions during the Sproochentest.
Elena recommends not building long complicated sentences when preparing your topics: ‘you won’t remember them when you are nervous at the exam so it will only bring confusion.’
The examiners will know quickly if you’ve simply learned a paragraph by heart and will ask you questions to try to get you off of your script. Remember, the aim is to see if you can hold a basic natural conversation, not a rehearsed monologue.
7 - Don’t Panic if You Don’t Know Everything
While you want to give your best performance on the exam, it’s important to remember that nobody expects you to speak Luxembourgish fluently just yet. You just need to show evidence of A2 level, which the Council of Europe defines as ‘An ability to deal with simple, straightforward information and begin to express oneself in familiar contexts.’
Hopefully, you’re feeling a bit more reassured after reading our tips. If you recently took the Sproochentest, feel free to leave your tips in the comments and share them with our community!