Thursday, September 25, 2014

A1 Language Exam

July 1st was my five year anniversary in Czechland and as of then I've been eligible to apply for permanent residency.  In order to apply I am required to pass a basic Czech language exam.  Unfortunately, I've been so busy with work, and with my family's visit, that I haven't had the time to take the exam.  On Monday, everyone left for Budapest for five days which gave me the opportunity to catch up with things at work and to take my language exam.

Voucher for free exam
Last week, I had to go to the foreign ministry to pick up a voucher for the exam.  All applicants are entitled to take the exam one time for free.  If you don't pass the exam the first time then you have to pay 1,500 Kč (~$75) for each retry. 

For permanent residency you only have to pass the A1 level.  This means that a person can handle simple conversation about common everyday situations concerning oneself, one's place of residence, property, relatives and acquaintances when:
  • visiting public institutions, post offices, shopping, ordering services or food;
  • dealing with officials, health care providers;
  • handling accommodation and public transportation 
A1 means that you have basic survival Czech.

The first part of the exam covers reading, listening and writing.  The reading portion takes 20 minutes and you have to answer multiple choice questions.  The listening comprehension part last about 35 minutes.  You hear quick conversations and have to answer multiple choice questions.  This was the most difficult part for me.  Then comes the written portion which lasts for 15 minutes.  You are given a theme to write about.

If you successfully pass these three parts then you can take the verbal portion.  I had to sit one-to-one with the examiner for about 5 minutes and hold a conversation about how long I had been in the country, where I was from, what I liked about the Czech Republic, etc. 

My official A1 certificate
I passed!!  My Czech is better than A1 but I was still nervous about the exam because I had to pass it.  If I apply for Czech citizenship in five years then I will have to take the B1 exam which will be much more difficult. 

Now I just need to get notarized copies of my paperwork and submit everything to the foreign ministry.  Hopefully I can find the time and get an appointment in November.

Update:  I applied in December.

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