When you read information about Dutch courses or the Dutch Language Exam for Medical Professionals, you’ll often see that the level is appointed with terms such as A1/A2/B1/B2/C1/C2 or, in case of the language exam for foreign dentists, B2+. But, what does this terminology say about your language proficiency?
In this article, we will give you more information about the different language levels and their meaning. We will also take a closer look at the B2+ level, the language level required for foreign dentists who want to work in the Netherlands.
CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)
The CEFR is an international standard for describing language ability. It organizes language proficiency into three levels: level A, B and C. Each of these levels can be further divided in sublevels. Under level A, there is A1 and A2. Under level B there is B1 and B2, and under category C there is C1 and C2.
By dividing these levels, it’s easier to determine a person’s language proficiency and to know what abilities they are referring to. This is useful when you would like to start a language course, when you want to see if you meet the entry requirements for a course or if you want to know if you have the right level to do a language exam.
In Dutch, the CEFR is known as the ERK (Europees Referentie Kader). Since the CEFR is an international standard, the levels apply to any language.
The different levels:
The CEFR divides 6 different levels of language proficiency:
A: A1 + A2 (Basic User)
B: B1 + B2 (Independent User)
C: C1 + C2 (Proficient User)
A is the starting point of language learning. At this level, you are a beginner. Students cannot independently use the language yet, and they’re a Basic User.
At an A1 level, students have basic knowledge of the language and they can produce simple sentences. Besides that, they command a basic vocabulary.
On a A2 level, students have gained more vocabulary, and they can understand and speak more. They can hold conversations about day-to-day topics.
The next level is level B. Someone with a B level is an Independent User of the language.
At a B1 level, students can make themselves understood, and they can give their opinion about a range of different subjects. They can also describe events and expectations.
At a B2 level, students can also understand more complex articles, and they can produce clear text themselves. They can also spontaneously engage in conversations, and express more abstract and technical ideas related to their area of interest or professional background.
Dutch State exam
If you’re a foreign professional who’s interested in working in the Netherlands, you’ll often need proof of language proficiency on a B1 or a B2 level. The Dutch state exam, called Staatsexamen NT2 in Dutch, is an exam that tests language skills at those levels. State exam NT2 – program 1 will examinate whether you have a B1 level. State exam NT2 – program 2 will examinate whether you have a B2 level. The Dutch state exam is not the exam for foreign dentists and a BIG-registration. This is because the level of language proficiency for a registration in the BIG must be B2+.
Level C is the last and highest level of language proficiency. When you reach a C1 level, you speak the language with ease, and you’re a Proficient User.
At a C1 level, students can express themselves with fluency, and they can use the language flexibly and efficiently for social, academic and professionals purposes.
At a C2 level, students can understand everything without effort, and they can fluently express themselves, even in complex situations.
C1 and C2 levels are reserved for (near-)fluent speakers, with C2 indicating the highest level of proficiency in a given language.
The CEFR also distinguishes 5 different language skills: reading, listening, speaking, writing and conversing. It’s common that someone has a B1 level when it comes to reading, but still an A2 level when it comes to conversing. This is normal, it will take time to control all skills at the same level. Besides that, it’s also logical that your language proficiency will differ per skill.
B2+ level for foreign dentists
Now that you have a clear image of the different language levels, let’s take a look at the level of the Dutch exam for foreign dentists. This is the exam that foreign dentists need to pass in order to be registered in the BIG register.
The level of the exam is B2+. The + means that the level is higher than a B2 level, but lower than a C1 level. The level is between B2 and C1.
We’ve just read that students on a B2 level can understand more complex articles, and they can produce clear text. Besides that, someone can also express more abstract and technical ideas related to their area of interest or professional background. In case of a foreign dentist, this professional background is dentistry.
We also know that students with a C1 level can use the language flexibly and efficiently for, among others, academic and professional purposes. In case of a foreign dentist, you will need the language for professional purposes, such as working as a foreign dentist in a Dutch dental clinic.
This means that in order to reach a B2+ level, it’s necessary that you also master Dutch dentistry jargon and terminology.
We hope that this article has given you a clear image of the language level B2+ that is mandatory for the Dutch exam for foreign dentists. You have all the specifics about the different language levels now, but you might wonder: how difficult is it to actually reach those levels? For more information about how difficult it is to learn Dutch, check out this article.
Are you a foreign dentist who would like to start a new career in the Netherlands? Our BGB Academy course will take you from an A0 to a B2+ level, so you can start working in the Netherlands with a registration in the BIG!
Image source: https://evalground.com/blog/cefr-levels-top-language-proficiency-tests/