Waar woont de koningin? Waar ligt de grootste zeehaven? These were some of the questions asked during the inburgeringsexamen. And this is my story.

The inburgeringsexamen or simply, integration examination, is an examination done through the telephone at the Dutch embassy where one comes from. It is a requirement to get the MVV, the visa that allows one to go to The Netherlands and apply for a temporary residence permit.

I came from the Philippines so I had to do my inburgeringsexamen at the Dutch embassy there. It consisted of two parts: knowledge of the Dutch society and knowledge of the Dutch language. If I recall perfectly, the whole examen only lasted 30 minutes, even less.

As soon as I entered the cubicle where the examen is taking part, the Dutch examiner told me what I was supposed to do. I remembered being so overly nervous that I had to get out of the booth because I felt that I had to pee! Luckily, the examiner was very friendly and obviously understood my situation. She just smiled and showed me the bathroom.

As I entered the booth a second time, I was asked to smile for the digital camera situated in front of me. Then I had to mark all my fingers on a digital marker. These were all done for registration purposes.

Then, the test started.

The Dutch society part came first. Then the language exam. I perfected the Dutch society part and got an A2-B1 level for my Dutch. The examiner thought that was high for a beginner. I am not yet very confident about my Dutch but I thought that was a nice comment.

Actually, I did not think it was difficult to pass the society part of the examination. One just has to study/memorize the Naar Nederland handbook that can be ordered through the Naar Nederland website and voila! You can get yourself a perfect score. (Some websites are now also featuring the questions so you may study from it without buying the examen pack. Saves you a lot of money.)

There are one hundred questions in the Naar Nederland booklet. But for the exact exam, the computer (via de telefoon) only asked 30 questions. The Dutch embassy produced seven booklets with 30 questions each. I was made to choose from these books. I remember I chose booklet number three.

As for the Dutch language part, there are also countless materials that can be studied. It all depends on how much you want to learn and how disciplined you are to learn. But since the exam was done over the telephone and I did not have a Dutch language background before, I must admit, I thought the questions were difficult.

I studied so hard for this part. Not in a proper language school but through self-study. Afterwards, the examiner told me that this part of the exam is only made to test the level of one’s knowledge of the language. I wonder though if one is allowed to get an MVV is he or she gets a zero in this part. I hope not because it will defeat the purpose of encouraging immigrants to learn the language.

The examination itself cost a lot of money. Maybe 400 euros for both the examen pack and the actual exam. I did not want to fail so it was a lot of pressure. But looking back, it was not that difficult. So I hope that those who would like to take it will not feel so pressured. Just do your homework and surely, it will pay off. #