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  5. What is the Bergenstest?


What is the Bergenstest?

A little over one week ago, I paid a visit to the folkeuniversitet in Trondheim to take the Bergenstest, also known as Test i norsk, høyere nivå (Test in Norwegian, advanced level). The outside of the building looked like this:


For those who are unaware, the Bergenstest is the highest level proficiency exam for non-native speakers of Norwegian. Securing a score of either "bestått / passed" (B2) or "godt bestått / passed with distinction" (C1+) will entitle you to study in Norwegian at Norwegian universities. It also raises your chances of securing a decent job in Norway.

The written test consisted of five sections and took almost six hours in total.


Part A of reading consists of fill-in-the-blank exercises, some of which are purposefully tricky. Part B consists of two medium-length reading passages of 500-600 words. Each passage has a list of short-answer questions related to the corresponding bodies of text.


Possibly the hardest section of the Bergenstest, the listening portion delivers 25 dialogues in a row. Students need to evaluate what is being discussed in each dialogue, and for each of them, mark one of three statements as correct. There's no repetition of the audio, and the speech is very fast and colloquial.


Students listen to a long interview, about two minutes, during which time they take notes. The interview is repeated, and then students write a one-to-two-page summary of what was discussed in the interview.

  • 30-minute break for coffee, lunch, possible crying


Students are presented with a series of sentences and are tasked with rewriting them in a structure provided by the test. The students are tasked with inverting sentences, ensuring correct placement of adjective endings, and/or filling in a missing grammatical phrase.


Students are presented with two essay prompts, out of which they must choose one. The essay needs to be about 350 words and address an issue related to society and personal values. The first third of the essay needs to introduce the theme in an objective tone, and the last two-thirds needs to provide a clear explanation of the student's own opinions on the subject.

Results are delivered eight weeks ( ! ! ! ) after the test date.

I would highly recommend looking into the Bergenstest and other standardized tests for Norwegian, such as Norskprøve. It demands a great deal of preparation and effort, but the sense of accomplishment is worth it.

October 2, 2016



30-minute break for coffee, lunch, possible crying. HAH!


Any tips on getting to a B2-C1 level after completing the Duolingo tree? The tree is A2-B1, right?


That's roughly accurate. My pro-tip: read and listen to authentic Norwegian material, written by Norwegians, for Norwegians, such as Aftenposten and NRK. Klar Tale is made specifically for learners, and it can be helpful at lower levels. Look up words that you don't know that appear often in texts. Listen to NRK podcasts. Watch Norwegian media on Youtube. Don't stop reading and listening. An intense, persistent routine of work will get you from tree completion on Duolingo up to level B2/C1, no problem.


I know this is 1 year od, but just in case: I "listen/watch" Norwegian TV everyday for several hours now. Even if I can understand almost everything in the subtitles, I don't understand much from what they are saying, especially when there are no subtitles. Do you think it still helps? What can I do to make most of my TV watching experience?


it definitely helps. i find there to be several ‘gap’ periods that feel like no progress is made, then suddenly (after continuing with expanding and reviewing vocabulary) finding it all becoming clear. something id recommend along with tv watching in general is picking a movie or series you like a lot. then buy it, and watch it over and over - with subtitles, and then without. you start to pick up subtleties and expressions that will start showing up elsewhere that you wouldnt have picked up on otherwise. and i think its good to commit to either watching with subtitles the -whole- time, or without the -whole- time for any particular ‘session’. and, of course, subtitles dont always display the exact wording or subtleties. youll always benefit from going back to a dictionary for the depth of a word’s implications, but the ultimate goal is to learn more norwegian, with the norwegian you know.

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Thanks Luke! very interesting read.


You're welcome! :]


Really interesting! Can you share your results when you get them? :)


Congrats! Hope it went well :)


What were your results?


hi there Luke, all the best for your results, I am planning to take the test next year, I have few questions, hope you do not mind answering. 1- during the listening exercises, do they use different dialects or it depends upon the place you take the exam. 2- how long did it take to prepare yourself for the exam, i mean, the moment you started with the alphabets, i know there may be breaks, but still. 3- do you live in norway or outside norway for a big period of time, i know you should have visited from time to time but in general .

thanks mate. cheers, Maddy

  • The dialect for all the listening exercises is a standard, eastern Norwegian variety familiar to users of Duolingo.
  • I've been learning Norwegian for almost ten years, but I know some people about my level who started much later than that.
  • I've been living in Norway for about two months, but I had never lived in Norway before.


How long would you say that it took for you to get to B2 ish?


Wow thank you Luke_5.1991 ! I am planning on taking the Bergenstest next year in Trondheim!! I wish there was more practice exercises online - I find the listening parts (Lytteforståelse and Referat) the hardest. How do you guys prepare for these parts? I just found this page www.bergenstest.no - they have a free mock exam, I thought it was really useful, what do you guys think?

I will be really grateful if you have any tips and advice regarding Delprøve 2 and 3!

Thank you, Gergana


I can tell you that the referat is way easier than the lytteforståelse, since you have time to write notes on a cohesive dialogue. The lytteforståelse is by far the hardest section on the test. Try listening to NRK podcasts (I love their podcast on US politics) in order to practice. Good luck!


Do you have a link to share for that podcast? :O


So speech is covered in a completely other exam, right? Are you planning to take that one too? Thanks for writing this!


Thank you, Andrew, for this very useful information! Did you manage to get a C1 at the Bergen Test? :)


My university Norsk course taught me Bokmål. I did it to prepare for my visit in Norway. My norwegian boyfriend and his family on the other hand.. they use Nynorsk written and speak a dialect which is "leaning towards" Nynorsk. I am not so sure anymore if I should take the test in Bokmål or Nynorsk. Thank you for this post, it was really helpful.

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