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NCLP (National Certificates of Language Proficiency)

A language proficiency certificate is required in order to gain admittance to an institution in Finland. The language skills can be proved through the National Certificate of Language Proficiency. National Certificates of Language Proficiency evaluates the general language competency. 

The National Certificate of Language Proficiency (NCLP) was introduced by the Finnish National Board of Education and the University of Jyvaskyla jointly. It is a test for adults to assess their language skills in personal, work or study-related settings and the assessments are done using a 6-point proficiency level scale. The 6-point scale is in accordance with the 6-step scale used in the Common European Framework of Reference for language learning, teaching and assessment developed by the Council of Europe.

The NCLP consist three levels of testing for different purposes:
  • Basic Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Advanced Level
The test can be taken in English, Swedish, Finnish, Italian, French, Russian, German, Lappish, and Spanish.
For admittance into educational institutions in Finland, tests must be taken in English, Finnish or Swedish as the programmes are offered in these languages.

NCLP Test levels

Basic Level

The basic level test (perustaso) is apt for beginning learners or for individuals who have finished basic education. This is suitable for people who just need to know the language for daily purposes, or who occasionally come into contact with individuals who speak the language.
  • Skill levels: 1-2

Skill level 1

This level indicates that the candidate understands simple texts and can extract information from it. Also, possess the ability to write short texts that have several linguistic flaws and know the basic lexicon and grammatical structures.  

Skill level 2

This level indicates that the candidate understands basic speech dealing with day to day matters and can comprehend simple texts and extract the essence of it.  It also shows that the candidate can deal everyday language conditions; write short, simple texts about daily events and has a good knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar.  

Intermediate Level

The Intermediate level test (keskitaso) is apt for individuals who have finished the upper secondary school language course of study or who knows to use language of their choice quite well. This is suitable for individuals who use the language for both daily and work-related purposes. 
  • Skill Levels: 3-4

Skill level 3

This level indicates that Candidates understands long speech and can take out the main point from it.  It also shows that the candidate can deal with speech conditions; write simple, logical texts on daily matters and have a good knowledge of syntax and semantics along with vocabulary. 

Skill level 4

This level indicates that the candidate understands normal basic speech and discussions on general topics, and is capable in writing private as well as semi-official texts and express viewpoints clearly.  It also implies that he/she has a good understanding of fundamental grammar and lexicon. 

Advanced Level

The advanced level test (ylin taso) is for individuals who can easily use the language in various situations.
  • Skill Levels: 5-6 

Skill level 5

This level indicates that the candidate understands long dialogues and speeches, complex texts at a normal pace in everyday circumstances very well. It also shows that he/she can speak, write and talk fluently and with clarity on a range of topics. Also, possess a good knowledge of grammar and vocabulary.

Skill level 6

This level indicates that the candidate understands several spoken and written language without any problem; speak, write and talk fluently and have a good knowledge of grammar structures and vocabulary. 

NCLP Structure

The National Certificate of Language Proficiency test comprises of following subtest:
  • Listening Comprehension
  • Speaking
  • Writing
  • Reading Comprehension
These subtest vary depending upon the test level. 

Basic Level

This level is of 3 hours in duration.

Reading Comprehension: This subtest consists of short extracts of advertisements, letters, news, stories, notes and articles. Candidates are required understand the key point and meanings of selected words though the extract.
  • Duration: 50 minutes, for Finnish and Swedish tests the test lasts for 55 minutes
  • No. of tasks: 3-6 
  • Types of question: Multiple-choice with three choices and Open-ended questions. For open-ended questions, candidates are required to answer a few questions based on the extract.
Writing: In this subtest, candidates are required to produce a coherent and concise text. It consists of brief texts, like letters, notes or postcard writings.
  • Duration: 50 minutes, for Finnish and Swedish tests the test lasts for 55 minutes
  • No.of tasks: 3
Types of questions: 
  • Guided Questions: The guided questions will have some instructions stating to whom the text will be written and in what circumstance, along with some guidelines on the content. 
  • Headlines: The task comprises a few headlines or claims. Candidates must choose one and write about it. 
Listening Comprehension: A CD is played and candidates are required to perform the tasks based on listening to it. It can be a message, news, conversation, advertisements, interviews, or proclamation on different topic. Candidates must understand the central point of the text.
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • No. of tasks: 3-5 
  • Types of questions: Multiple-choice with 3 choices; open-ended questions, and right or wrong questions
Speaking: This subtest is conducted at a language laboratory and is recorded. The Finnish and Swedish test consists of a conversation with an interviewer. This subtest evaluates the candidate’s ability to communicate and talk on familiar topics. 
  • Duration: 15-20 minutes
  • No. of tasks: 3-4 tasks
Type of questions:
  • Conversations: The task requires the candidates to answer to the statements heard from the player with the help of tips provided in the prompts. Each conversation consists of 3-6 statements.
  • Occasions: There are 6-8 occasions with different concepts that have to be answered with the help of tips.
  • Statement: This consists of a preparation of a given topic of 1-2 minutes and a 1-2 minutes long statement.

Intermediate Level

This level is of 3 hours in duration.

Reading Comprehension: In this candidate are required to understand the topic and take out the gist of it. This subtest consists of short extracts of advertisements, letters, news, stories, notes and articles. 
  • Duration: 50 minutes and for Finnish and Swedish- 60 minutes
  • No. of tasks: 3-6 
  • Types of questions: Multiple-choice with 3 choices; open-ended questions, and right or wrong questions
Writing: Candidates are required to write concise, clear and understandable text. 
  • Duration: 50 minutes and for Finnish and Swedish- 55 minutes
  • No. of tasks: 3 
Types of questions: 
  • Guided Questions: The guided questions will have some instructions stating to whom the text will be written and in what circumstance, along with some guidelines on the content. Also a short excerpt is given, which works as a base for the text.
  • Headlines: The task comprises a few headlines or claims. Candidates must choose one and write about it. 
Listening Comprehension: A CD is played and candidates are required to perform the tasks based on listening to it. It can be a message, news, conversation, advertisements, interviews, or proclamation on different topic. Candidates must understand the central point of the text and point of view or intent of the speaker. 
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • No. of tasks: 3-5 
  • Types of questions: Multiple-choice with 3 choices; open-ended questions, and right or wrong questions
Speaking:  This subtest is conducted at a language laboratory and is recorded for assessment. It requires the candidates to express their viewpoint clearly. 
  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • No. of tasks: 4 
Type of questions:
  • Conversations: The task requires the candidates to answer to the statements heard from the player with the help of tips provided in the prompts. Each conversation consists of 3-6 statements.
  • Occasions: There are 6-8 occasions with varying matters that have to be answered with the help of tips.
  • Statement: This consists of a preparation of a given topic of 1-2 minutes and a 1-2 minutes long statement.

Advanced Level

This level is of 5 hours in duration. 

Reading Comprehension: This subtest consists of excerpts, such as articles, notes or news. Candidates are required to read and understand the key information and know about the link between different sections of the excerpts. Candidates are also required to give a concise and clear summary of the excerpt; deduce the hidden meaning , as well as understand the speaker’s perspective. 
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • No. of tasks: 3-6 
  • Types of questions: Multiple-choice with 3 choices; open-ended questions, and right or wrong questions
Writing: Candidates are required to write semi-official or official letter or work application. The writing skills are tested. 
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • No. of tasks: 3 
Types of questions: 
  • Guided Questions: The guided questions will have some instructions stating to whom the text will be written and in what circumstance, along with some guidelines on the content. Also a short excerpt is given, which works as a base for the text.
  • Headlines: The task comprises a few headlines or claims. Candidates must choose one and write about it. 
Listening Comprehension: A CD is played and candidates are required to perform the tasks based on listening to it. It consists of message, news, conversation, advertisements, interviews, or proclamation on different themes and the talk pace varies. Candidates must understand the central point of the text and hidden meaning of the same. 
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • No. of tasks: 3-5 
  • Types of questions: Multiple-choice with 3 choices; open-ended questions, and right or wrong questions
Speaking: This subtest is split into two sections-
  • One section is conducted at a language laboratory
  • Other section is an interview

Language laboratory: It lasts for about 20 minutes and consists of 2-3 tasks. This section requires the candidates to communicate as per the circumstance and express their viewpoints clearly.
Type of questions-
  • Conversations: The task requires the candidates to answer to the statements heard from the player with the help of tips provided in the prompts. Each conversation consists of 3-6 statements.
  • Occasions: There are 6-8 occasions with different themes that have to be answered with the help of tips.
  • Statement: This consists of a preparation of a given topic of 2-3 minutes and a 2-3 minutes lengthy statement.
In the Finnish language test there are only two kinds of questions- occasions and statements.

Interview: It lasts about 15 minutes and consists of 2-3 topics. This section is held face-to-face.  Candidates are required to talk and express their point of views and ideas confidently. 
Types of questions-
  • Conversation: It comprises of a talk or discussion with an interviewer on a topic based on matter given in advance-can be a chart or in tabular format.  
  • Opinion: It consists of a questionnaire that has to be filled out by the candidate before the Interview begins. Candidates must select two topics on which they’ll share their viewpoints. 

NCLP Registration

Select the test level before applying for the test. Once you have selected the test level, contact a test centre of your choice. 
For the list of test centres, click here . After you have selected the test centre of your choice, apply at the centre directly. The contact information is available on the test centre page. There might be a red label “Taynna!” which specifies that the centre is full. After you have contacted the test organiser and confirmed a seat, you’re required to send the registration form  to the test organiser. 
A confirmation will be sent after applying.

NCLP Fees

The test fee must be paid to the test centre directly. The fee varies depending on the test levels.  

Special Arrangements

Candidates having special needs such as a hearing defect, dyslexia, or a visual impairment can request for special arrangements for the test. To get the special accommodation, candidates must fill out a special arrangement application form and submit it along with a medical certificate from a doctor declaring the reason of the need for special arrangements and the type of arrangements needed to the test organiser. In case of dyslexia, a certificate from a psychologist or a special needs education teacher is also considered to be valid.
To get the application form for requesting special arrangements, click here.  
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