Can I use my real name in the YKI test?
A reader asks:
i heard that you shouldn't use you correct name, email or address when you are writing the yki test kirjoittaminen. for example if you are ending a letter and you write:
you should not use your real name after it... is that correct?
The YKI test is really good about protecting their test takers' personal info, so if that's the part you're worried about I'd say not to worry, your personal info is safe. The people who see your writing and your name are teachers specifically trained for YKI assessment, and they've all signed an agreement not to share any of the info they come across, including your name if you've chose to share it. Your writing and speaking may also be used for training and research purposes.
However, the thing to take into account with sharing your real name in the YKI test is that names always contain information about where you're from. We live in a racist world, and sharing your real name might affect the way your test is evaluated. I really wish this wasn't true, but I can't pretend that this never happens. I know many of the YKI test assessors personally, and I know that they are anti-racist people who work very hard to be as fair as possible, but unconscious bias and internalised racism are unfortunately very real even in people who make a conscious and constant effort to do better. The YKI criteria are quite good (though far from perfect) and the test has been studied extensively to make sure that it's as fair and objective as possible. I'd say that even in the worst case, racisim can only play a very small part in how your test is assessed. Still, any time people are involved there's all kinds of things that affect the process, including any predjudice that the assessor may have, so I can't honestly say that there's no risk of disadvantage here.
If you decide to go the route of not using your real name, I'd suggest you think of the name you'll use well in advance, so you don't have to spend any of the precious time in the test on picking out a pseudonym. As it's a Finnish language test we're talking about, maybe something like Matti Meikäläinen or Maija Meikäläinen (the Finnish equivalents of John and Jane Doe), or a super common first and last name like Juha Virtanen or Laura Jokinen. This has the added benefit of showing off your knowledge about Finnish names, and can be fun, even if the reason for doing it is pretty bleak.
TL, DR: It's small risk, but it's still real risk that's very easily avoided in a way that allows you to show off your knowledge of Finnish language and culture at the same time.
Edited 6.10.2021 to remove some typos and to add:
It should never be on you to change yourself or your identity for the comfort of others, so please don't feel like using a pseudonym is something you have to do if you don't want to. Names are important, and changing your name can feel like erasing your identity, and that's just not worth it for a language test.
Edited 9.10.2021 to add:
After reading this post, my YKI assessor friend pointed out that the test taker's real name is displayed on test more prominently than I had previously realised (as I don't assess YKI tests myself, I of course don't quite know the details are like). So it's probably not at all worth spending energy making up a pseudonym after all!
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Ask a Finnish Teacher / Toiminimi Mari Nikonen
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