Hi, I am planning to seat for YKI test. It's been a year since I am planning this. But I have a small baby and it's really hard to study or prepare for the exam. Can I have any suggestion on how to pass YKI test level 3. I have finished Suomen mestari 1.
Thank you for the great question! Studying with a small baby is definitely a huge challenge. When I think back to the first year of my own child’s life, my first thought is that it was often a huge challenge to just somehow keep everyone fed, warm and relatively clean, and to keep our home from descending into complete chaos. I don’t think it would have been possible for me personally to study for a standardized test at that time. However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t attempt it! Babies, families and experiences are really different, and what would have been an impossible task for me may be a really fun and rewarding journey for you.
Everything I say in this post is comes with a caveat: depending on you situation, this may be really bad advice. But I hope that some of it can be helpful!
1. Is there a Finnish course for parents of small children available near you?
Depending on where you're located, there might be a Finnish course or language café available that is specifically designed for your situation, with child care options and extra support. Your local neuvola (Finnish maternity and child care clinic, literally "the advice place") should be able to point you in the right direction.
2. Think about how you could build some Finnish into your everyday life.
When is the best time of the day for you to learn? Learning doesn't have to mean quiet, uninterrupted time. It can be something connected to your everyday routines: for example, you could talk to your baby in Finnish for 5 minutes every morning or have a podcast for Finnish learners on in the background of other things. Little daily routines like this go a very long way.
3. Connect with others
I know for a fact that you’re not the only one struggling with this, and many struggles become smaller when you have community. So, my advice would be to find others who are in the same situation as you are and to support each other in your efforts. I know it’s easier said than done, especially in the blur that life with a baby tends to be, but it’s well worth the effort if it’s possible for you.
One option is a non-profit organization called Mothers In Business. It’s one great way to connect with others in the same situation for peer support. There are Facebook groups, online and face to face mingles and all kinds of grear events. Here's the international wing.
Mothers in Business International has also organized language cafés and conversation groups for Finnish learners in the past (I’m proud to say that I was part of the very first chapter in 2020), and I think there might be more coming in the future.
There are many other great non-profits and organizations that can help you connect with other parents of small children. One really prominent one that is active all over Finland is Mannerheimin lastensuojeluliitto, MLL for short. Again, your local neuvola is a great place to find out what is available in your area.
4. Give yourself enough time
You still have some way to go before YKI level, and you're in a challenging stage in your life. You're most likely at level A1 now, which means you need to climb two more levels on the CEFR scale until you reach B1 and YKI level. From basic level, you need to get to independent level, which means that you can manage in most everyday situations if Finnish. Your goal is absolutely, 100 % reachable, but be patient with yourself and your process.
4. What textbooks to use
If you're able to keep studying with a text book or even attend a course, it would be good to study at least Suomen mestari 2 in addition to Suomen mestari 1, preferably also Suomen mestari 3.
Or, if Suomen mestari isn’t doing it for you, you might want to opt for another texbook like Sun suomi (from 0 to A2, explanations in English), Oma suomi 1 and 2 or No niin 1 and 2. It might be worth getting these out of the library to try them out and see what resonates.
Here’s some more general YKI preparation advice, including lots of links to materials and so forth.
I hope this helps, good luck! You can do this!
P.S: I’m teaching a self-paced course on the speaking portion of the YKI test. Pre-recorded video lessons and exercises for you to go through at your own pace and lots of teacher support by email and on Facebook.
The current chapter of the course in ongoing right now. It's still possible to join in, but it's still too soon for your current language level. However, there will be further chapters coming up if you're interested. The next one will be in January 2024. Here are all my upcoming Finnish courses.
Ask a Finnish Teacher / Toiminimi Mari Nikonen
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