Table of content
1. Bergenstest – when, where, how? General questions about the exam
1.1 Bergenstesten: one name, two exams
1.2 Bergenstest dates 2022
1.3 How much does it cost?
1.4 Where can I take Bergenstesten?
1.5 Can I take the Bergenstest abroad (outside of Norway)?
1.6 How can I register for Bergenstesten?
1.7 Where (and when) will I get the results?
1.8 Where can I order example tests?
1.9 Do I have to take a course before I can apply for Bergenstesten?
1.10 What are the requirements for passing the Bergenstest?
1.11 What aids are permitted during the exam?
1.12 What if I fail Bergenstesten?
1.13 Norskprøve vs. Bergenstest – which exam should I take?
1.14 Will I need to pass the written Bergenstest, the oral Bergenstest, or both?
1.15 What happens if I’m sick on the exam day?
2. Bergenstesten: what it looks like
2.1 Bergenstest skriftlig (written Bergenstest)
2.2 Bergenstest muntlig (oral Bergenstest)
3. How to prepare for Bergenstesten
3.1 Bergenstest preparation: level A1/A2/B1
3.2 Bergenstest preparation: level B2 and beyond
Bergenstest is the name of one of two officially recognized Norwegian language exams. In other words, it’s the TOEFL or IELTS of the Norwegian language. You can pass the Bergenstest in order to prove that your Norwegian is at a high level – e.g. if you want to study at a Norwegian university. The official name is Test i norsk – høyere nivå, but most people just call it “Bergenstest”. It is carried out by the Norwegian adult education centres (Folkeuniversitetet). Read a few more details here:
Bergenstest – when, where, how? General questions about the exam
Bergenstesten: one name, two exams
The test consists of a written and an oral exam (Bergenstest skriftlig / Bergenstest muntlig). They are completely independent of each other, so make sure to verify whether you will need both parts or only one. Each of the tests, in turn, consists of several tasks (delprøver). You need to pass all of these tasks to pass the exam, however you can, for example, pass the written exam and fail the oral exam, and still get a diploma for the written exam, as the two are independent of each other.
Bergenstest dates 2022
Both parts can be taken three times a year: in January, April, and October. Folkeuniversitetet publishes the dates here. The oral and written exams are held on different days.
How much does it cost?
2500 NOK for the written test and 1150 NOK for the oral test. However, if you take the Bergenstest abroad, it will cost 3500 NOK for the written test and 1500 NOK for the oral test, plus the expenses for the test location.
Where can I take Bergenstesten?
In Arendal*, Asker*, Bergen, Bodø*, Førde*, Oslo, Sandefjord*, Stavanger, Tromsø, Trondheim, and Ålesund.
* In these towns you can only take the written Bergenstest.
You can also take the Bergenstest in other countries (outside of Norway), but that’s a bit complicated:
Can I take the Bergenstest abroad (outside of Norway)?
Yes, you can, but it’s a bit complicated, because you will have to find a test location yourself and negotiate with them whether they are able (and willing) to do the test. The test centre has to be either:
- a Norwegian embassy, Norwegian consulate, or Norwegian Church Abroad (sjømannskirke), or
- BFSU/Beiwai in Beijing, University of Beograd, University of Gdánsk, University of Basel
- for the oral test: all of the above, and in addition any embassy or consulate (not necessarily a Norwegian one) as well as approved British Council test centres
What you have to do: find one of the institutions named above near you and get in touch with them to find out whether they are willing to do the test for you. They should then read through this leaflet. Note that they may charge you for their cost, in addition to the increased test fee (3500 NOK for the written test, 1500 NOK for the oral test).
How can I register for Bergenstesten?
You have to make an online account with Folkeuniversitetet and put in your details. After that, Folkeuniversitetet will inform you about the time and place of the exam as well as the results.
Where (and when) will I get the results?
In your Folkeuniversitetet online account. If you have passed, you will also receive a diploma in the (snail) mail. For the written test it takes about 2 months, and for the oral test it takes about 2 weeks for the results to be registered in your account.
Your diploma will also state the level you have achieved: for the oral part this is the result of a general judgement by your examinator. For the written part, if every part is “passed” (bestått), the diploma will say level B2. But if you passed at least 3 out of 5 delprøver (exam parts) with the better grade “godt bestått“, your diploma will say C1.
Where can I order example tests?
You can order old tests here.
Do I have to take a course before I can apply for Bergenstesten?
No. It’s up to you how you want to prepare for the test. Everybody can take Bergenstesten.
What are the requirements for passing the Bergenstest?
Your current level of Norwegian should correspond to B2 according to the European framework. It means that you have to be fluent in Norwegian and have a conversation, even about a difficult topic, without effort. In the oral test you will be required, among others, to discuss several topics with your examinator and to describe pictures. In the written part, a major component is rewriting given sentences, testing your grammar and vocabulary skills, but also writing an essay.
If you’re not sure whether your Norwegian is good enough for passing Bergenstesten, take our five minute test.
What aids are permitted during the exam?
Nothing! No dictionary, no smartphone, no smartwatch … only food, water, and a pen are allowed at the test centre.
What if I fail Bergenstesten?
Don’t worry, you can take the exam as often as you want, until you pass. The awkward thing though is that you have to retake the whole exam, even if you failed just one part (delprøve) of it. Since 2021 there has been an exception to this though: if you only failed delprøve 5, the so-called skriftlig produksjon (essay) for the written Bergenstest, you can apply to re-take just this delprøve. However this can only be done in Oslo, nowhere else.
Norskprøve vs. Bergenstest – which exam should I take?
Check out my detailed article on this question here.
Will I need to pass the written Bergenstest, the oral Bergenstest, or both?
Depends on what you want to do with the exam! For studying at a Norwegian university, you now need both exams, at least if you apply through Samordna opptak. In all other cases we highly recommend to get in touch with your university/employer/or whoever else you need to “impress” with your Bergenstest diploma before registering for the exam.
What happens if I’m sick on the exam day?
You will get 50% of the fee refunded if you can provide a medical certificate.
More info? Get our free eBooks about the Bergenstest!
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The ebooks explain in detail what the parts of both Bergenstest exams (delprøver) look like.
Really serious about Bergenstesten?
See our exam strategy course
Good knowledge of the Norwegian language is not enough – this video course trains you for passing the Bergenstest with the best possible result.
- Learn how to navigate the pitfalls of the different exam tasks …
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- Explore more examples of what the exam looks like.
Bergenstesten: what it looks like
Bergenstesten is a name for two different exams, which can be taken completely independently of each other:
Bergenstest skriftlig (written Bergenstest)
The written exam takes about six hours (yes, you read that right – don’t make any other plans for the exam day). It consists of 5 different exam parts (delprøver):
- Leseforståelse: reading comprehension. You have to answer questions about texts you have to read or fill in the gap.
- Lytteforståelse: you will hear short audio clips and have to answer multiple choice questions about them.
- Referat: you will hear an interview in Norwegian and have to write a summary about it.
- Grammatik: you have to rewrite sentences in order to show you have a grasp of certain grammar items and vocabulary.
- Skriftlig produksjon: you have to write an essay on a given topic and explain your opinion.
Bergenstest muntlig (oral Bergenstest)
The oral exam is much shorter than the written exam: after 20-30 minutes everything is over. There are just three parts:
- Beskrivelse: you have to describe a number of pictures.
- Påstand: you will talk about your opinion on a given idea.
- Samtale: you will discuss this idea with the examinor.
- Ekstraoppgave: only if the sensor (the person evaluating the exam) is not sure about your level – you will describe a graphic.
How to prepare for the Bergenstest
What you should do in order to pass the Bergenstest depends greatly on what your current level of Norwegian is. If it is below level B2, don’t worry about exam preparation yet. Instead, focus on improving your general Norwegian. However once your Norwegian is sufficient, make sure to also focus on exam strategy: your Bergenstest results depend on your understanding of the exam tasks, not just your mastery of the Norwegian language.
Bergenstest preparation: level A1/A2/B1
Story-based textbook “The Mystery of Nils”
Are you tired of boring textbooks starting with “Hello, what’s your name”?
We are. That’s why we have designed the two volume Norwegian textbook The Mystery of Nils.
Online video Norwegian courses
Your budget language school – but much more fun: based on the Mystery of Nils story (just like our texbooks), yet with full explanations on video, audio exercises for download, and much more.
Live online 1:1 Norwegian courses
Feeling stuck? No (traditional) Norwegian course in your area? Our teachers give individual Norwegian lessons 1:1 through Skype, whenever you have time. All Norwegian courses are tailored to your needs.
Bergenstest preparation: level B2 and beyond
Bergenstest strategy course: “Slik består du Bergenstesten”
This online video course is right for you if you already have sufficient knowledge of Norwegian (roughly level B2), but you’d like to see how to solve exam tasks. The course will you walk through all the parts of the written Bergenstest and provide you with strategies on how to prepare for these parts and how to best approach them at the exam day.
Live online 1:1 Norwegian courses
Our teachers give individual Norwegian lessons 1:1 through Skype, whenever you have time. All Norwegian courses are tailored to your needs, so we will work exactly with whatever you need to improve in order to pass Bergenstesten.
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