Category Archives: puheen ymmärtäminen

YKI testi 11.04.2015 / The YKI Test 11.04.2015

EDIT: looking for a more up to date test day experience? My friend, Alexandra, took the test in 2017. Here is her account: YKI Keskitaso 08.04.2017

Yesterday (11.04.2015), along with around 50 others, I took the YKI testi, keskitaso level, in Joensuu.

We began with the tekstin ymmärtäminen paper which lasted 1 hour. There were 24 questions which were either true/false or A/B/C and 3 texts where you had to write sentences in answer to the questions (about 3 questions/text). All the texts were under 1 page and some were only about 10 lines. We had a small news item about an escaped lisko, an advert from a bike repair shop, a text giving advice about pipes freezing (!) and some others. I think there were 6 texts in all. (Amazing how much I’ve forgotten about the texts since yesterday! Must have been the stress!). I found the time very generous, easily enough time to read all the texts and questions and copy the T/F and A/B/C answers onto the answer sheet.

Next, after a 10 min break, came the kirjoittaminen paper which lasted 55 minutes. The time went fast and I was a little worried that I wouldn’t have enough time but in the end It was ok. The tasks were as follows:

  • 1 letter to an yhdistys (organisation) saying that you’d like to volunteer with them
  • 1 email to your building committee’s puheenjohtaja (chairperson) about an upcoming kokous (meeting)
  • 1 opinion piece for an internet forum, choice of 2 topics: I chose oma asunto vai vuokra-asunto?

Both the first two tasks had very clear instructions and bullets points about what to include so it was easy to structure the letter and email and to employ the ‘trick’ of using the words in the instruction bullet points in my writing. Both had the reminder muista aloitus ja lopetus. The mielipideaihe however did not give detailed instructions what to include ie it did not, as in our practice papers, say how many justifications (perusteita) we had to give for our opinion only that we should perustella sinun mielipideesi hyvin. So, for me, it was hard to structure my answer as I wasn’t sure how much to write!

After an unnecessarily long break of 1/2 hour my group went into the kielistudio to do the puheen ymmärtäminen and puhuminen parts of the test. For me the puheen ymmärtäminen was quite challenging. Unlike the practice exercises I had done in class and online the people I was listening to spoke extremely quickly using slang terms. Also, unlike in practice, there were no adverts or simple announcements (bar one informal announcement given by a coach driver during a coach trip) in the test – we were just listening to people talking! The questions again took the form of true/false, A/B/C (20 questions) and written answers. We often had to write 2 things in answer to one question. The time given for reading the questions and choosing the answers after listening was, for me, sufficient. This part seemed to be over very quickly.

Whenever I have practiced for the puhuminen part of the test (Hanna will attest to this!) I normally have trouble filling the allotted time to speak and trail off into silence. I was dreading having to talk for 2 minutes during the mielipide monologues part of the test but, perhaps it was the stress, the time flew by and I talked non stop, occasionally getting cut off! I hope this is/was a good thing…Although what I was saying might well have been mostly nonsense! The puhuminen test included:

  • A phone call to the police to report your bike stolen
  • a phone call to sort out an unpaid phone bill
  • 4/5 25 second tilanteita including asking your neighbour for help moving some furniture, telling a department store you’d left something behind there (in both cases you had to keksi itse mitä)
  • a monologue about men and women’s work and roles at home (there was a choice of two topics for this part)
  • a monologue about visiting people and people visiting you (who visits? How often? What do you offer them to eat and drink? etc) (no choice you had to speak about this!)

So. it’s over. I feel quite flat and deflated today and it’s weird not to feel compelled to spend every bit of spare time practicing for the test! I should get the results in about 2 months’ time and of course I’ll post about them! But, for now, it’s Näkemiin!” from me.


Viides opitunti ja ajasta / The fifth lesson and about time

As I missed the lesson before the hiihtoloma break I got given 2 tekstin ymmärtäminen papers with answer keys and one fill in the blanks / complete the sentences exercise with answers which the class had had as homework previously. This fill in the blanks asks partitiivi- vai akkusitiiviobjekti? So it is a test of grammar skills (urgh). I will save the pratice papers and the grammar exercises for the time between my lessons ending and the test (2 weeks) wher I’ll be on my own prepping for the test and blogging about it of course!

I also got the answer key for 2 tekstin ymmärtäminen practice papers which we had as homework weeks ago. In these I scored 14/25 or 56% a FAIL and 13.5/20 or 67.5% another FAIL 😦 I do fine on the true/false questions and multiple choice questions – I got 8/8 for one set – but I always fail at the free form answers, usually I just don’t get what they want me to write. This is going to be a hard problem to fix before the test as I think it takes time to improve my reading comprehension, it’s not something, like vocabulary or case endings, which I can memorise or train. I’m open to any advice anyone has how I can try to improve in this area and pass the paper! I’ll be asking the folk at Let’s Learn Finnish Language for their help too.

Right, onto the lesson itself. We started with a pairs exercise, the first time we’ve worked in pairs, which was designed to train us for the ‘2 minute speech’ part of the puhuminen part of the test. We had to tell our pair about the type of house we lived in or the weather and different seasons or rather:

Kerro kodistasi / Kerro mitä ajettelet säästä ja vuodenajoista

We had lots of prompt questions to work through so this was easier than it will be in the test. It also helped to be talking to someone else rather than just onto a tape as we will do in the test. It also helped me that my partner didnät speak English so if either of us needed to explain the meaning of a word to the other we had to do so in Finnish.

After that we did a puheen ymmärtäminen practice paper. I scored 13/16 or 81% on this so this is part of the test I’m more confident about. i liked the listening paper because it was based on everyday announcements for example at a train station, at a shopping centre.

We then did something new looking at a particular set of vocabulary in this case how to arrange to meet and how to talk about time. This should be useful for the puhuminen part of the test. For me talking about time is surprisingly difficult because the numbers need to take different endings. For example you an answer the question

Mihin aikaan sinulle sopii?

in different ways which affect the endings you need for the numbers. For example you could answer:

Minulle sopii…

kahdeksalta / kello kahdeksan (at 8)

kahden jälkeen (after 2,  kaksi -> kahden)

ennen neljää (before 4, neljä -> neljää)

yhdeksään asti (until 9, yhdeksän ->  yhdeksään)

yhden ja kolmen välillä (between 1 and 3, yksi ja kolme -> yhden ja kolmen)

viidelta seitsemään (from 5 until 7, viisi -> viidelta, seitsemän -> seitsemään)

I feel like talking about time is something I should have got down ages ago at beginner level. This is definitely something I need to revise and commit to memory!

We were then given the timetable for a muotimessut and twelve questions which we had to answer using the time expressions above. Two examples:

Mistä mihin messut ovat avoina?

Yhdeksältä kahdeksaan.

Mihin aikaan kilpailun voittaja arvotaan?


For homework I had three formal emails and one opinion piece. I’ll give model answers next time. I also had a reading comprehension paper which I spent 45 of the given 60 minutes on. I’ll let you know my score next week.

Opi suomea Pertti Kurkikan Nimipäivien kanssa! / Learn Finnish with PKN!

Unless you live under a rock you probably know that Finland’s entry for Eurovision 2015 is a punk band, Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (PKN), whose song, Aina mun pitää contains loads of different verbs as well as demonstrating how you use the verb pitää (here meaning ‘to have to’) with another verb. And what could be a more fun way of learning Finnish than singing along with Kari and the boys?!

First a little something about the verb pitää. It can be used to mean lots of different things. Random Finnish Lessons has a good blog post about this so I recommend you read that and I’ll list here, off the top of my head, just a few examples of the versatility of pitää.

EDIT thanks to the good people of Let’s Learn Finnish Language for their corrections. Example updated accordingly:

  • Minä pidän siitä (I like it)
  • Hän pitää Suomesta (She likes Finland)
  • Pitäisi olla… (It should be…)
  • Pitää olla… (It must be)
  • Pidä kiini! (Hold on!)
  • Pidä minusta kii! (Hold on to me!)
  • Pitää huolto! (Take care of it!)
  • Voit pitää sen (You can keep it)
  • Pitää mennä! (Got to go!)

More examples on the Wiktionary page (in Finnish, click here for English version) for pitää.

Our boys from Kallio, PKN, use pitää to mean ‘to have to.’ Here are the lyrics to their song. Notice how the verb following pitää is always in perusmuoto (basic form):

Aina mun pitää siivota!
Aina mun pitää tiskata!
Aina mun pitää käydä töissä!
Aina mun pitää käydä lääkärissä!
Ei saa mennä koneelle!
En katsoa telkkarii!
En saa edes nähdä mun kavereita!
Aina mun pitää olla kotona!
Aina mun pitää hoitaa tehtäviä!
Aina mun pitää syödä kunnolla!
Aina mun pitää juoda kunnolla!
En saa syödä karkkia, juoda limua!
En saa edes juoda alkoholia!
Aina mun pitää levätä!
Aina mun pitää nukkua!
Aina mun pitää herätä!
Aina mun pitää käydä suihkussa!

Sing along with their YouTube video here.

You may have noticed the phrase en saa is also repeated. Saa comes from the verb saada another multi use verb! Here it means ‘allowed to’ so en saa means ‘I’m not allowed to.’ En saa edes juoda alkoholia! = I’m not even allowed to drink alcohol! Again, after saa, as with pitää, the next verb takes the basic form.

More uses of the verb saada here.

All thats left is to wish PKN tsemppiä for the Eurovision semis in Austria…Aina teidän pitää rokkaa!! 😉

Elämänkoulusta oppimisesta / Learning from the School of Life

I missed my Finnish lesson on Friday because M and I went on a weekend away to Kuopio so this week’s blog post will be about learning Finnish informally, that is from everyday life in Finland, the way I have learnt most of what I know! Aside from the UEF Finnish classes and Kansalaisopisto’s Suomi 1.2 course (both part time only 1.5-3 hrs/week) I have not studied Finnish formally and I have never sat down and worked my way through a textbook on my own at home. Perhaps I *should* do that but I don’t think that is how I  learn best. I feel (eli minun mielstäni) I learn best by doing: by trying to speak, write, understand Finnish either in Suggestopidian method lessons or in everyday life.

Here are (some of) my everyday learning situations from this weekend:


Filling out this guest satisfaction form (tekstin ymmärtäminen)

IMG_4771And the other side ( tekstin ymmärtäminen ja kirjoittaminen) I hope you can read my writing! M did contribute / help with this a bit.

I also:

  • asked for tickets at a museum,
  • checked on our table reservation at the hotel reception,
  • got us seated at the restaurant,
  • ordered food and drink.

To be honest these are situations (tilanteita) that I have dealt with in Finnish quite a few times before but it is good to take the chance to practice them as they could easily be the kind of situations we are faced with in the puhuminen part of the test. In the test it will be more difficult as I won’t be face-to-face with the other person, they will just be a recorded voice, so I can’t use gestures or pointing to get what I want!

Over breakfast I also read a newspaper article about the talvisota (Winter War) which I have an interest in. We get the Karjalainen newspaper every day at home and I try to read something in it every day but it helps if the topic is something which interests me! This is another way for me to practice tekstin ymmärtäminen. I also usually browse websites in Finnish (today its and for news headlines in Finnish (that’s often where my word of the day comes from)

On the journey to Kuopio we listened to YLE Puhe radio station which was broadcasting commentary from a ski race. I found this quite hard to follow as the commentator spoke very fast and also my concentration wandered but I got the gist I think. I was joking with M that it would be quite awful if the puheen ymmärtäminen was as fast-paced as that commentary.

I also watch quite a lot of TV in Finnish. Another way , aside from the radio, of passive learning. I’m not sure how effective it is. On Saturday night we watched Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu. I jumped up and down on the bed when PKN won! They rock!

Screen shot 2015-03-01 at 20.44.14

UMK15 // Finaali – Pertti Kurikan NimipäivätKuva: Tiia Santavirta/YLE

Neljas oppitunti / The Fourth Lesson

Sorry that this post is a little late: did a LOT of x-country skiing today! Here’s one of the hills I skied down – it was worse than it looks in the picture but I made it!


So, the fourth lesson. We had a puheen ymmärtäminen (listening comprehension) mock exam in which I did well: 24/31, 77%, a solid pass! There was one part I even enjoyed where we were listening in to patients and medical staff and we had to write where they were  and what was happening to them! I got the results of my tekstin ymmärtäminen (reading comprehension) homework which this time I spent a full hr on: 28/40, 70%, just scraped a pass!

We also corrected a text: an email which was our homework last week. From that exercise here is a  kirjoittaminen (writing) exercise and model answer with colour code linking the answer to the instructions. HUOM! As ever this is not a ‘perfect’ answer but one which does everything that is asked for!

Sähköposti Ystäväsi on lähtenyt lomamatkalle ja pyytänyt sinua kastelemaan hänen poissa ollessaan kukat. Kun ole ystäväsi asunnossa, rikot siellä vahingossa jonkin esineen. Kirjoita hänelle nyt vietsi jossa kerrot

  • Mikä esine meni rikki
  • Kuinka vahinko tapahtui
  • Miten aiot korvata vahingon

Muista sopiva aloitus ja lopetus



Aihe: Kukkien kastelu

Hei Sanna, Toivattavasti lomasi on mennyt hyvin. 

Kun tulin kastelemaan kukat, pudotin vahingossa muumimukin pöydältä. 

Muki oli pöydällä ja se putosi lattialle kun minä laiton pöydälle yhden kukan.

Olen todella pahoillani ja pyydän vahinkoa anteeksi. Yritän löytää samanlaisen mukin kaupasta.

Nähdään, Chloe 

We then had a puhuminen (speaking) practice using the same tilanteita (scenarios) as in previous lessons. Mine was: Puhelimsi soi ja soittaja on lehtimyyjä. Hän haluaa myydä sinulle sanomalehden kestotilauksen. Et halua tilata lehteä (keski itse, miksi). Mitä sanot?

I answered: Kiitos, mutta en halua tilata sanomalehtia koska en osaa lukea hyvin suomeksi!

Ope then gave us some vinkkeja (tips) for the speaking part of the exam:

  • If you have to give a reason (syy) why you do or do not want something (as in the scenario above) or why you can’t do something it can be a ‘bad’ or ‘stupid’ reason eg “Koska en jaksaa.” But you should learn some stock reasons you could give eg “En pääse koska minulla on kokous.”
  • Use the words and phrases in the scenarios (as I have in the example above)
  • Read the scenarios carefully! One student got the wrong idea about the scenario, and so gave a nonsensical answer, because she misread it.
  • Just say something! You have 30s per tilanne which is a loooong time
  • Ask the question you were asked back or ask eg “Entä siellä?” “Entä sinulle / sinua?” (but only if the scenario is appropriate!!)

To conclude we had a short grammar (kielioppi) lesson on objekti cases (partitiivi, genetiivi, nominatiivi) which involved Ope reading out 2 pages of rules which we had copies of. Grammar is crucial to succeeding in the YKI test, even if their is no specific test of grammar or grammar exercises in the test, your answers in the writing, speaking and reading parts of the test will suffer if you can’t construct grammatically correct sentences. But grammar is definitely not my strong point, and I hate learning it in this by rote, formal way, so I won’t repeat the lesson here. I have learnt my Finnish grammar through practice: by listening and speaking and because of this it is messy and often incorrect.

The lessons go by so fast (they are only 90 mins) we don’t get that much done. But we do have 2hrs of homework as well!