Category Archives: puhuminen

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.


Kieliopista: Objekti / About Grammar: the object

I find studying the nitty-gritty of Finnish grammar a nightmare. Reading about grammar rules is just not how I learn a language but without a grasp of Finnish grammar I can’t expect to do well in either the kirjoittaminen or puhuminen parts of the YKI test.

I know I make a LOT of grammatical mistakes when writing and speaking and, with 5 days until the test, it’s probably too late to change my ingrained bad habits…But I’m going to try by looking at objekti, the object, and when and why it takes the partitiivi, akkusatiivi and nominaatiivi / perus muoto (partitive, accusative, nominative or basic) form, something we covered briefly in our prep classes.

The Finnish Teacher blog has a very good and simple explanation (as ever) of objekti here which I have used for my self-teaching/revision along with a 2 page explanation in Finnish provided by Ope.

First you need to know which word in the sentence is the objekti. As the Finnish Teacher (FT) says it “is that which is having something DONE TO IT.” FT’s example sentence is Mies lukee kirjaa. Here kirja (the book) is the objekti as it is being read by mies (the man).

Then you need to decide whether the objekti needs to be in partitiivi, akkusatiivi or nominaatiivi form (it is only ever in these 3 cases).

For example, it’s the kirjoittaminen part of the exam and I want to write in Finnish that “I play guitar.” I know (thanks to FT) that ‘guitar’ is the objekti as it is being played by me. Now I have to decide whether the word ‘guitar’ should be in partitiivi, nominaatiivi or akkusatiivi form. To do this I need to know when each case should be used. Here are the rules for each case:

The objekti is in partitiivi when:

  1. The sentence is negative eg “I haven’t watered the flowers” -> En ole kastellut kukkia
  2. The objekti is an abstract noun, a mass or uncountable noun eg “I drink coffee (uncountable)” -> Minä juon kahvia
  3. The sentence describes an ongoing process / the verb is a process verb which normally needs a partitive object in Finnish eg “I love you” -> Minä rakastan sinua
  4. it comes after a number eg “I waited 3 hours” -> Minä odotin kolme tuntia
  5. When the sentence is talking about a part or some of something eg “I ate a little bit of pizza” -> Söin vähän pizzaa

The objekti is in nominatiivi when:

  1. the sentence is an order, imperative eg “Do the YKI test!” -> Tee YKI testi!
  2. the sentences talks about having to do something eg “I always have to clean” Aina minun pitää sivota
  3. The sentence’s verb is passive eg “One can buy eggs from the market” -> Torilta ostetaan munat (literally from the market can be bought eggs)
  4. the objekti needs to be plural eg “I the read the books” -> Minä luin kirjat

And finally the objekti is in akkusitiivi when:

  1. The sentence is talking about a completed process eg “Dad took care of the boy” -> Isä hoiti poikan 
  2. The object is the whole or all of something eg “I ate the whole cake” -> Minä söin koko kakun

Short version (and aide memoires):

Negative sentence, Ongoing process, Number, object is Uncountable, Partitive verb, part or Some of something (using words vähän or osa) = partitiivi

NON UPS = partitiivi

sentence is about Having to do something, object is Plural, sentence gives an Order, sentence’s verb is Passive.

H POP = nomanaatiivi / perusmuoto

Completed process, objekti is whole or All of something = akkusatiivi

CA = akkusatiivi

FT has a really good series of questions  in Finnish at the bottom of his blog post which you could use as a kind of keilioppikone (grammar machine) where you put your sentence through a series of questions to see which case the objekti should take. I’ll use this on my sentence to decide which case kitara should take:

So, should my sentence be: Minä soitan kitara (nominaatiivi) or Minä soitan kitaran (akkusatiivi) or Minä soitan kitaraa (partitiivi)?

Is ‘soittaa’ is a process verb / is ‘to play’ is an ongoing process? YES! so I need partitiiviMinä soitan kitaraa! Phew!

PS If in doubt, go for partitiivi as there are the most ‘reasons’ for an objekti to take this form. As FT puts it partitiivi voitaa! (Partitiivi wins!) over the other cases.

You can test yourself on choosing the correct case by using FT’s fill in the blanks exercise at the bottom of his post.

I have ‘complete the sentences’ exercises from Ope – titled partitiivi vai akkusatiivi objekti? (although some sentences need nominaatiivi!)- which I will do… Scores:  7/11 or 63%, 10/16 or 62.5%, 9/14 or 64%

So, I still have a way to go to get this right! I think I am still going on instinct rather than these rules! Sometimes I can’t see how the rules apply. Sometimes I correctly think it’s partitiivi but I can’t form the partitive correctly (something else to revise!) I think /hope these rules will be more useful for creating Finnish text ie the kirjoittaminen part of the exam.

Takaisin suomessa ja alle viikko ennen YKI testia! / Back in Finland and less that a week until the YKI test

I just got back home to Joensuu a couple of hours ago and from now until Saturday I hope to be in serious YKI test preparation mode. I have to work Tues, Weds, Thurs but I’m hoping to do some training in the evenings and to use Friday for last minute prep! I also have a Skype lesson booked with Hanna on Wednesday evening to practice for the speaking part of the test. I got some puhuminen practice as soon as I got back to Joensuu as my suitcase didn’t arrive with me. It’s still in Helsinki. So I got to describe the suitcase and give my address and phone number in Finnish to Finnair. If this tilanne comes up in the puhuminen part of the test that’d be great as I’ve now practiced it! 😉 Just before I left for England I got the paper work about the test through from Kansalaisopisto. The test is scheduled to last just under 4 hrs with only on short break (!) There will be two groups. Both start by taking the tekstin ymmärtäminen part of the test then one group does the puheen ymmärtäminen ja puhuminen part whilst the other does  the kirjoittaminen part and vice versa. I don’t mind which group I’m in as for me the tekstin ymmärtäminen is probably gong to be the hardest bit and there’s no choice about doing that later on in the day when I’m ‘warmed up.’ Being in England has meant I haven’t been doing that much prep or practice (see my treenaaminen page for what I’ve beendoing) but I did try to speak a bit of Finnish with M whilst he was with me and with my sister and even teach my parents a few words! As soon as I got on the Finnair plane I switched to Finnish and the on board announcements were a nice test of my puheen ymmärtäminen skills! 😀

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.

Onko tänään suomenkielen oppitunti? / Is there a Finnish lesson today?

In the pub last night my friend who is studying Suomi 1.2 at Kansalaisopisto mentioned that, for her, there is no lesson this week. As I missed last week’s lesson I now didn’t know if I had a lesson today or not.

So, this morning, I clicked onto Kansalaisopisto’s website where I spotted this message:


Talvilomaviikkoa vietetään 2.3.-8.3.2015. Talviloman aikana ei ole opetusta, paitsi jos opetuskerroista on erikseen sovittu. Kansalaisopiston asiakaspalvelu on talvoloman ajan suljettu ja avataan jälleen maanantaina 9.3. klo 10.

Before seeing this I had been planning to call the office. Scary as this would have been I figured it would also have been good puhuminen practice!

I then checked my course enrolment page to see if I could contact ope to see if she and our class were an exception (poikkeus) to the general week-off rule. There were no contact details but the course details do include the following:

Kurssi: 150095 Suomen YKI-harjoittelua keskitasolla 3
Kurssin kesto:  30.01.15 – 27.03.15
Perjantai  17:45 – 19:15
Kevätlukukaudella 8 opetuskertaa 16 tuntia

8 lessons but the course lasts nine week…OK so this must be a week off. Jiipii! I can have a nice evening at home instead!

To compensate for missing out on YKI prep this week I have asked M if he will practice the puhuminen part of the test with me and we have also had ‘Finnish Friday’ today speaking only Finnish…I even threw a tantrum at Prisma in Finnish: “Täällä on liian monta väkeä ja mie en löytää täältä mitään!!

I just grabbed M for some puhuminen practice using the tilanteita (scenarios) we were given in class. We did it like a mock test where I quickly read out the scenario and then answered straight away. M then corrected me. Here are some of the tilanteita we went through. For once these ARE ‘perfect’ as they have been corrected by M.

Ystäväsi soitaa toiselta paikkakunnalta. Hän kysyy, millainen sää on siellä, missä sinä olet. Mitä sanot?

Moi, täällä Joensuussa on pilvinen sää. Entä siellä?

Haluat kutsua ystäväsi käymään sinun luona kylässä. Kerro ystävällesi: million haluat että hän tulee? Miten hän pääsee sinun luokse rautatieasemelta?

Moi, haluaisin että tulet lauantaina. Pääset minun luo rautatieasemalta niin helposti: mennä sillan yli ja sitten vasemalla on minun taloni.

Ystäväsi soitaa ja pyytää sinua illalla ulos. Sinulla on muuta tekemistä. Vasta kieltävästi ja kerro, miksi et voi lähteä (keksi itse syy)

Anteeksi, mutta en voi lähteä koska minulla on muuta tekemistä. Minun pitää mennä suomenkieli kursille.

Olet lähdössä perheesi kanssa lomalle ensi viikolla. Soitat rautatieasemalle. Kysy junien aikatauluja. Päätä itse mihin ja minä päivänä matkustatte. 

Terve. Haluisin matkustaa Helsinkiin ensi tiistaina. Mihin aikaan junia lähtee?

I used the words and phrases in the scenarios in my answers and kept the answers clear and simple. We were advised to do this by ope. M’s opinion on how I did: “Se meni OK”

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!