Category Archives: tekstin 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.


Viimeinen oppitunti! / The last lesson!

Yesterday was the last YKI prep lesson for me as I’ll be in England next Friday when the real final lesson is held.

The lesson began with a student teacher asking us to complete a questionnaire for her…on Finnish grammar. We had to select to correct option for each sentence of a paragraph of text. A couple of examples:

Asuin / Olen asunut Suomessa jo neljä vuotta.

Isi soitti / on soitellut eilen.

Each time we had to chose between the perfecki (perfect) and imperfekti (past) tenses. I did this ‘by feel’ – what felt like the right choice to me. If I have ever studied when and how to use perfekti / imperfekti I have no memory of it! The student teacher gave us the answers afterwards and I got about 60-70% correct so I guess my instincts are ok!

I just looked up perfekti and imperfekti on The Finnish Teacher blog which explains the Finnish aikamuodot (tenses) very simply and clearly and shows how to change all verb types into their imperfekti and perfekti forms. If, like me, you struggle with the rules of grammar and/or dislike tackling grammar I really recommend you check this blog out! 

Perfekti (the perfect tense) is used: “when we are talking about something that started in the past and is ongoing or if something happened in the past and is finished but it’s not important when exactly it happened.”

eg (my own) Minä olen lukenut The Finnish Teacher blogia.

Imperfekti (the past tense) is used: “when something happened in the past and it’s finished.” or when you mention a specific time when something happened

eg Minä menin pubiin eilen.

We then had to write explanations of why we had chosen imperfekti / perfekti…in Finnish. It was difficult to express my reasoning (or lack thereof) in Finnish but it did make me stop and think about the answers I had chosen and why I chose them which made it a useful exercise. We then had to write a few sentences (again in Finnish) about our äidinkieli (mother tongue) and how it’s use of tenses differ or is similar to Finnish! Hui!!

We then began the lesson proper by going through the answers to last week’s tekstin ymmärtäminen homework which was based on short uutisia (news) texts and one tiedote (notice). I got 42/50 or 84% 😀 Although I’m pretty sure this was a lot easier than our previous tekstin ymmärtäminen homeworks as the texts were all very short (only 1/4 page each).

Ope then gave us some vinnkiä (tips) about the email writing part of the kirjoittaminen part of the test. These were based on writing emails about attending a Finnish course.

  • You can copy words and sentences from the introduction / instructions for writing the email. For example if the instructions say “Sinä näit ilmoitus lehdissä…” You could begin your email with  “Näin ilmoituksen lehdessä”
  • If the instructions ask you to express your hopes (toiveita) for something you need to use the konditionaali case eg “Toivotaan että…” 
  • If you need to talk about your skills (taidot) or abilities you can write ” X:sen taitoni ovat Y:t” eg “puhumisen taitoni ovat huonot” (my speaking skills are poor)
  • If you want to register for / give notice about something (eg attending Finnish course) you can say “Ilmoittautuisin kursille” or “Haluisin ilmoittautua kursille” Again here you should use konditionaali case.
  • If you can’t attend something you can write “En pääse…koska…”
  • If youhave asked questions in our email you can end it by writing “Odotan vastaustanne. Terveisin, …”

We then did a puheen ymmärtäminen mock exam based on mainoksia (adverts), uutisia (news) and kertomuksia (report or story, in this case it was a guy talking abuot his job) and checked the answers. I scored 33/42 or 78% so I passed 😀

Next week when I am away the class will focus on the puhuminen part of the test especially the quick fire answers and do another listening exam. Therefore I will try to practice the speaking part of the test. There are lots of examples I can use to practice at the bottom of Random Finnish Lessons blog post about verbs you should know for the YKI test.

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”

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