Subtest descriptions - Basic level


Perustaso, the basic level test, is aimed at skill levels 1-2 (on the National Certificate's 6-level scale.) This test is most suitable for adults who are in the early stages of language learning. Basic level skills can also constitute an ultimate target level for candidates who ony need the language for routine everyday purposes.

The National Certificate perustaso test consists of four subtests:

  1. Reading comprehension (approx. 50 minutes)
  2. Writing (approx. 50 minutes)
  3. Listening comprehension (approx. 25 minutes)
  4. Speaking (approx. 20 minutes)


- The total testing time is about three hours.-



Candidates are expected to understand the gist of brief newspaper articles, advertisements or other similar short authentic texts related to the topic areas mentioned in the test specifications.

There are usually three or four separate tasks; one task may include several short texts.The questions concentrate on the comprehension of main points and some important details. Several task types are used on each testing occasion (constructed response and selected response).




Candidates are expected to write informal letters or messages. Topics vary; a task could be (for example) to write a note informing your family or a colleague about some matter. The main requirement for a succesful accomplishment of the task is to convey the message to the reader as comprehensibly as possible.

There are three tasks, each of which is relatively short and simulates tasks the candidiates may encounter in real-life situations.



Candidates are expected to understand the gist or some of the most important details of short dialogues or, for example, radio programmes/announcements spoken at normal speed or at a slightly slower pace.

The test takes place in a language laboratory, and there are usually three or four tasks. Several task types, both constructed response and selected response, are used.



Candidates are expected to express themselves orally as naturally and effectively as possible in situations that simulate real-life functions at a very basic level.

This subtest is conducted ether face to face or in a language laboratory. There are usually three separate tasks that aim at testing different kinds of oral skills (e.g., reactions to situations, extended speech).