Frequently Asked Questions
What is a language exam?
A language exam is an examination serving to give account of one’s language competence orally or/and in writing.
Language competence can be measured in different situations, e.g., at final language exams at college, at foreign language exams of school-leaving examinations at secondary schools. Moreover, students’ language competence is sometimes tested in nationwide surveys to pre-test, e.g., a type of exam. Language competence typically consists of the skill of writing (creating texts individually), the skill of reading comprehension, the correct use of the language as well as speaking skills and the skill of listening comprehension (understanding recorded speech and the examiner at oral exams). The level of performing these skills is tested at language examinations.
What is Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)?
CEFR, Common European Framework of Reference for Languages has introduced a new system for grouping and naming the levels of language examinations. At present, we use A2 (Waystage), B1 (Threshold), B2 (Vantage), and C1 (Proficiency) in language certificates.
(However, A1 and C2 also exist but in Hungary no accredited language exam can be conducted at these levels)
Is it known which language exam is the easiest to take?
Accredited language exams are nearly at equal level, with only some tasks being different, in other words: a good command of a language is evaluated equally at each accredited language examination centre.
Which are the written and which are the oral skills?
Written skills are on one hand reading comprehension, on the other hand, writing skills.
Oral skills are speaking skills and listening comprehension.
Mediation can either belong to written or oral skills depending on the examination system.
What is the difference between language exams for general and for special purposes?
A language exam for general purposes tests language competence in everyday language use. It can be either monolingual or bilingual.
An exam for special (economic, medical, technical, etc.) purposes tests each of the language skills using the field-related language of a particular trade or profession. It can be either monolingual or bilingual.
What is a monolingual or a bilingual combined exam? Which one has more value?
A monolingual combined exam tests at least four skills at each level (listening comprehension, speaking skills, writing skills, and reading comprehension). Mediation skills are not tested; thus, these skills will not influence the outcome of the exam.
A bilingual combined exam tests at least five skills at each level (listening comprehension, speaking skills, writing skills, reading comprehension, and mediation skills)
The value of the language exam does not depend on its being monolingual or bilingual.
Should I take a monolingual or a bilingual exam?
The difference between the two types of examination is in the fact that bilingual exams also test the competence of mediation (translation). Before making your choice, you should make sure which type of certificate is demanded by the school, employer, etc. Both types are equally evaluated by the law.
What is a language examination system?
The components of language competence are listed in the first paragraph. (See: What is a language exam?) Language competence can be measured in several ways by different tasks. An exam system is a set of methods measuring language skills in a specific way. Experts examine whether it is suitable for language testing, and if they find it suitable, it is accredited, i.e., given a permission for work. (See: Accreditation)
What is a language examination centre?
A language system is a set of language testing methods. An examination centre is an institution which constructed the methods and uses them for language exams. A permission for work (accreditation) can only be applied for by an examination centre together with an examination system. (See: Accreditation)
What is an exam location?
A language examination centre is in a building where the offices etc. are located. The exams, however, are not necessarily conducted in that building but at different other sites; these are the exam locations of a centre. The locations are also examined by experts to decide whether they are suitable for examinations. At some locations (e.g., schools) the language teachers employed there also work as examiners; these places are accredited exam locations. There are, however, locations where the examiners are sent from the centre, and the location only serves as the site of the exam; these are called registered locations.
What makes a language exam a state or accredited examination?
In the case of certain language exams the state declares that those completing a particular exam with success may be entitled to benefits or preferences such as extra points on entering higher education, admitting the language requirements for college/university degrees, or paying language allowance as well.
Before 31st December 1999, there was only one great state language exam conducted by the Centre for Foreign Languages called ITK or ”Rigó utca”. Besides, there were certain college and university final exams, school-leaving exams taken abroad, degrees received in other countries etc., which were listed in the supplement of a decree. The holders of such diplomas or documents were and are entitled to all preferences granted by the state. This is the Decree No.3/1980 (X.25.) MM and all the exams listed in its supplement can be found in the Rules of Law section on our homepage: https://nyak.oh.gov.hu
After 1st January 2000 the situation changed. Instead of declaring one specific exam by law and listing equivalent exams that can be taken at different places, the state introduced the system of accredited language examinations. Those having passed an accredited exam at an accredited institution are entitled to hold the same accredited language certificate. It is important to know that all former state language exams are regarded to be accredited language exams today and entitle the holder to all preferences.
Why is it worth taking accredited language exams?
Students can learn which level they have achieved in their language competence during their studies.
Parents/teachers can learn whether their children/students have achieved the required level in their studies and, in consequence, whether the learning/teaching method they use is suitable for them.
Until 2005 a language certificate at least at intermediate level type C could substitute the school-leaving exam and grant bonus points in the procedure of admission to higher education.
A college or university student holding the appropriate language certificate can fulfil the requirements of qualification.
Public servants with language certificates can receive language allowance in case they use the language at work.
From civil servants a language exam will be demanded by law and they can get language allowance upon their language certificates.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a procedure through which experts examine whether an institution (i.e., a language examination centre), an exam location or an exam system is suitable for conducting accredited language exams. If the experts find everything satisfactory, an accreditation resolution is issued, which is the permission for work of an accredited language centre, exam location or examination system. Examinations taken at these language centres, locations, and exam systems of these are embodied in accredited language certificates.
Are there any accredited language exams in the EU?
No, the European Union as a community does not admit or reject any language exams.
What is the EU’s attitude towards Hungarian accredited language exams?
The EU does not take a common stand on language exams. It is the right of the member states to decide which exams are to be recognised or demanded.
What is state recognition of a language exam?
State recognition, i.e., making a monolingual language certificate either for general or special purposes issued by a foreign examination centre equivalent with the Hungarian state accredited language certificate is possible, if:
- the certificate was issued after 1st January 2000,
- candidate was over 14 in the same year when the exam was taken,
- the language examination is listed by the Accreditation Centre for Foreign Language Examinations of the Educational Authority of Hungary in the following table: https://nyak.oh.gov.hu/doc/honositas/tajekoztato-eng.asp
Do I need an attested translation for the state recognition of my language certificate which was issued outside Hungary?
No, there is no need for translation. To request a state recognition, you will need a copy of your language certificate: https://nyak.oh.gov.hu/doc/honositas/tajekoztato-eng.asp
How can I request the state recognition of my child’s language certificate if they are studying / working abroad? Can they start the procedure via email?
You cannot request state recognition of a language examination via email.
You can submit the request together with a separate authorization form. See further information on our website: https://nyak.oh.gov.hu/doc/honositas/tajekoztato-eng.asp
I am a foreign citizen. What languages can I choose from to take a language exam in Hungary?
Foreign citizens can take any accredited language exam at any accredited language examination centre and can even choose to take a Hungarian language exam.
I hold dual citizenship. Can I take an exam in the Hungarian language?
If you hold Hungarian citizenship, you cannot. Those holding Hungarian citizenship can take a language exam only in a foreign language, i.e., different from Hungarian.
How can a dysgraphic or dyslexic candidate be granted exemption from the written partial exam and take an oral partial exam instead?
In accordance with the regulations, a language exam must test all skills; thus, no exemption from the written exam is allowed.
Do language examination centres have their own regulations in case of dysgraphic candidates, or they operate in accordance with state regulations?
The examination centres meet the requirement of Hungarian Government Decree No. 137/2008 of 16 May 2008 and take all reasonable measures to ensure that candidates with disabilities and special needs can take part in language exams on an equal basis with other candidates. Please find more information about the practice on each examination centre’s website, usually in a separate menu entry: https://nyak.oh.gov.hu/doc/akk_vizsgakp-eng.asp
How can I know whether my language certificate is regarded as an accredited language certificate?
If it is stated in the document itself that it certifies a state language exam, it is obvious.
If it dates to before 1st January 2000, the supplement to Decree No.3/1980 (X.25.) MM should be checked, and hopefully it is listed there. If it is an exam taken in Hungary and is not listed in the supplement, all that can be done is sit for a new exam.
Is a general handling of Hungarian accredited language certificates to be expected in the EU?
The EU does not regulate the recognition of language certificates at community level as it is not regulated by its law. The recognition and evaluation of language certificates taken outside a member state are regulated within the member state’s own competence. Thus, the language certificates taken in Hungary are evaluated differently in the EU member states.
Are language exams taken in the EU member states expected to be regarded as accredited language exams in Hungary without state recognition?
As it is mentioned above, the community law does not cover the recognition of language certificates. Consequently, Hungary does not have to recognise language certificates taken in the EU countries automatically.
When can I receive my language certificate obtained in Hungary?
According to the regulations, if a candidate does not submit a request for assessment review, the examination centre is obliged to provide the candidate with the language certificate not later than 60 days after the successful exam.
Where can I receive my language certificate?
Please contact your language examination centre.
I passed my language exam in Hungary, but I have not received my certificate yet. Can I get an official statement by the Authority that the exam was successful?
The Educational Authority will not issue a statement like that.
Can I get a combined certificate for my separate oral and written partial exams if more than one year passed between the two exams?
The Educational Authority will issue a combined certificate upon request only in case of accredited language exams taken after 1st January 2000.
How can I get a combined certificate for a Hungarian accredited and a foreign partial exam?
First, you will need the state recognition of your foreign language exam. You can read about the procedure here: https://nyak.oh.gov.hu/doc/honositas/tajekoztato-eng.asp
You can submit the state recognition decision together with the accredited language certificate of the partial exam to request a combined certificate.
What can I do if I have a language certificate, but it is not an accredited exam?
There are two typical cases:
The exam was taken in Hungary before 1st January 2000, but not at ITK and not at one of the institutions listed in the supplement to Decree No. 3/1980 (X.25.) MM either. In this case the exam must be repeated.
In the other case the exam was taken at a foreign examination centre, which might as well have been organised by the centre’s representative in Hungary, and you do not have an accredited certificate or a state recognition decision. Then you should check if your certificate can be state recognised by the general or the special purpose state recognition procedure.