Tuesday, November 13, 2012

After the ball was over


I was putting away the study materials this evening, finding the surface of the table again beneath all of the Dutch books and study sheets.  The green  book, the red book, the grammar book, the dictionary.  It all served pretty well; 'going forward, it will be important to keep this momentum.

Besides, I’m actually enjoying reading more and more of the Metro each morning on the train.

Lezen en Luisteren was today, two hours each for the NT2-I test in Eindhoven.  The reading test was relaxed and enjoyable – the texts were interesting and the 40 multiple-choice questions straightforward.  Workplace issues again dominated, Repetitive Stress injury, smoking policies, and, my favorite, the virtues of a 32 hour work week. 

Imagine if workers had time to spend the money they earn, time to study and train and improve, time with family, time without stress.

Contrast that with calls for longer workdays, shorter vacations, deferred pensions.

Consider, if a bakery has to make 30 cakes, is there greater social good in having six workers make five cakes each, or five making six each?

It was interesting to think about – the sort of argument that we should have, conservative vs. progressive, in the US but never do.

The Listening test was less about listening than about strategy.  The speaker reads a text setting up a scenario: a woman is getting a new kitchen, or a man is describing work in a travel bureau.  There is text describing the question to be asked and three possible answers.  There is a 20-second period to study the question and answers, then there is a fast, jumbled interview to listen to.  Essentially, I would think about how to recognize any of the three answers, then listen for that part of the interview. 

So, for example, the question “How does the travel agent know which destinations are popular”, had three possible answers: Customers, Destination countries, Travel Agent Organizations.  The response described the various surveys that are available through professional societies, no mention of Landen and only a brief reference to Klanten

So, C.

At the end, I think I probably did well on Reading, then Writing, then Listening, and, dismally, Speaking. It will be weeks before I know the scores (and I’m under no illusions), but it leads to a new dilemma.

I’m close to passing on three of these, although there’s a huge gap with Spreken.  Ego is already chanting You Can Do This…  Imagine if I did.

But, seriously, I don’t need this.  I need A2, a permanent visa, a path to running my business with more certainty.  The safe and sane course is to take the Korte Vrijstellingstoets and, if I fail it the Inburgeringsexamen.  And never to go near NT2-I again.

But where’s the pride in scraping across with a dishonorable A2? 

But where’s the honor in bashing myself against NT2-I out of pride?

I definitely need to get a grip: two full days of language exams, weeks of studying, has left me a bit fried.

Metro published a lovely little article that I was reading on the train this morning about how to become a miljonair:

  1. Word ondernemer  (Become an entrepreneur )
  2. Werk hard  (Work hard)
  3. Leef als een vrek  (Live like a miser)
  4. Een kwestie van mazzel   (Have good luck)

This is a toets that I can pass.


Jules: said...

I wish I'd had your listening section: I found the listening section to be one of the hardest, because it wasn't so much which answer was right, but which answer was MORE right than the other two.

But hooray, it's over! I hope you did well.

Textual Healer said...

Ah yes- (un)fond memories. A lttle more than a year ago I had to retake my NLT-2 writing - having passed (scrapped through) all the others. I actually drove back from Brussels to take it. Having spent the summer in Brussels - speaking more French than Dutch - my exam result was actally poorer than the first time around. Still unlike most people taking the test my residence was not in jeopardy from the results...