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Is There a Polish Test for Beginners?

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Polish language exams may not be as popular and well-known as the English ones. This doesn’t mean, however, that Polish-learners have no way to prove their language proficiency. 

So what exams are available for people learning Polish? Is there a Polish test for beginners? If so, how does one prepare for the Polish A1 exam? 

Patience, grasshopper. You’ll find the answers to all of these questions—and much more—in this article.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Study Strategies in Polish Table of Contents
  1. General Information About the Polish Language Test
  2. What’s Inside the Test?
  3. Preparation for the Polish Exam
  4. Final Thoughts

1. General Information About the Polish Language Test

The British have FCE, CAE, and CPE. The French have DELF and DALF. The Polish, unfortunately, don’t use an acronym for the Polish language test. You’ll need to remember a slightly longer name: egzamin certyfikatowy z języka polskiego jako obcego (“certificate examination in Polish as a foreign language”). 

A- Test Levels

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) recognizes six levels of language fluency. The Polish exam for adults is currently available only at higher levels: B1 (intermediate), B2 (upper-intermediate), and C1 (advanced). This means that there’s no official Polish test for beginners yet.

Don’t despair! There may not be a Polish A1 exam for you to take at the moment, but the first Polish A2 exam is planned for the end of 2020. See the official website for a full list of exam sessions in 2020. 

The most popular of the general Polish language proficiency tests is the B1 Polish language exam, and there’s a good reason for this. Passing the B1 Polish exam is a requirement to: 

  • Obtain Polish citizenship (obywatelstwo polskie)
  • Get a Polish permanent residence permit (zezwolenie na pobyt stały
  • Study in Poland (studium w Polsce

However, you may want to get a higher-level certificate to improve your CV, increase your chances of getting hired in Poland, or simply for personal satisfaction. 

A Man with a T-shirt Based on the Polish Flag Hidden Under His Shirt

B- Test Structure

The Polish language certification exam consists of two parts: a written section and an oral one. They usually take place on two different days, but you can ask to take both on the same day. This would be useful, for instance, if you live far away from the exam center.

The written part is divided into four sections: 

  • Listening
  • Text comprehension
  • Grammar
  • Writing 

The length of the written exam is around 190 minutes. The oral exam is no longer than 15 minutes. 

To pass the exam, you need to obtain at least a fifty percent score on each component. If you need some motivation to learn enough Polish for the test, go to our lesson on the top five reasons to study Polish!

C- How and Where to Take the Test

Students Writing an Exam

There are numerous centers where the Polish language exam can be taken, after you register and pay the exam fee. You can find more information about the exam centers here

2. What’s Inside the Test?

In the following sections, we’ll outline what you can expect to see in each section of this Polish exam for foreigners. This will allow you to better prepare for the test, and study appropriately! 

A- The Polish Listening Exam

The listening comprehension (rozumienie ze słuchu) component is taken with the written part of the exam. After 25 minutes, the test sheets are collected and you have a short break. 

What to Expect

This part of the exam is aimed at checking your listening comprehension skills. You’ll listen to a number of recordings and follow the instructions to answer the questions. Usually, you’ll hear each recording twice, but occasionally, only one listening is allowed.

The instructions will clearly state what you’re supposed to do in a given task. You can expect a variety of different exercises here, such as multiple-choice, true-or-false, and filling in the blanks. You may also be asked to provide your answer in writing. 

Useful Tips:

  • Prepare for this part of the exam by listening to various materials and taking notes. 
  • During the exam, read the answers before the recording begins, if possible. 
  • Remember to answer the questions or mark your answers in the way specified in the instructions. 

Are you looking for some exercises to practice your listening skills? PolishPod101.com has a series of listening comprehension exercises just for beginners. The first installment of this series is “At the Jewelry Store.”

B- The Polish Reading Exam

The reading comprehension (rozumienie tekstów pisanych) section is the second part of the exam. This time, you’ll have 45 minutes to complete the tasks. The exam sheets are collected after this duration of time.

What to Expect

A Man Reading a Book

The purpose of the reading component of the Polish certificate exam is to test your general and specific understanding of the written language. You can expect the following types of exercises: multiple-choice, true-or-false, and written answers. 

Useful Tips:

  • Don’t rush through the texts. Some questions may be tricky. 
  • If you have any time left, reread the text and check your answers again.
  • Don’t panic. You don’t need to understand every word to understand the text. 

You can start practicing the skills necessary to pass this part of the exam with the first lesson in our reading comprehension series: “Buying a Train Ticket.”

C- The Grammar Portion of the Test

The grammar—or more specifically, the grammatical correctness (poprawność gramatyczna)—portion of the test lasts for 45 minutes. After this time, the worksheets will be collected.

What to Expect?

Polish grammar (gramatyka języka polskiego) is feared by many students. You shouldn’t be too scared of this part of the exam, though. When you study hard, correct forms will come naturally to you. 

The types of questions you can expect are: multiple-choice, filling in the blanks, paraphrasing, formation of words, and proper verb forms. 

Useful Tips:

  • When preparing for the exam, study verb conjugations carefully.
  • Be particularly careful with subject-verb agreement as well as with adjectives and possessive pronouns.
  • When you don’t know the answer, let your linguistic instinct lead you. You know more than you think you do!

Our Painless Polish Grammar page will certainly help you with the grammar component of the Polish language exam. 

D- The Polish Writing Exam

Expressing oneself through writing (wypowiedź pisemna) is the last (and longest) part of the written exam. You have 75 minutes to complete it.

Someone Writing in a Notebook

What to Expect

You’ll have to complete certain tasks aimed at checking your writing skills in Polish. The topics are general and examiners aren’t interested in checking your knowledge. They just assess your Polish writing skills.

Usually, there are three different sets to choose from. Each set contains two tasks that you’ll have to complete in a given amount of time. When the worksheets are taken away, you’re done for the day!

Useful Tips:

  • Keep the word limit in mind. It’s there for a reason, and you may lose points or even be disqualified if you ignore it. 
  • Choose the set of tasks you feel best prepared for.
  • Remember to reread what you’ve written and correct any mistakes you find. 

What’s the easiest way to start writing and improve on your own? Click on the link to find out. 

E- The Polish Speaking Exam

The Polish oral exam (egzamin ustny) is the shortest part of the exam, at only 15 minutes long. As previously mentioned, it’s usually taken on a different day than the written exam. 

What to Expect

The test consists of three different tasks. The first two are monologues and the third one is a discussion with a member of the jury. There are different sets available, but you choose them at random without looking at them. Once you have your set, you’ll have approximately 5 minutes to prepare.

Before you start the actual exam, you’ll have a short, general conversation with a jury. After that, you can present what you’ve prepared in any order you choose. The jury is allowed to ask you questions. 

Useful Tips:

  • If you’re stressed, speak slower. You’ll make fewer mistakes. 
  • Don’t panic if you forget a word. Simply describe what you mean. 
  • Try to use synonyms and different grammatical structures.

Before you register for the Polish as a second language exam, remember to learn the one hack for speaking real-life Polish

3. Preparation for the Polish Exam

A Blank Certificate of Achievement

You already know where to find specific information about the test, such as Polish B1 exam dates and locations. You’ve also read about the exam structure and know more about what to expect. Last but not least, we’re going to give you some recommendations on how to prepare for this exam.

Do Mock Tests

The best way to prepare for an exam is by taking mock tests. Doing so will give you practical knowledge about the test. 

When you know what to expect, and are thus unlikely to be surprised, it’s much easier to manage stress. You can find some sample tests on the official website of the certificate

Listen to More-Experienced Students

Try to get advice on the test from people who’ve already passed it. If you don’t have access to anyone like this, simply look for testimonials and articles online. 

Work on Your Vocabulary

The more words you know, the less probable it is that you’ll get stuck. You’ll find useful vocabulary in Polish series, movies, and books, as well as in our vocabulary lists

Speak, Listen, and Read

There are countless possibilities to speak, listen, and read Polish. Find a language partner online or in real life, listen to Polish podcasts, or read newspapers. 

Get a Tutor

You can improve your fluency with a language partner, but speaking and writing are difficult skills to master without proper help from a professional. 

Kill two birds with one stone by getting an account with PolishPod101.com. With our Premium PLUS option, you’ll not only get access to countless learning materials, but also to our MyTeacher program with one-on-one tutoring.

Language Skills

4. Final Thoughts

There’s no Polish test for beginners, but with a bit of work you can definitely manage to get a higher certificate in the Polish language. Remember to start preparing way in advance and don’t forget to register. If you’re prepared, you’re unlikely to fail. However, in the unlikely event that you do, you may find some consolation in this article.

The Polish A1 exam may not be available yet, but who knows what the future holds? If you don’t want to wait, get your free lifetime account with PolishPod101.com today. This way, you can work on your Polish vocabulary and other Polish skills to ace a higher level of the official Polish proficiency test. 

Is there anything you still want to know about Polish language proficiency tests? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help you out!

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Essential Vocabulary for Life Events in Polish

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What is the most defining moment you will face this year? From memories that you immortalize in a million photographs, to days you never wish to remember, one thing’s for certain: big life events change you. The great poet, Bukowski, said, “We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well, that death will tremble to take us.” The older I get, the more I agree with him!

Talking about significant events in our lives is part of every person’s journey, regardless of creed or culture. If you’re planning to stay in Poland for more than a quick visit, you’re sure to need at least a few ‘life events’ phrases that you can use. After all, many of these are shared experiences, and it’s generally expected that we will show up with good manners and warm wishes.

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Table of Contents

  1. Life Events
  2. Marriage Proposal Lines
  3. Talking About Age
  4. Conclusion

1. Life Events

Do you know how to say “Happy New Year” in Polish? Well, the New Year is a pretty big deal that the whole world is in on! We celebrate until midnight, make mindful resolutions, and fill the night sky with the same happy words in hundreds of languages. No doubt, then, that you’ll want to know how to say it like a local!

Big life events are not all about fun times, though. Real life happens even when you’re traveling, and certain terminology will be very helpful to know. From talking about your new job to wishing your neighbors “Merry Christmas” in Polish, here at PolishPod101, we’ve put together just the right vocabulary and phrases for you.

1- Birthday – urodziny

If you’re like me, any excuse to bring out a pen and scribble a note is a good one. When there’s a birthday, even better: hello, handwriting!

Your Polish friend will love hearing you wish them a “Happy birthday” in Polish, but how much more will they appreciate a thoughtful written message? Whether you write it on their Facebook wall or buy a cute card, your effort in Polish is sure to get them smiling! Write it like this:

Wszystkiego najlepszego

Older Woman Blowing Out Candles on a Birthday Cake Surrounded by Friends.

Now that you know the words, I challenge you to put them to music and sing your own “Happy birthday” song in Polish! It’s not impossible to figure out even more lyrics, once you start discovering the language from scratch.

2- Buy – kupować

If there’s a special occasion, you might want to buy somebody a gift. As long as you’ve checked out Polish etiquette on gift-giving (do a Google search for this!), it will be a lovely gesture. If you’re not sure what to buy, how about the awesome and universally-appealing gift of language? That’s a gift that won’t stop giving!

Two Women at a Counter in a Bookstore, One Buying a Book

3- Retire – przechodzić na emeryturę

If you’re planning to expand your mind and retire in Poland, you can use this word to tell people why you seem to be on a perpetual vacation!

Retirement is also a great time to learn a new language, don’t you think? And you don’t have to do it alone! These days it’s possible to connect to a vibrant learning community at the click of a button. The added benefit of a Daily Dose of Language is that it keeps your brain cells alive and curious about the world. After all, it’s never too late to realize those long-ignored dreams of traveling the globe…

4- Graduation – ukończenie szkoły

When attending a graduation ceremony in Poland, be prepared for a lot of formal language! It will be a great opportunity to listen carefully and see if you can pick up differences from the everyday Polish you hear.

Lecturer or University Dean Congratulating and Handing Over Graduation Certificate to a Young Man on Graduation Day.

5- Promotion – awans

Next to vacation time, receiving a promotion is the one career highlight almost everyone looks forward to. And why wouldn’t you? Sure, it means more responsibility, but it also means more money and benefits and – the part I love most – a change of scenery! Even something as simple as looking out a new office window would boost my mood.

6- Anniversary – rocznica

Some anniversaries we anticipate with excitement, others with apprehension. They are days marking significant events in our lives that can be shared with just one person, or with a whole nation. Whether it’s a special day for you and a loved one, or for someone else you know, this word is crucial to know if you want to wish them a happy anniversary in Polish.

7- Funeral – pogrzeb

We tend to be uncomfortable talking about funerals in the west, but it’s an important conversation for families to have. Around the world, there are many different customs and rituals for saying goodbye to deceased loved ones – some vastly different to our own. When traveling in Poland, if you happen to find yourself the unwitting observer of a funeral, take a quiet moment to appreciate the cultural ethos; even this can be an enriching experience for you.

8- Travel – podróżować

Travel – my favorite thing to do! Everything about the experience is thrilling and the best cure for boredom, depression, and uncertainty about your future. You will surely be forever changed, fellow traveler! But you already know this, don’t you? Well, now that you’re on the road to total Polish immersion, I hope you’ve downloaded our IOS apps and have your Nook Book handy to keep yourself entertained on those long bus rides.

Young Female Tourist with a Backpack Taking a Photo of the Arc de Triomphe

9- Graduate – skończyć szkołę

If you have yet to graduate from university, will you be job-hunting in Poland afterward? Forward-looking companies sometimes recruit talented students who are still in their final year. Of course, you could also do your final year abroad as an international student – an amazing experience if you’d love to be intellectually challenged and make a rainbow of foreign friends!

10- Wedding – ślub

One of the most-loved traditions that humans have thought up, which you’ll encounter anywhere in the world, is a wedding. With all that romance in the air and months spent on preparations, a wedding is typically a feel-good affair. Two people pledge their eternal love to each other, ladies cry, single men look around for potential partners, and everybody has a happy day of merrymaking.

Ah, but how diverse we are in our expression of love! You will find more wedding traditions around the world than you can possibly imagine. From reciting love quotes to marrying a tree, the options leave no excuse to be boring!

Married Couple During Reception, Sitting at Their Table While a Young Man Gives a Wedding Speech

11- Move – przeprowadzać się

I love Poland, but I’m a nomad and tend to move around a lot, even within one country. What are the biggest emotions you typically feel when moving house? The experts say moving is a highly stressful event, but I think that depends on the circumstances. Transitional periods in our lives are physically and mentally demanding, but changing your environment is also an exciting adventure that promises new tomorrows!

12- Be born – urodzić się

I was not born in 1993, nor was I born in Asia. I was born in the same year as Aishwarya Rai, Akon, and Monica Lewinsky, and on the same continent as Freddy Mercury. When and where were you born? More importantly – can you say it in Polish?

13- Get a job – dostać pracę

The thought of looking for a job in a new country can be daunting, but English speakers are in great demand in Poland – you just have to do some research, make a few friends and get out there! Also, arming yourself with a few Polish introductions that you can both say and write will give you a confidence boost. For example, can you write your name in Polish?

Group of People in Gear that Represent a Number of Occupations.

14- Die – umrzeć

Death is a universal experience and the final curtain on all other life events. How important is it, then, to fully live before we die? If all you have is a passport, a bucket list, and a willingness to learn some lingo, you can manifest those dreams!

15- Home – dom

If home is where the heart is, then my home is on a jungle island completely surrounded by the turquoise ocean. Right now, though, home is an isolation room with a view of half a dry palm tree and a tangle of telephone wires.

If you’re traveling to Poland for an extended stay, you’ll soon be moving into a new home quite unlike anything you’ve experienced before!

Large, Double-Story House with Lit Windows.

16- Job – praca

What job do you do? Does it allow you much time for travel, or for working on this fascinating language that has (so rightfully) grabbed your attention? Whatever your job, you are no doubt contributing to society in a unique way. If you’re doing what you love, you’re already on the road to your dream. If not, just remember that every single task is one more skill to add to your arsenal. With that attitude, your dream job is coming!

17- Birth – narodziny

Random question: do you know the birth rate of Poland?

If you’re lucky enough to be invited to see a friend’s baby just after they are born, you’ll have all my respect and all my envy. There is nothing cuter! Depending on which part of the country you’re in, you may find yourself bearing witness to some pretty unexpected birth customs. Enjoy this privilege!

Crying Newborn Baby Held By a Doctor or Nurse in a Hospital Theatre

18- Engaged – zaręczać się

EE Cummings said, “Lovers alone wear sunlight,” and I think that’s most true at the moment she says “yes.” Getting engaged is something young girls dream of with stars in their eyes, and it truly is a magical experience – from the proposal, to wearing an engagement ring, to the big reveal!

In the world of Instagram, there’s no end to the antics as imaginative couples try more and more outrageous ways to share their engagement with the world. I love an airport flashmob, myself, but I’d rather be proposed to on a secluded beach – salt, sand, and all!

Engagement customs around the world vary greatly, and Poland is no exception when it comes to interesting traditions. Learning their unique romantic ways will inspire you for when your turn comes.

Speaking of romance, do you know how to say “Happy Valentine’s Day” in Polish?

19- Marry – pobierać się

The one you marry will be the gem on a shore full of pebbles. They will be the one who truly mirrors your affection, shares your visions for the future, and wants all of you – the good, the bad and the inexplicable.

From thinking up a one-of-a-kind wedding, to having children, to growing old together, finding a twin flame to share life with is quite an accomplishment! Speaking of which…

2. Marriage Proposal Lines

Marriage Proposal Lines

Ah, that heart-stopping moment when your true love gets down on one knee to ask for your hand in marriage, breathlessly hoping that you’ll say “Yes!” If you haven’t experienced that – well, it feels pretty darn good, is all I can say! If you’re the one doing the asking, though, you’ve probably had weeks of insomnia agonizing over the perfect time, location and words to use.

Man on His Knee Proposing to a Woman on a Bridge.

How much more care should be taken if your love is from a different culture to yours? Well, by now you know her so well, that most of it should be easy to figure out. As long as you’ve considered her personal commitment to tradition, all you really need is a few words from the heart. Are you brave enough to say them in Polish?

3. Talking About Age

Talking about Age

Part of the wonder of learning a new language is having the ability to strike up simple conversations with strangers. Asking about age in this context feels natural, as your intention is to practice friendly phrases – just be mindful of their point of view!

When I was 22, I loved being asked my age. Nowadays, if someone asks, I say, “Well, I’ve just started my fifth cat life.” Let them ponder that for a while.

In Poland, it’s generally not desirable to ask an older woman her age for no good reason, but chatting about age with your peers is perfectly normal. Besides, you have to mention your birthday if you want to be thrown a birthday party!

4. Conclusion

Well, there you have it! With so many great new Polish phrases to wish people with, can you think of someone who has a big event coming up? If you want to get even more creative, PolishPod101 has much to inspire you with – come and check it out! Here’s just some of what we have on offer at PolishPod101:

  • Free Resources: Sharing is caring, and for this reason, we share many free resources with our students. For instance, start learning Polish with our basic online course by creating a lifetime account – for free! Also get free daily and iTunes lessons, free eBooks, free mobile apps, and free access to our blog and online community. Or how about free Vocabulary Lists? The Polish dictionary is for exclusive use by our students, also for free. There’s so much to love about PolishPod101…!
  • Innovative Learning Tools and Apps: We make it our priority to offer you the best learning tools! These include apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Mac OSX; eBooks for Kindle, Nook, and iPad; audiobooks; Roku TV and so many more. This means that we took diverse lifestyles into account when we developed our courses, so you can learn anywhere, anytime on a device of your choice. How innovative!
  • Live Hosts and One-on-One Learning: Knowledgeable, energetic hosts present recorded video lessons, and are available for live teaching experiences if you upgrade. This means that in the videos, you get to watch them pronounce those tongue-twisters, as if you’re learning live! Add octane to your learning by upgrading to Premium Plus, and learn two times faster. You can have your very own Polish teacher always with you, ensuring that you learn what you need, when you need to – what a wonderful opportunity to master a new language in record time!
  • Start Where You Are: You don’t know a single Polish word? Not to worry, we’ve absolutely got this. Simply enroll in our Absolute Beginner Pathway and start speaking from Lesson 1! As your learning progresses, you can enroll in other pathways to match your Polish level, at your own pace, in your own time, in your own place!

Learning a new language can only enrich your life, and could even open doors towards great opportunities! So don’t wonder if you’ll regret enrolling in PolishPod101. It’s the most fun, easy way to learn Polish.

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