YKI Test
information & practice

Passing the intermediate YKI test isn't rocket science. Read what the exam is about and how to pass it.

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1. What is the YKI test

YKI is a language test, that you can take to prove your language level. The test can be done in three difficulty levels (novice, intermediate, advanced) and it consists of 4 subtests: reading, writing, listening & speaking.

Each subtest is graded from 1-6, depending on the difficulty level. E.g. by taking the intermediate exam, each subtest is graded as "< 3", "3" or "4". The grades are based on the CEFR-levels:



1 (basic test)


2 (basic test)


3 (intermediate test)


4 (intermediate test)


5 (advanced test)


6 (advanced test)


2. YKI test for Finnish citizenship

The most common YKI tests are the intermediate Finnish & Swedish, as in most cases it is required for Finnish citizenship as a proof of your language level (there are some exceptions).

Eligibility for citizenship works as follows. A subtest is passed if you get 3 or higher as grade. You don't need to pass all four areas, as long as you pass:

1. Reading AND Speaking, OR
2. Writing AND Listening, OR
3. Writing AND Speaking.

E.g. if you take the intermediate test and only pass reading & writing, you will not be eligible to apply for Finnish citizenship.
Around 50% of intermediate Finnish or Swedish YKI participants get a score that is eligible for the citizenship. Most common combination to pass is writing & speaking. In recent years, Swedish has been an increasingly popular exam language, possibly because it is easier to learn than Finnish.

YKI test results never expire & they results from different tests can be combined to apply to for citizenship. E.g. if you have already passed writing in a previous test, and now only passed listening, you can still apply for citizenship.

3. YKI test structure

The test consists of four subtests, that are graded individually.

Reading comprehension (60min)

Types of texts include: letter, message, announcement, advertisement, news, informational text and story.

Six text snippets, to which you need to answer multiple-choice or with short texts.

Listening comprehension (30min)

Six audio clips that can vary from 1 to 5min in length. You get to hear the recordings twice.

Like in reading comprehension, answers are either multiple choice, yes/no or short written answers.

Writing (50min)

Three parts, first two are shorter texts, like writing an email or a complaint.

The third part is longer, and you have to express your opinion on one of two topics.

Speaking (20min)

First part is a question about yourself with sub-questions. You have 1,5min time to answer.

Second part has two conversations with the computer. You are given written hints on what you should say.

Third part is 5 different situations where you need to say something. 20-30s to prepare and 20-30s to answer.

In the last part you have 1,5min to prep for a 2min monologue about a topic with sub-questions.

4. Register for the YKI test

In 2024, the intermediate level test costs 176€. Registrations open 1-2 months before the test. Test slots get filled in minutes in the larger cities.

Test dates in 2024:

You can find up-to-date information about the availability of the tests in different cities, and register here: https://yki.opintopolku.fi/yki/ilmoittautuminen

5. Advice from students who passed YKI

Before the test

  • Set a target for when you want to pass YKI. Whether in 2 months or 1 year, it serves as a reminder & motivator for you to keep studying.
  • Make a realistic study plan. It's a lot harder to do 1h daily practice for a month than 20min daily practice for 3 months.
  • In the last weeks before the test, practicing grammar won't help you as much as practicing test-specific content.
  • Writing is the easiest subtest, listening & speaking the hardest. Practice accordingly.
  • Learn common patterns, like scheduling, complaining & describing.
  • Eat well before the test as it takes several hours.

During the test day

  • Especially in listening & speaking you will have limited time to answer, so you have start answering pretty fast.
  • Take notes during listening!
  • Don’t focus too much on grammar. It’s normal to make mistakes, and it’s a lot more important to get the answer correct content-wise than not to answer at all.
  • You will have to guess a lot. You will hear/see words you’ve forgotten or never heard of before.

6. Best way to practice for YKI

The hardest YKI subtests to pass are listening & speaking. The fastest way to improve those areas is by doing practice conversations.

Opeton is an AI teacher that you can call and train with 24/7. Opeton's exercises are based on the YKI test.

For reading & writing, we're adding exercises soon. Meanwhile, you can find some good practice exercises for those subtests here.

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