Norskprøve And Bergenstest: Which Exam To Prepare For

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Finding a job in Norway, studying, getting a residence permit–if you have any of those dreams, you will have to prove that your Norwegian is sufficient, i.e. you will have to pass a Norwegian language exam.

Not all exams will be accepted the same purpose. Picking the wrong exam will cost you a lot of time, energy, and money – so here is an overview over which exam you should take according to your situation.

Why “more difficult” is better

A general rule first: you should take the exam with the highest possible level (depending on how good you are at speaking Norwegian) because it will open more doors. For example: it is sufficient to take Norskprøve A2 if you need a residence permit, but you will also get a residence permit if you have passed the (way more difficult) Norskprøve B2 or Bergenstest. But with Norskprøve B2 or Bergenstest you can also study at a Norwegian university, which you cannot do if you have only passed Norskprøve A2.

When to take the Norskprøve

You might still hear “Norskprøve 2″ and “Norskprøve 3″ somewhere, but these exams do not exist any longer. They have been replaced by

  • Norskprøve A1/A2

  • Norskprøve A2/B1

  • Norskprøve B1/B2

Let me deal with the first two right away: you should only take them if

  • you have to because it is your obligation to attend official Norwegian courses or

  • you need a residence permit as soon as possible or

  • you would like to get some basic exam experience.

I hesitate recommending Norskprøve at an A1/A2 or A2/B1 level if you just want to improve your chances on the job market. Let’s face it: who is impressed by “some basic knowledge” of Norwegian? If you want to challenge yourself or if your potential employer demands it, then take the exam. But just taking it so that you can put it on your CV is probably a waste of time. If you want a good job where Norwegian language matters, you will need to prove B1 or B2 level.

The good thing about the Norskprøve exams is that there is no pass / fail any longer. The result of the exam will be the level of your Norwegian. For example, if you register for the A2/B1 exam and you score relatively low, you will get a certificate that your Norwegian is at level A2. If you score high, it will say level B1.

What does the Norskprøve look like?

The first part of the exam is digitalized. You will sit in front of a computer and solve tasks. If you are good, the computer will present more and more difficult tasks to measure your level more accurately. So this part of the exam is the same for all levels. In the second part you will have to write a text, and in the third part you will have to talk – alone and with another candidate – in front of a (human) examiner. For this part you will have to find out by yourself for which level you should register. If you have a teacher, ask her/him for advice.

The Norskprøve is held twice a year, usually in June and December.

We have published a free ebook with a lot of background information about Norskprøve and how you should get prepared for the exam. You can download it here:

If your Norwegian is good: take Norskprøve B1/B2 or Bergenstest?

I believe that everybody who has achieved B2 level in Norwegian should take the Bergenstest. Here is why:

  • It is the exam with the highest reputation on the job market (apart from Trinn 3 eksamen, which you can only take if you are a Norwegian university student). Maybe Norskprøve with a B2 result will once get the same reputation, but right now (November 2015) Bergenstest is still the „king of Norwegian language exams“.

  • If you have passed Bergenstest, you will also have sufficient documentation for studying at a Norwegian university. If you are applying for university studies with limited admission, Bergenstesten can give you more points and therefore increase your chances of getting in. Norskprøven will always give you two points, whereas Bergenstesten can give you up to six points if you score high. Moreover, in connection with university studies, the written Bergenstest will do, whereas you have to pass both the written and the oral Norskprøve (I dont understand the logic behind this, but thats the current situation).

So here we have one of the key differences between Norskprøve and Bergenstesten: while Norskprøve is an integrated exam, Bergenstesten is divided into a written and an oral exam which you can take independently of each other.

There are, however, a few disadvantages with Bergenstesten that you should take into account:

  • The written Bergenstest seems to be more academically challenging; you have the grammar part which does not exist in the same form in Norskprøven (however good knowledge of grammar is required there as well), and you have the referat (summary) which does not exist in Norskprøven either. The other parts (written production, reading comprehension, listening comprehension) are fairly comparable.

  • You can take Norskprøven almost everywhere in the country, and in a few municipalities it is cheaper than Bergenstesten.

My conclusion:

Your level is …

You want …


A2 – B1

B2 or higher

a job

keep on learning

Norskprøve A2/B1

Norskprøve B1/B2

a good job

keep on learning

Bergenstest (both parts)

study at a university

Bergenstest (written part)

a residence permit (and nothing else)

Norskprøve A2/B1

Norskprøve B1/B2

More information

We have published three free ebooks with background information about Bergenstesten and Norskprøven. You can download them here:

About the author

Werner Skalla is a co-founder of the online language school Skapago ( In 2014 he published the Norwegian textbooks The Mystery of Nils (for beginners) and Mysteriet om Nils for advanced students (including Bergenstest and Norskprøve B2 students), where you can learn Norwegian while reading a story. You can read more about the books here:


Please note that while I have carefully researched all the details, I cannot guarantee that the information given is 100% correct and up to date. Before making a decision on which exam to take, always check with the institutions that offer the exams and with the relevant Norwegian authorities whether the information is correct and up to date.

To learn Norwegian fast from a Norwegian teacher, check out Norwegian Class 101.

You can get a Norwegian Beginner's Course for free at Mystery of Nils.

5 thoughts on “Norskprøve And Bergenstest: Which Exam To Prepare For”

  1. Hi,

    This is a very useful information, thank you.

    I have passed Norskprøve 3, writing and speaking in 2013. What I know about Bergenstest is that it is required in order to study at an university and for some jobs (teachers, healthcare professionals).

    I am a marketing professional and I am looking for a job in Norway. In your opinion, should I take Bergenstest as well?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Hi,

      Yes, it would be very beneficial if you are in marketing and serious about a job in Norway. You will become more fluent in Norwegian in the process as well.

  2. Hi,
    I want study at a university so I need do the trinn 3 or bergenstest, but what is the difference between them ? And how many years would you think I have to study Norwegian to pass an exam ? I started to learn the language a short time ago.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Carolina,

      I am not too familiar with university level but I think you need to do the bergenstest if you want to study in Norwegian.

      If you opt for English education then you can also learn Norwegian at the university.

      How much time depends on how fast you learn Norwegian. I would say 1 to 2 years would be good to learn good Norwegian.


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