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National certificates of language proficiency


A National certificate of language proficiency,or a YKI certificate, is a certificate of language proficiency for adults that allows you to prove your language skills in an officially recognised way. YKI examinations evaluate skills in common language in practical situations, meaning that they require no knowledge of specialty language or specific industry jargon.

National certificates of language proficiency and the coronavirus

Updated on 21 October 2020

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, no National Certificate of Language Proficiency (YKI) tests were organised in spring 2020. Tests have since been organised in late August and early October. It currently appears that, as a rule, YKI tests can go ahead in autumn 2020 depending on the regional situation (competence to make decisions on regional guidelines rests with the regional state administrative authorities).

Any tests will be organised following the general safety and hygiene instructions that help prevent the spread of infection issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. Arranging the tests safely in this exceptional situation may, for example, affect the number of candidates who can take a certain test at a time.

Since organising YKI tests was not possible in the spring, candidates’ registrations for tests in many languages had to be rescheduled. As tests were cancelled and registrations thus had to be rescheduled, there are more interested participants than available places in many locations, especially for intermediate level Finnish tests.

A decision has been made in the YKI system that from now on, test registrations can only be rescheduled once, or until the next test date for the same language and level. If a person cannot participate in the test on the date to which their registration has already been rescheduled, either by choice and/or a personal reason (such as illness), or because the test is cancelled due to the public health situation, the educational institution arranging the test will refund the participation fee. The candidate must then re-register for the YKI test.

The Finnish National Agency for Education continuously monitors the development of the coronavirus situation and safety instructions issued in response to it. The National Certificate of Language Proficiency system is doing its best to ensure that a maximum number of candidates in need of the YKI certificate can sit the test as soon as possible. For more information on sitting tests in the exceptional situation and tests that may be cancelled, see this website. If you have any questions, please contact the test centre with which you registered. Any questions addressed to the Finnish National Agency for Education can be e-mailed to yki (at) oph.fi.

The YKI system for National certificates of language proficiency is the Finnish government's official system for language proficiency testing. A YKI certificate can be used for many purposes, such as:

  • applying for a job or a university
  • applying for Finnish citizenship (certificates in Finnish and Swedish)
  • demonstrating your language skills for an employer

National certificates of language proficiency in general

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What is a National certificate of language proficiency?

On this page we have gathered frequently asked questions about the YKI examination system.

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Registration for YKI tests

You can register for a national language proficiency test by first searching a test centre. Read more here.

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Examination days and test centres

YKI national language proficiency tests are arranged in multiple locations around Finland. If you wish to take part in a test, you must register online during an appropriate registration period.

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Demonstrating your language proficiency when applying for Finnish citizenship

To acquire citizenship in Finland you need to prove that you have at least a satisfactory written and spoken proficiency in Finnish or Swedish. Read more about demonstrating your language proficiency here.

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Learning materials to practice and prepare

Before taking a YKI test, you may practise your skills online. Familiarise yourself with our learning materials here.

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Comparability between National language proficiency certificates and Civil serv…

See our tables on this page to learn how the proficiency levels of the National language proficiency certificates match with the skill levels of the Civil service language proficiency certificates.