Language proficiency test at the start of your studies

Every first-year student at VU Amsterdam is required to take either a Dutch or an English language proficiency test at the start of their studies. The test you are required to take will depend on whether your Bachelor’s programme is taught in Dutch or in English.

When is the language test administered?

This academic year, the language tests will take place from 7 to 11 September 2020. Check your programme’s schedule to see when you have to take the test. Students enrolled in two programmes taught in the same language only need to take one test. Students enrolled in both a Dutch-taught programme and an English-taught programme need to take both tests.

Missed the test in september?

If you missed the language test in September, you can participate in the catch-up session on Thursday 29 October 2020 at 18:00. The catch-up session is your last opportunity to take the language proficiency test during the academic year. You can sign up using the Catch-up session Dutch and English language proficiency test form.

During the catch-up session, you can either take the Dutch or the English language proficiency test.

Please note: the catch-up session is NOT a resit. You may only participate if you have not taken the language proficiency test yet.

Online testing

This year, all students will take the language test online. In other words, you will take the test at home. At the scheduled time, log into Testvision using your VUnet-ID and password and you will see your test, ready for you to take.For online tests, VU Amsterdam makes use of online proctoring (remote invigilation) via Proctorio. You can read all about using Proctorio in the VU Amsterdam online proctoring guide.

Who is required to take the test?

The language proficiency test is mandatory for all first-year bachelor’s students. You can only apply for an exemption from the Dutch or English language proficiency test if you have taken and passed that same test in a previous year. You can apply for an exemption by filling in the Exemption VU language proficiency test form. (VUnet/login).

What if I have already taken an English language proficiency test, such as the TOEFL or the IELTS?

Even if you have already taken a language proficiency test to gain admission to VU Amsterdam, you are still required to take the university’s own test. The English language proficiency test at VU Amsterdam has a different purpose: it is a compulsory part of every Bachelor's degree programme, designed to determine whether you need extra support with your language skills.

What can I expect from the test?

The test is fully computerized and will take about two hours to complete. It contains 200 closed questions on the following topics: grammar, spelling and punctuation, structure, vocabulary/usage and formulation. The English language proficiency test also includes: reading comprehension, pronunciation and classroom English. You do not need to prepare for this test. The test gauges your language proficiency based on the level that a high school graduate should possess prior to embarking on an academic career.


The scores are divided into three categories. You receive a score of High, Medium or Low. If your score is Low, you will have to take the Dutch or English refresher course. You will only receive your credits for the first-year course that the test is a part of once you have completed the refresher course with a pass mark. Participation in the refresher course is by no means optional.

What should I bring?

It is very important to remember your VUnet ID and associated password. You need this information to log into the test. Tip: use this link to change your password and choose a password that is easy to remember.

Lastly, make sure you have your proof of identity to hand when you take the test. Before the test begins you will be asked to hold it up to the camera.

Do you have dyslexia, a disability or a chronic illness?

Students who have dyslexia, a disability, or a chronic illness may get extra time or a customized workspace.

  • If VU has granted you extra time on your tests, you will automatically get extra time on the language proficiency test as well (30 minutes).
  • If you need a customized workspace during the VU language proficiency test, please send an email to [email protected].

For more information about studying with a disability, please go to or send an email to the Studying with a Disability Team at [email protected].


For more information about the language proficiency test and the refresher course, please go to or send an email to [email protected].

Information in Dutch