All you need to know about AKV test part A: summary and presentation


As mentioned in our previous blog,  the following professions when coming from outside the EU,  need to register with BIG in order to practice in The Netherlands:
Mental health psychologist
Physician assistant
In order to get that registration you will have to pass the AKV test which is also broken down in more detail in the above mentioned blog

The AKV test is comprised of 5 separate examination components and in this blog we will look more closely at the first written exam, summary and presentation and give some hints and tips to smooth out the process somewhat. 

1. Written exam overview

The allowed time for the written exam is 45 minutes and has to be written by hand. You are allowed a dictionary and that's where it ends. 

You are expected to summarize of a given medical article  to a maximum of 80 words. Exceeding or falling short on the word count will incur penalties so try and get it as close as possible to the desired number of words.

Preparing for the written exam
The best way to prepare for this summary is to find articles about common conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, back pain, cancer, overweight and other common ailments. Usually the articles are fairly current and rather prevalent in the media at the time. Here are some magazines and articles which offer good preparation content.

Another good source is the articles and texts used in previous Dutch exams for pre- university education, some of which can be found here.

Next you practice at home with a word counter to get the formatting right, a desktop computer will make this step easier but only to get comfortable with the concept.
After getting the word count in check it's time to focus on completing the summary within the allowed 45 minutes. We strongly advise our students to do this by hand, as you would in the test, because it does take longer to write the words out when compared to typing them. Time yourself during practice and write the duration of the summary at the end of the page.

Although writing out 80 words by hand does not take as long, your progress can often be impeded as you are reading an unknown article in a language that is not your native tongue. It is also important to have enough time left to check your summary to correct any potential errors before submitting it.

Insufficient preparation is a common mistake that many entrants have made and ended up running out of time before the test was completed.
At Learn Dutch Online, we assist our students with this by screening their preparation summaries and helping them correct the grammatical and other language errors before moving onto the next one. With each one it goes a bit easier and quicker as the student becomes more confident in their abilities to understand and express themselves in Dutch. It becomes evident in the fewer mistakes made and the shorter time taken to complete each summary.

2. Presentation

Once your summary has been completed, you are then required to present it to an audience, consisting of Dutch language teachers. You are given 30 minutes to prepare for a 5 minute presentation. 

Fortunately the panel does not expect you to form long and complex sentences and they are satisfied with short and accurate sentences or descriptive words. Do not try to impress and exceed your abilities because running out of talent can do more harm than good.

Your digital aid for the presentation will more than likely be Apache Open office Impress and not the traditional Microsoft Powerpoint, so its best to ensure that you are familiar with it. The best rule of thumb is to make 5 slides with a 1 minute presentation of each. You can download Impress for free here as it is an opensource product. 

Tips to make your presentation a piece of cake
Remember to add a title to each slide. Do not write full sentences on the slides, rather use descriptive words. 

- 1st slide, include your references such as Article name, Article Author, Article date and where it appeared.
- 2nd slide, an introduction briefly describing what the article is about as well as what problem/ailment is being addressed.
- 3rd Slide, What is the core message of this article? Highlight it briefly but thoroughly.
- 4th slide is about the solution to the problem, keep it short but complete.
- 5th slide is the conclusion reached in the article.
As with the written part of the exam you are also allowed a dictionary to use during your preparation.

Once your summary has been completed, you are then required to present it to an audience, consisting of Dutch language teachers. You are given 30 minutes to prepare for a 5 minute presentation. 

Tips for presenting:
- You have 5 minutes to do so and its important to get as close to the mark as you can. Don't exceed the limit but rather finish up just before the time runs out. 
- An introduction is the best place to start. Tell them who you are and what you will be talking about (first slide). 

- Don't be tempted to use highly technical language or English, keep it simple and human. They are testing your ability to comprehend the content and being able to communicate it, rather than your technical knowledge on the subject. Treat it in a similar way as you would when discussing it with a patient.

- While presenting, don't rush it, rather pay attention to articulation and pronunciation rather than the amount of information that you are carrying over. - It's important to keep to your language proficiency at that time. Remain calm and confident, look at the audience while presenting and only refer to the screen when you need to point out anything. Don't read your text off the screen or avoid looking at your audience, that will only increase your stress levels. Nothing worse than someone staring at you while your'e trying to pretend that they're not there. Rather try to involve them more in your presentation.

- Use your slide changes as queues so that you include all the information that you have compiled.
- Conclude your presentation by thanking your audience and asking them if they have any questions.
- Remember to relax and be confident during the process, the audience members are only human and mostly want to see you succeed.
- After your presentation your audience will ask related questions for you to answer , for which another 5 minutes are allocated. The questions will be short and require short answers which will not be very challenging when properly prepared. Keep your answers on topic and short. Don't get carried away and elaborate too much, you risk exceeding your proficiency in Dutch which is whats being tested during this step. Short but linguistically correct answers are far better than longer responses with language errors.

Once again your trainer becomes invaluable to prepare for your 10 minutes of scrutiny. They guide you with your content, pronunciations and grammar, as well as improving your confidence when presenting your summary.  At Learn Dutch Online we love guiding you through this process and help you with the presentation and summary. Contact us here for more information.