Sacrificing learning for economic reasons is really never a good idea – not on the part of individual students nor on the part of the entities whose mission is to provide access to study materials and teachers to guide the learning.
There are a few problems with that philosophy, the main one being that, if there is little to no demonstrated interest in learning a given subject, nor is the pool of qualified teachers sufficiently large to deliver diversity in instruction, why continue to expend resources when they could be better applied elsewhere?
That is exactly what happened to Dutch language instruction in our schools.
Still, there are language learners who are actively looking for outlets to certify their language skills, which obviously means that there are students who wish to learn Dutch and make the language of Amsterdam a central part of their lives.
Fortunately, we live in the information age: anything we could ever want to know is virtually at our fingertips!
In consideration of those who have a passion for the Dutch language; for those who have applied themselves throughout their secondary school years only to discover that sitting Dutch GCSEs will be a much more convoluted process...
For those frustrated at the fact that Dutch A-Levels have been consigned to history, your Superprof now presents the best Dutch learning and review resources so that, when you are ready, you will be able to face your certification exam with the greatest of confidence.
Yes, there are certification exams; they’re just not the ones you expected!
The Best Books for Revising Dutch
Terry Pratchett’s young witch, Tiffany Aching, read the dictionary cover to cover – no mean feat on the Discworld, where samples of the printed word are few and far between, especially in remote regions.
Fortunately, our world is laden with books, including dictionaries of all types, for all languages!
While reading the dictionary cover to cover seems a bit extreme, having a Dutch dictionary on-hand is an excellent idea and you could hardly do better than the Van Dale series of lexica.
The greatest feature of these reference books is their levels, from elementary tomes for small children all the way up to academic grade volumes. The downside to this series is that they are targeted to native Dutch speakers.
However, there is one volume in the series specifically directed at those who are learning Dutch as a second language; those who are, in fact, preparing to sit language certification exams. It is titled Pocketwoordenboek Nederlands als Tweede Taal (NT2).
Unlike the publications meant for native speakers, this dictionary indicates the usage of de or het for every word and gives sample sentences. It also gives the plural of nouns and details a bit of verb conjugation.
The word definitions are given only in Dutch which, if you are at least at GCSE level, should be a boon because it provides an extra opportunity to read and understand your second language.
If you are not yet that advanced, you may need a bit of grammar study.
Should you have a good grasp of Dutch vocabulary but you lack a thorough grounding in language mechanics, Concise Dutch Grammar would be more your cup of tea.
Perhaps you may actually prefer the edition that includes poetry and essays so you can get your reading practice in: what a great way to gain exposure to both the language and culture of the Netherlands!
Another great way would be to talk with a Dutch native speaker or two...
The Best Websites for Reviewing Dutch
The aforementioned Van Dale dictionaries are just a small part of that group’s resources for learning Dutch.
Indeed, you will find so much more on their webpage, which includes a free dictionary (nowhere near as good for your purposes as the NT2 we mentioned above!), select articles covering current events and a full page dedicated to language training.
Naturally, the page is in Dutch – what a great way to hone your reading skills! If in doubt over any word or topic discussed, you may, of course, run it through their built-in translator.
Of everything they have to offer, their Online at School utility is the crown jewel of their site!
For only €1.50 per student per year, they grant access to the spelling, meaning and pronunciation of thousands of words and, if you feel you need it, you may also engage their translation function.
Unfortunately, there is no chat function on their site...
However, there is italki!
This platform allows you to connect directly with a Dutch native, schedule language sessions in accord with your calendar and timetable and get all of the chat time you need with a native speaker of Dutch.
You do not pay a fee to join; however, each tutor sets their own rates per lesson, generally charging a reduced rate for their first lesson.
What if there were a better deal to be had?
Superprof has more than 100 Dutch tutors, a substantial number of whom have relocated to our country and most of whom give their first hour of lessons at no charge!
You might choose to learn with:
- Lars, who specialises in conversation at the native level, has earned glowing testimonials from his students!
- Amrita, another stellar Dutch teacher, offers lessons by webcam or in person if you live in the Birmingham area
- Elisa, who lives in Salford, has taught all levels of Dutch language learners. You should check out her unusual methodology...
Superprof verifies all teachers’ credentials to ensure you the best learning experience possible and permits you to give feedback on your Dutch teacher so that future students will know how much you enjoyed learning with your Superprof.
Why calculate time zone differences when you can review exam particulars with a Dutch Superprof in Great Britain?
Before we move on to discover the best apps for Dutch study, let us present one more site which has earned honourable mention:
The Best Apps for Dutch Revision
Hands down, DutchPod 101 gets top billing from anyone learning Dutch.
Of course, you, being more advanced in you speaking, may well have to skip ahead to find lessons that will challenge you!
Nevertheless, there is value to be had here, the best possibly being the community chat function where you would meet with other language learners to discuss lessons and practice speaking Dutch.
Other features include both audio and video lessons, flashcards and downloadable lesson notes.
While there is no fee to partake of this learning programme, Glossika charges a monthly rate of $25 to learn and review Dutch after a free trial.
This language programme makes use of all of the modern teaching philosophies such as spaced repetition and their mass sentence method, as they call it.
Otherwise known as the 10,000 sentence method, this learning method postulates that, if confronted with enough sample sentences in the same language, the learner will assimilate word patterns and grammatical structure, and will soon start building new sentences without further instruction.
You may be interested in knowing that this is the same theorem that drives machine learning!
While there is arguably some merit to the method, it may prove a bit too cumbersome for a learner at your level who, after all, is looking for review materials.
In that light, you may find it strange that we would recommend Duolingo...
That language learning app’s selling point is its level testing: before you engage in learning anything, you should submit to a simple test to determine your understanding of Dutch, after which you will be presented with sentences and activities suited to your level of learning.
What we really like about this app is its ways of engaging learners in all areas of language study.
You would be called on to read, write, speak and listen to Dutch phrases and be challenged to demonstrate your understanding of such through periodic quizzes.
Further incentives – as though fluency in your second language weren’t enough, include virtual badges and medals, pinned to your profile page.
It is quite unfortunate that the language you so love, that boasts so many reasons to learn it, is not more popular. That means there are not as many resources to learn it or avenues to certify your skills and abilities... and that is such a shame!
Nevertheless, we hope that this list of review resources will help you prepare well for when you sit your Dutch language certification exam.