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Finding the Right Romanian Language Proficiency Test for You

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Why take a Romanian language proficiency test? Well, let me paint you a picture:

From the moment you laid eyes on the mountains, villages, cities, and beaches of Romania, you knew it had to be yours.

The language took some time to learn, of course, and there were ups and downs along the way.

But now you speak Romanian quite well. You read the latest news in Romanian, you have a hilarious Romanian group chat going, and you know more Romanian bands than the locals do.

And as luck would have it, one day you hear about a job that you’d love to do—right in your favorite Romanian city.

The only catch? The hiring manager won’t even look at your application if you don’t have some kind of Romanian language certificate.

Now, this scenario is a little bit contrived. But getting a job or residency is one of the main reasons you might want to take a Romanian language exam—and this article is going to show you how to do it.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Study Strategies in Romanian Table of Contents
  1. Finding a Romanian Test in Romania
  2. At a Romanian University
  3. The Romanian OPI Test
  4. The FIDES Exam
  5. The ILR Exam
  6. Don’t Lose Time in Preparing for Your Exam
  7. Conclusion

1. Finding a Romanian Test in Romania

Triumph Arch in Bucharest, Romania

As it turns out, the Romanian language exam for residency permits is a quick test conducted at the immigration office, and some officers may not even administer it.

However, there’s a reasonable number of smaller Romanian proficiency tests that you can try your hand at, and since they come from reputable institutions, they’ll be recognized wherever you need them.

And besides, perhaps you don’t even want to use your Romanian skills in the country of Romania itself. Big cities in the United States sometimes have hundreds of thousands of Romanian-Americans, and since a change in the law in 2014, the number of Romanians in the United Kingdom has more than doubled.

Having a Romanian qualification on your resume can help significantly if you’d like a job at a Romanian-owned business abroad, or a job in the public sector working with Romanians (think court interpreter or social worker).

Let’s have a look at the different Romanian language exams available to you! 

2. At a Romanian University

A Lecture at a University

They’re not shy about multilingualism at Romanian universities, that’s for certain. You can study degree programs in English, French, German, Hungarian, and of course, Romanian.

If you want to get a degree in a subject only offered in Romanian—more than half of the degree programs offered at the Bachelor’s level at the biggest universities are in Romanian—you’d better prove your worth with a language exam.

Lucky for you, both the University of Bucharest and Babeș-Boylai University offer Romanian courses and certificates for you to use later on in your academic career.

If Cluj is your style, you can head there a year early and take what they call a “Romanian Preparatory Year,” where you take two semesters’ worth of courses to get to the B2 level. 

They’ve devised their own test, which is totally free to take. The test is split into two sections: a written part and an oral test. The written part is considered the most difficult one because it has four sub-sections: listening, reading, communication constructions, and, of course, writing. Since there isn’t a flood of people taking this exam, they can afford to interview you one-on-one for the oral section. The maximum number of points you can get for this exam is 100.

In addition to what you’d expect in terms of reading, writing, listening, and grammar, you’ll also be asked to describe pictures and summarize what you see. 

In less than a week, you can find your test results and celebrate your accomplishments with your Romanian friends.

The best way to practice for this is to try watching Romanian documentaries—or failing that, reading Romanian subtitles on English documentaries with the sound turned off! 

Of course, the University of Bucharest offers its own program along similar lines if you prefer capital-city life. Its program crams an intensive language course into the first semester, then focuses more on culture before making you sit an exam. 

That means if you have a language certificate from the University of Bucharest, you’ll definitely be prepared to discuss Romanian culture! 

3. The Romanian OPI Test

A Woman Talking on Blue Telephone

The ACTFL is an American organization of foreign language educators, and they’ve devised an exam designed entirely for measuring proficiency in Romanian speaking. It’s called the OPI, or Oral Proficiency Interview

Its approach is unique, as you simply sign up for a specific time and date, dial the number of the assigned examiner, and have a conversation lasting between 15 and 30 minutes.

The examiner is trained to ask you questions and introduce you to scenarios that slowly stretch your language ability, becoming more and more difficult as the test goes on and you continue to do well. 

You’re rated at the end based on the ACTFL scale, a ten-level scale from “Novice Low” to “Superior.” 

And don’t think that you’ll score at the top end of the scale just because you know how to order a couple of beers. This is the same exam used by the diplomatic branches of the United States when it sends ambassadors and interpreters abroad. 

One classic strategy for the OPI is to prepare a consistent list of hobbies, interests, and experiences that you can talk about when pressed. 

The examiner doesn’t know you, and they’re not working off of a curriculum of set questions every year. 

Instead, they’ll use what you give them to increase the difficulty of the questions. For example, they may ask you to give more detailed descriptions of your hobbies, and perhaps analyze them critically and make guesses about what other people tend to do compared to you.

4. The FIDES Exam

University Students Listening to a Lecture in Class

FIDES is one of the oldest private foreign language schools in Romania, offering language classes to foreigners and locals alike. Similar to the universities mentioned above, they first offer a language course to get you familiar with Romanian, and then a language exam at the end that you can use as a certificate. 

Since they’re a language school, their main product is the courses, which can be taught in English, French, German, or Romanian, and taken as a group or individually.

The maximum course level offered is a B2.2, or a very high intermediate level. However, if you happen to speak very good Romanian already, they’ll be willing to arrange language courses and an exam at the C1 or C2 levels. If you pass the B2.2 test, you’ll get the “FIDES Language Proficiency Certificate,” which can help you qualify for a scholarship at a Romanian university.

5. The ILR Exam

Language Skills

The ILR is the Institutul Limbii Române, an arm of the Romanian Ministry of Education in Bucharest. 

They conduct the only nationally standardized Romanian exam, though it’s only offered twice a year in Bucharest at the headquarters of the Ministry. 

They also have partnerships with the Universities of Alicante, Granada, and Seville in Spain, but the tests are only held if ten or more people register.

Out of all the tests mentioned so far in this article, only this one actually publishes sample materials for each of its levels! Even if you plan on taking an exam from a different place, it would do you good to look over the sample exams and get familiar with some typical question formats and topics on a formal Romanian exam.

The oral section here is of note: You will be required to listen to a lecture or text and then discuss the issues raised with your examiner. 

If you want to practice this, one of the best ways would be to find a tutor and grab a newspaper or magazine. Have them read a short article aloud, and then, without referring back to the article, have a brief conversation or debate about the topic.

6. Don’t Lose Time in Preparing for Your Exam

A Man Studying Books in a Library

Since these Romanian language proficiency exams are all oriented toward small populations, there are no published test prep books or mock exams that you can buy without taking one of the courses mentioned.

However, don’t be discouraged. If you’ve got a lot riding on your exam, put yourself in contact with the test center and ask if they can specifically recommend any materials or if they have advice for you.

And besides, there are skills you can practice that will help you with any kind of language exam.

First, you should have a wide vocabulary. Once you reach a certain level of understanding, it’s easy to let your vocabulary study slide in favor of just more reading or listening practice.

However, at the intermediate or advanced level, the most important words that you might miss on the exam  are the ones you might think you know, but actually don’t have a full grasp of. Do you know the difference between agoniseală (“personal income,” “fortune”) and câştig (“business income”)?

One of the most important exercises you can do for your Romanian speaking is summarization. Simply read an article in any language and then try to summarize it in Romanian—first in just one sentence, then in a few sentences, gradually adding more detail to increase the challenge.

There’s always a different way to present any piece of information, meaning that as you continue consuming Romanian content, you’ll naturally get practice describing and reformulating your ideas in tons of different ways. 

7. Conclusion

By now, you should feel much more confident in your ability to ace that exam! Did we answer your Romanian language proficiency test questions, or do you still need clarification on something? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments. 

Let’s take a moment to imagine how you might use RomanianPod101.com to prepare for that exam.

With a handful of clicks, you’ve got immediate access to tons of real-life native audio with transcriptions and vocab lists.

If your listening isn’t quite where you want it to be, then try making your own transcript of a short TV episode and then check what you wrote against what everybody was really saying.

And when you’re tired of actively studying, you can keep the hours and hours of podcasts playing in the background, meaning that whenever your mind wanders you get another good dose of Romanian listening to keep you on track.

With hundreds of lessons available right now and more on the way, you’ll be sure to be prepared for any topic on any exam paper that comes your way! Noroc!

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Life Event Messages: Happy Birthday in Romanian & Beyond

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There’s a lot to be said for being able to make good small talk in another language. Conversations can start up and keep going indefinitely with the right people.

But what can you talk about? Perhaps you’ve tried talking about something like the weather, or food, but didn’t get terribly far.

Or perhaps you’ve already met someone in Romania and gotten along with them, but you don’t know what to talk about whenever you hang out.

The truth is, all you really need is this list. For starters, anyway, as you begin learning how to wish someone a happy birthday in Romanian and similar best wishes in Romanian.

Take a look at these different situations. They all represent life events, big or small, that can be the topic of a great conversation. All you need to do is take the initiative and start chatting!

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Table of Contents

  1. Birthdays
  2. Holidays
  3. Weddings and Anniversaries
  4. Babies
  5. Graduation or Academic Success
  6. Workplace Success
  7. Bad News in General
  8. Good News in General
  9. Conclusion

1. Birthdays

Happy Birthday

We can’t pretend for a moment that Romanians don’t celebrate birthdays. They do, and in style. Families celebrate birthdays for their young children as soon as they’re able to, and even into adulthood most people stick with the tradition of getting together and spending time with good friends.

  • La mulţi ani!
    Happy Birthday! (Literally: To many years!)

You can also say happy birthday in Romanian this way (it’s something you’ll mostly see on cards):

  • Toate urările de bine!
    A Happy Birthday to you!

Or perhaps:

  • Zâmbeşte, iubeşte, trăieşte!
    Smile, love, live!

Another way to wish all the best in a very friendly way in Romanian is: să ai un an bun, which literally means “I hope you’ll have a good year.” It refers to all 365 days of the year until that person’s next birthday!

How about a birthday song? Well, to be honest, most young people see English as so trendy that they’d rather just sing Happy Birthday to You in English. And yet, as Romanians, there’s still something much more special about la mulţi ani, and that one’s not going away soon.

For a true Romanian birthday song, check out Cine să trăiască, which means “Who is to live?” Hint: It’s the one who’s having the birthday.

2. Holidays

In this section, you’ll learn holiday greetings in Romanian for the most popular Romanian holidays.

Romania is a relatively religious country, specifically when it comes to Christianity. Other religions don’t get nearly as much prominence in general Romanian culture. And so as part of the classical Western European cultural tradition, Christmas is perhaps the number-one Romanian holiday.

So, ready to learn how to say Merry Christmas in Romanian? Just like in English, there’s one very useful phrase that you can use to say Merry Christmas in Romanian. It might be a little hard to say, but everyone will appreciate your attempt!

  • Crăciun fericit!
    Merry Christmas!

And what comes after Christmas?

Why, it’s New Year’s Day, of course! In Romania, despite the cold, people gather together on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to sing and dance and make merry. You can wish your Romanian friends a happy new year in Romanian with this phrase:

  • Să ai un An Nou fericit!
    Happy New Year!

Next is Easter, another popular holiday in Romania that’s often celebrated in a festive way. The tradition of Easter egg hunting is alive and well in Romania, as well as Easter Mass in the churches. To wish someone a Happy Easter, simply say Paşte fericit!

Valentine’s Day is actually celebrated slightly differently in Romania compared to in other countries. It only really entered the cultural consciousness in the last few years as an “international” holiday. Before that, there was a much older cultural holiday known as Dragobete, celebrated on February 24 to mark a day of togetherness as spring arrives.

As for appropriate Valentine’s Day wishes, this is one place where you’d better personalize it! You’ll see the English phrase “Happy Valentine’s Day” out and about (particularly in advertisements), but if you’re dating a Romanian, try to put a little more effort into it than that. There are no set phrases here—just love from the heart.

3. Weddings and Anniversaries

Marriage Proposal

Before a wedding can happen, there’s obviously got to be a proposal and an engagement. Let’s say you’ve found out about the engagement of one of your friends from a post on social media. You can message them and say:

After that, it’s anyone’s guess as to when the actual wedding ceremony will occur. In Romania, many weddings typically occur in churches, as very formal events. Or at least, for part of it. The rest of the ceremony is almost certain to last well into the night, and you’d better have a good excuse if you want to get any sleep!

Accordingly, one of the “strongest” forms of congratulations in Romanian you can give is usually found at weddings, whether in speeches, in cards, or over a firm handshake.

    • Casă de piatră şi felicitări!
      Warm wishes and congratulations!
  • Felicitări mirelui şi miresei pentru fericitul eveniment!
    Congratulations to the bride and groom on their happy union!

If you’ve been invited to the wedding, that’s great. But if you can’t make it, and you’d still like to send the happy couple your greetings, you can use this Romanian wedding congratulations phrase.

  • Felicitări pentru unirea destinelor!
    Congratulations on tying the knot!

After a wedding, there’s just one more thing that people tend to celebrate—at least in this realm of life. That’s the anniversary, and the way people say “happy anniversary” in Romanian isn’t much different from how it’s done in English.

  • Aniversare frumoasă!
    Happy anniversary!

The concept of the “silver” (argint), or 25-year, and the “gold” (aur), or 50-year, anniversaries are recognized in Romania too.

  • Felicitări cu ocazia nunţii de aur!
    Congratulations on your golden anniversary!

4. Babies

Talking about Age

A new baby means a lot. It’s a new member of the family, a new mind exploring the world, and a whole new stage of life for the parents.

In contrast to some of the other well-wishes we’ve looked at before, Romanian congratulations for new parents is rather different from English. The typical message of congratulations is more like a little poem or wish.

  • Să vă trăiască și să fie sănătos!
    May they live for you, may they be healthy!

That covers it pretty well for talking to people in person. The following two phrases are a little bit less personal, and so they’d be good for cards or emails.

    • Felicitări pentru noul sosit!
      Congratulations on your new arrival!
  • Am fost încântaţi să aflăm despre naşterea bebelușului/ bebelușei vostru / voastre.
    We were so happy to hear of the birth of your new baby boy / girl.

5. Graduation or Academic Success

Romania might not have the international prestige of other countries when it comes to universities, but nevertheless, every year thousands of brilliant graduates throw their caps in the air and embark on the next stage of their development.

When it comes to graduates, the type of things you say and the way you say them are likely to be quite different, depending on whether you’re graduating in the same class or if you’re just talking to someone who’s finished their school.

For the first case, you can use this phrase for lightly teasing someone who did really well in their classes.

  • Cine este geniul nostru?
    Who’s this genius?

Now, here are some phrases you can include in more formal or less personal messages.

    • Felicitări cu ocazia absolvirii!
      Congratulations on your graduation!
  • Felicitări pentru master şi mult noroc în viitor!
    Congratulations on the Master’s degree, and lots of luck in the future!

6. Workplace Success

Coworkers in Office Together

Do you know anyone who’s up for a promotion? Or maybe looking to switch careers? Generally, in Romania most companies try to maintain a culture of friendship, especially if you’ve been working with the same people for a long time.

If someone you know is going to take a big leap in their professional life, encourage them with these phrases.

    • Îţi urăm noroc şi succes.
      We wish you luck and success.
  • O poți face!
    You can do it!

And then, assuming everything all worked out for them, congratulations are in order!

    • Felicitări pentru obţinerea postului!
      Congratulations on your new job!
  • Mult noroc pe viitor!
    Best of luck for the future!

7. Bad News in General

We’ll take a brief detour here into something a little less upbeat.

It’s important to know how to appropriately offer condolences in Romanian to others when they’ve met with misfortune in their lives. If you know someone who’s going through a rough patch, you should definitely reach out to them.

However, be careful here. Make sure you mean what you say. Romanians take friendships seriously, and that means you can’t just shoot off a quick text and expect it to be received the same as if you had visited in person with flowers.

In short, be genuine, and if your Romanian isn’t very strong, perhaps stick to English or another shared language if you don’t feel very confident with these phrases yet.

Below are some best wishes in Romanian for when a friend is going through a rough time, to get you started.

1- Funerals

You might think that a Romanian funeral would be an extremely somber occasion. And it’s true; there’s certainly a place for serious formality. However, Romanian funeral traditions can be quite diverse.

At such an occasion, you’ll certainly hear this phrase:

  • Dumnezeu să-l odihnească în pace!
    May God rest him in peace!

Although there may be celebrations of life, it’s far, far better to err on the side of being too formal when you give your condoleanţe or “condolences.” Here are some elegant Romanian condolences you can use to comfort others in their time of loss.

    • Gândurile noastre sunt alături de tine în aceste momente dificile.
      Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
    • Ne pare foarte rău pentru pierderea suferită.
      We are very sorry to hear of your loss.
  • În aceste clipe grele prin care treci să nu uiţi că suntem alături de tine.
    Do not forget that we are with you in this difficult time.

2- Poor Health

Nowadays, it seems like people rarely send get-well cards. But that doesn’t mean they go unappreciated. Whether you’re suffering from a really bad cold or spending a couple of days in the hospital, it always feels great to know if you’re on somebody’s mind.

    • Însănătoşire grabnică!
      Get well soon!
    • Însănătoşirea are nevoie de timp. Îţi doresc tot binele din lume.
      Healing takes time. I wish you all the best.
    • Mă gândesc la tine tot timpul!
      Thinking of you!
  • Nu pot să-ți iau suferința, dar sufăr alături de tine.
    I can’t take your pain, but I suffer with you.

Any of these might sound a little cheesy, especially if you show up with a card and a huge bouquet when somebody’s just down with the sniffles. Again, though, it’s better to be thought of as somebody who cares too much than somebody who cares too little.

8. Good News in General

Over-Excited Little Kid

And in order to end on a happy note, let’s look at just a few more phrases you can use for any kind of catch-all good stuff. Becoming familiar with these congratulations in Romanian means that you’ll be able to quickly and fluently praise or encourage people, no matter what they’re facing in life.

    • Minunat!
      Awesome!
  • Să fie într-un ceas bun!
    Have a great time!

And finally, here are two more general phrases that are more fitting for a congratulatory email or social media post—they just sound a little stiff when spoken aloud to a close friend.

    • Bine lucrat cu …
      Well done on…
  • Îţi urez succes în…
    I wish you success in…

9. Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning about Romanian life event messages, and other best wishes in Romanian, with RomanianPod101. Did you learn anything new today? Are there still some life events you want messages for? Let us know in the comments!

It may seem that we’ve covered just about all there is in a person’s life, but as it turns out, the human experience is so much more than just a series of important events.

These represent points where you can hopefully spark a conversation or make some contact with somebody else. What ends up happening a lot of the time is that you’re aware a friend or colleague of yours has something important coming up, and then you try out one of these phrases.

Pleasantly surprised, they start asking you (in Romanian) how you know that saying, and the ball keeps rolling from there. Maybe after that, you’re invited to a wedding or a graduation party. You never know!

After that, will your Romanian be up to the task? Better take a look at the rest of our materials here on RomanianPod101.

Happy studying!

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