Swedish requirements for higher Education

Entering any institution of higher education in Sweden, requires in many cases, that you can show documented Swedish skills. Most programmes and courses at Swedish universities and University colleges are held in Swedish and require documented proof of Swedish proficiency. And if you wish to enter any of these, you have two options to obtain the required skills and documentation. The TISUS exam – a Swedish proficiency test, held twice a year or the SAS 1-3 course at your local Komvux.

However, it may be good to know that most universities and University colleges offer a great variety of international courses and programmes that are held in English. These don’t require Swedish proficiency. Studies on a Phd level may require  documented Swedish skills, so make sure to check with the relevant Phd program.

Check with the University of your choice for information on their International curriculum.

The TISUS (Test in Swedish for University Studies)

TISUS is a Swedish language test recognised by all universities in Sweden as a statement of eligibility regarding Swedish language proficiency. The test consists of three equally weighted components: reading, writing and speaking. It is held twice a year at a number of Swedish embassies and teaching institutions in and out of Sweden. The exam takes about 4,5 h.

You get the test result within three weeks and there are only two grades: godkänd (passed) & underkänd (failed). You need to pass all three parts in order to pass the exam. You can retest if you fail one part, but you will have to take the whole test again if you fail two parts.

The test in its entirety costs 1 800 SEK, and repeating a section of the test costs 700 SEK.

Tips for the exam day

The TISUS is challenging. Your biggest issue for the first two parts (reading and writing) will probably be time management. Make sure to plan your time carefully and avoid getting stuck with one question. It is also highly recommended to take the sample tests in order to get familiar with the exam structure.

Pros and Cons of TISUS:

  • TISUS is not an easy exam
  • it makes you independent, as it doesn’t bind you in time and space
  • you can prepare for the exam anywhere in the world
  • you are free to use any type of learning method you want.

Preparation courses for higher education

University of Stockholm (SU) offer two preparation courses – basic and  advanced. The courses are held on campus, for a whole semester and you can choose between full-time or pastime studies.

A passing grade in the preparatory course “Svenska som främmande språk” makes you eligible for the advanced course “Behörighetsgivande kurs i Svenska” which will automatically make you applicable for higher studies in Sweden if you pass it.


Swedish as a second language, SAS

Another option is to take the SAS 1- 3. The SAS means Swedish as a second language and is a Swedish language course held at Komvux institutions all around the country. The SAS is equivalent to high school Swedish. The main purpose of the SAS is to make you eligible for higher studies in Sweden, which you will be if you pass all the courses.

The SAS includes three courses, called SAS 1, SAS 2 and SAS 3. There is also a basic course called SAS grundläggande, which is a preparation course for the SAS 1-3. The duration of the courses vary depending of the pace you choose. You can study fulltime, part time or going for the fast track by choosing SAS intensive.

The SAS is also offered as a distance course, making it possible to study from another location. However, being in Sweden is necessary as you will be required to come the school to write the tests. The SAS is free of charge.

Student aid for taking the SAS

An important thing about the SAS is that you can get CSN (student aid) which is very positive as the SAS takes about a year of full time studies and is known to be challenging, especially the SAS 2 and 3. Your Komvux can help you with the application for CSN.

 (in Swedish)

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